Torah Portion: Emor(Speak) (Leviticus) Vayikra 21-24
Haftorah Reading: Ezekiel 44:15-31
Tonight we cover the Torah Portion Emor or Speak. This Torah portion is mainly about the yearly schedule of Mo’adim or festivals. I would like to begin with a discussion of the word Emor. Usually we are cautioned about speaking too much and in general that is a good rule for us to follow. However, sometimes words are called for. A wise person knows the power of speech, how words have the power to hurt and damage people. But speech also can be used to build up. Positive words can encourage and build up a person. This kind of speech is important and when used properly can bring healing and encouragement. In this Torah portion, the word Emor is a command for Moshe to encourage his people. May we all do the same.
Now I want us to look at the counting of the Omer. This counting occurs between the holiday of Pesach and Shavuot. It is a 49 day count with the 50th day being Shavuot. It is considered a minor appointed time in the Jewish calendar. However, it is packed with meaning for us.
My question this week had to do with the offering of unleavened barley brought each day of the counting of the Omer and the leavened wheat bread brought on Shavuot. In fact this was the only time when leaven was allowed in any of the offerings brought into the Mishkan or Tabernacle. I asked you what was the spiritual lesson we could learn from these offerings of barley and wheat.
If you remember barley was basically considered as animal food while wheat was a food for people. Also, in the Messianic Writings, I Cor. 3:21 and Hebrew 5:12 we read where the writers tell the people they are not ready for meat. They need to learn the basic truths about the Father first. When I read about the Omer this is what it reminds me of in my life. Pesach is the holiday of redemption when the people were brought out of Egypt and symbolizes when we were freed from the rule of Satan in our own personal lives. Between that redemption and the falling of the Spirit on Shavuot in Acts there was a time of preparation when each person was expected to prepare. We too are expected to prepare, to study, to be taught, to spend time with G-d, become familiar with Him then the Spirit can direct and lead us in our lives. Then we will be ready for the meat of truth and not continue as babes existing only on milk, expecting others to spoon feed us. So one point of the Omer is to remind us that our spiritual maturity is a responsibility that is in our hands. The barley could represent natural man before he grows in his faith. The wheat would be a picture of us when we have risen in our faith and able to eat something besides animal food or barley.
Another spiritual lesson of the Omer is the importance of time. Remember, time was created during the first week of creation. Before that there was no time. The first thing G-d blessed and sanctified was time when He set aside the Sabbath. In our lives what can we learn from this? The counting of the Omer is a good teacher for us as we count the days off one by one. Even the yearly cycle speaks to us about time. Redemption (Pesach), Shavuot (Study and learning) Rosh Hashanah (Beginning of Introspection) Yom Kippur (Reflection and repentance) Sukkot (The final shofar sounds before the return of the Messiah to judge the world and bring peace to all His people)
My point in all this is to impress upon each of us the value of time. Each of us has an allotted time on this earth. The Omer should remind us of those fleeting days and our responsibility to not waste a moment, to each day draw closer to the Father. I Cor. 15:52
Tonight is the 33rd day of the Omer. There are still sixteen days left. Time has not run out. I pray our days are spent going forward, not backward or even standing still.
Lastly, there is a word used here in our Torah portion that is useful in spiritually understanding the counting of the Omer. In Leviticus/Vayikra 23:15 we read, “And you shall count.” Count in Hebrew has the root letters S PR. Here we see this count began the day after Pesach for the next 49 days. There is another possible meaning for those two Hebrew letters. It is the same root but it means to tell a story, a recounting. So here we can learn from our reading that each of us has a story and it is made up of the days of our lives. G-d’s will is that our story corresponds to His story He has for us. We follow His direction. Then, when our children or friends sit around and recount our story it will be one that brings honor and glory to G-d, a life well lived.