Latest update: April 26th, 2013
However, we must now understand how we, who do not receive our livelihood from Heaven in such an overt manner, can expect to receive the Torah again? Don’t our different means of income put us in danger of patting ourselves on the back, thinking that at the end of the day we worked hard and are now reaping the fruits of our labors?
In truth, the lesson of the mon continues, even after it stopped descending from heaven. When Yirmiyahu HaNavi chastised his generation for not learning Torah, they answered: “How will we have income if we sit and learn all day?” Yirmiyahu took out the jar of mon that was preserved in the Bais Hamikdash and said: “Look at this mon! This is what your forefathers lived on. Hashem has many ways to feed those who fear Him!” We don’t have that jar of mon any more, but we have a different way of remembering it. At each meal on Shabbos we say hamotzi on lechem mishneh, two challos, as a remembrance of the mon, which fell as a double portion on Friday for Shabbos. And just as the mon came neatly packaged, with a layer of dew underneath it and over it, we also must place something underneath and over the challos until after hamotzi.
Lessons from the Omer of Barley
But this is not sufficient to save us from the mortal error of self-trust. That is where the other omer steps in. Let us picture all the hard work the farmer has invested in his field throughout the winter — plowing, planting, watering, weeding — and now it is finally time to harvest his crop. At that perilous moment, lest he forget the true provider of his livelihood, the Torah forbids him to harvest or consume his crops until after the Korban Omer is brought. (Nowadays, when we unfortunately do not sacrifice the Omer, the new crops become permitted once the day when it used to be offered has passed.) This instills in us the reality that it is Hashem Who is really taking care of us. And by counting each day specifically from the Omer, we continue to strengthen this realization until we are able to accept the Torah once again on Shavuos.
These holy days of sefira have in them unbelievable power to help us build our faith in Hashem. As we mention the Korban Omer when counting Sefiras Ha’Omer, let us think about its lesson. And when we celebrate on Lag Ba’omer, let us also rejoice over the great gift of the mon, the gift of knowing that Hashem is taking care of us. And each Shabbos, when we look at the lechem mishneh, let us try imagining that they have fallen from Heaven like the mon. This will help us remember that even what we have toiled to earn is only from Hashem, and we are only doing our hishtadlus.
If we hear this “tale of two omers” we will have made an excellent preparation for accepting the Torah on Shavuos and becoming even closer to our great benefactor – Hashem.
About the Author: Rabbi Eliezer M. Niehaus, raised and educated in Los Angeles and subsequently Yeshivas Toras Moshe in Yerushalayim, is the Rosh Kollel of the Zichron Aron Yaakov Kollel in Kiryat Sefer , Israel. He lectures for the public and is the director of the Chasdei Rivka Free Loan Gemach. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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