Thursday, March 22, 2018

When does the Counting of Omer start?

Here is the interesting question... When does the Counting of Omer start?

Let's take a look:
CLV Dt 16:9 You shall count off seven weeks for yourself. From the start of the scythe in the raised grain shall you start to count off seven weeks.
This is the most important verse that tells us when to start counting the Omer.

First of all, notice that it talks only about counting 7 weeks. It does not say to count 50 days. I will explain why further in the post.

Secondly, we see the explicit command to start counting weeks of Omer from the start of the harvest. This means that the date when we start counting can change based on the harvest.

As I have explained on this blog, the High Priest would determine when we start the count.

And here is the  additional information that is also important: 
YLT Lv 23:9 And Jehovah speaketh unto Moses, saying,
YLT Lv 23:10 'Speak unto the sons of Israel, and thou hast said unto them, When ye come in unto the land which I am giving to you, and have reaped its harvest, and have brought in the sheaf, the beginning of your harvest unto the priest, 
YLT Lv 23:11 then he hath waved the sheaf before Jehovah for your acceptance; on the morrow of the sabbath doth the priest wave it. 
YLT Lv 23:15 'And ye have numbered to you from the morrow of the sabbath, from the day of your bringing in the sheaf of the wave-offering: they are seven perfect sabbaths;
As you can see, Torah clearly says when Counting of Omer is to start. We start counting 7 weeks from the morrow of the Shabbat but we count 50 days from the actual Shabbat.

As I have said before, the Shabbat of the 1st of Omer would be determined by the High Priest based on the readiness of the harvest in the entire Land of Canaan. This is because 50th of Omer is a Holy Meeting, which means that all had to harvest and count at the same time.

The last question that remains is what is the earliest Shabbat at which the Counting of Omer can start?!? I finally managed to find the answer to this question!

The EARLIEST Shabbat that the Counting of Omer can start is the Passover/1st of Unleavened Shabbat or Full-Moon Shabbat of the 1st Hebrew Month.

This is because in some years (like 2018) we can have harvest falling on Passover/1st of Unleavened Shabbat due to the late Spring and intercalation (13th month).

At first, I did not think it was possible because I thought that 1st of Omer is a Holy Meeting. I thought that 1st of Omer Holy Meeting was edited out of the Torah by the rabbis to fit their calendar, just like they did with the New Moon.

If you will look at Leviticus 23 and Numbers 28-29, you will see that 1st of Omer IS NOT a Holy Meeting. But the reason for this is not the editing. The reason for this is that 1st of Omer can fall on Passover/1st of Unleavened Shabbat, which is why 1st of Omer is NOT a Holy Meeting to prevent us from having 2 Holy Meetings at once (1st of Unleavened and 1st of Omer).

This is why 1st of Omer is NOT a Holy Meeting so that we can start counting as early as the 1st of Unleavened Shabbat.

Please note that we start counting 50 days from the 1st of Unleavened Shabbat but we start counting 7 weeks from the MORROW of the 1st of Unleavened Shabbat as Leviticus 23:15 states. This is because we can't harvest on Shabbat, so the count of harvest weeks starts the day after when there are no work prohibitions.

And we have an actual example of starting the count this early.

While it is not the Torah,  Joshua 5:10-12 states, that they ate the "old corn" of the land ON THE MORROW AFTER PASSOVER, which makes it the 16th.

So this passage in Joshua completely fits my explanation and it makes perfect sense.

They slaughtered Passover between the evenings on the 14th. They have observed actual Passover and ate their own Unleavened bread on the 15th, which was definitely the Shabbat. And they have started eating the old harvest of the land on the 16th (from the morrow of the Passover or from the morrow of the 15th) which also proves that 15th was the Shabbat as we are explicitly commanded to start counting FROM THE MORROW of the Shabbat.

So as you can see, now everything makes perfect sense.

So the earliest time the Counting of Omer can start is the Passover/1st of Unleavened Shabbat.

Once again, please note that we start counting 50 days from the Shabbat but we start counting 7 weeks from the morrow of the Shabbat.

Hope this information helps.

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