Wave offering

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Harvest before the counting of the omer PikiWiki Israel 6074 At grain harvest of the Omer.JPG
Harvest before the counting of the omer

The wave offering (Hebrew: tenufah תנופה) or sheaf offering or omer offering (korban omer) was an offering made by the Jewish priests to God (Exodus 29:24, 26, 27; Leviticus 7:20-34; 8:27; 9:21; 10:14, 15, etc.). The sheaf or omer or wave-offering then became the property of the priests.

Hebrew language Semitic language native to Israel

Hebrew is a Northwest Semitic language native to Israel; the modern version of which is spoken by over 9 million people worldwide. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites and their ancestors, although the language was not referred to by the name Hebrew in the Tanakh. The earliest examples of written Paleo-Hebrew date from the 10th century BCE. Hebrew belongs to the West Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Hebrew is the only living Canaanite language left, and the only truly successful example of a revived dead language.

Sacrifice offering to gods

Sacrifice is the offering of food, objects or the lives of animals or humans to a higher purpose, in particular divine beings, as an act of propitiation or worship. While sacrifice often implies the ritual killing of an animal, the term offering can be used for bloodless sacrifices of food or artifacts. For offerings of liquids (beverages) by pouring, the term libation is used.

Sheaf (agriculture) bundle of grain

A sheaf is a bunch of cereal-crop stems bound together after reaping, traditionally by sickle, later by scythe or, after its introduction in 1872, by mechanical reaper-binder

Hebrew Bible

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 10 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. 11 He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.
Leviticus 23:9 NASB

The omer offering (Hebrew korban omer, minchat omer) was a grain sacrifice wave offering, brought to the temple in Jerusalem. The first-fruits was a sheaf of barley which was offered in connection with the Feast of Unleavened Bread, directly following the Passover. The first-fruits of the second harvest, the loaves of bread, are offered at Shavuot, and both were wave offerings. The leftover of the korban are kept by the kohen and was listed as one of the twenty-four priestly gifts. [1]

Temple in Jerusalem one of a series of structures which were located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem

The Temple in Jerusalem was any of a series of structures which were located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque. These successive temples stood at this location and functioned as a site of ancient Israelite and later Jewish worship. It is also called the Holy Temple.

Passover Jewish holiday celebrating the Israelites liberation from slavery in Egypt

Passover, also called Pesach, is a major, biblically derived Jewish holiday. Jews celebrate Passover as a commemoration of their liberation by God from slavery in ancient Egypt and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses. It commemorates the story of the Exodus as described in the Hebrew Bible, especially in the Book of Exodus, in which the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. According to standard biblical chronology, this event would have taken place at about 1300 BCE.

Shavuot Jewish holiday

Shavuot or Shovuos, in Ashkenazi usage; Shavuʿoth in Sephardi and Mizrahi Hebrew, is known as the Feast of Weeks in English and as Pentecost (Πεντηκοστή) in Ancient Greek. It is a Jewish holiday that occurs on the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Sivan.

The Levitical priests themselves were also offered to God by Aaron as a wave offering. [2]

A Levite is an Israelite male descended patrilineally from the Tribe of Levi. The Tribe of Levi descended from Levi, the third son of Jacob and Leah. The surname HaLevi, which consists of the Hebrew definite article "ה" Ha- ("the") plus Levi (Levite) is not conclusive regarding being a Levite; a titular use of HaLevi indicates being a Levite. The daughter of a Levite is a "Bat Levi".

Aaron Biblical and Quranic character

Aaron is a prophet, high priest, and the brother of Moses in the Abrahamic religions.

The omer offering was discontinued following the destruction of the Second Temple. [3]

Second Temple Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem between 516 BC and 70 AD

The Second Temple was the Jewish holy temple which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem during the Second Temple period, between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It replaced Solomon's Temple, which was destroyed by the Neo-Babylonian Empire in 586 BCE, when Jerusalem was conquered and part of the population of the Kingdom of Judah was taken into exile to Babylon.

Etymology

Omer is often rendered "sheaf" in English translations. The noun tenufah is formed from the verb nuf in the same way as terumah, the heave offering, is formed from rum "heave." Both types of offering occur together in Exodus 29:27 [4] and in Leviticus 7:30-34: from the sacrificed ram, the breast with its fat constituted a wave offering and the right thigh constituted a heave offering, both being given to the priests as kohanic gifts.

The omer is an ancient Israelite unit of dry measure used in the era of the Temple in Jerusalem. It is used in the Bible as an ancient unit of volume for grains and dry commodities, and the Torah mentions as being equal to one tenth of an ephah. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia (1906), an ephah was defined as being 72 logs, and the Log was equal to the Sumerian mina, which was itself defined as one sixtieth of a maris; the omer was thus equal to about ​12100 of a maris. The maris was defined as being the quantity of water equal in weight to a light royal talent, and was thus equal to about 30.3 litres, making the omer equal to about 3.64 litres. The Jewish Study Bible (2014), however, places the omer at about 2.3 liters.

A heave offering, or terumah, plural terumot, is a kind of offering. The word is generally used in the positive sense of an offering to God, although sometimes it is also used in a negative sense, such as the ish teramot, a "[dishonest] judge who loves gifts".

Book of Exodus second book of the Bible

The Book of Exodus or Exodus is the second book of the Torah, the Hebrew Bible, and the Old Testament immediately following Genesis.

In the Septuagint it was translated aphorisma (ἀφόρισμα).

Septuagint Greek translation of Hebrew scriptures

The Septuagint is the earliest extant Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures from the original Hebrew. It is estimated that the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, known as the Torah or Pentateuch, were translated in the mid-3rd century BCE and the remaining texts were translated in the 2nd century BCE. Considered the primary Greek translation of the Old Testament, it is quoted a number of times in the New Testament,particularly in the Pauline epistles,by the Apostolic Fathers, and later by the Greek Church Fathers.

Counting of the Omer

Beginning on the second night of Passover, the 16th day of Nisan, [5] Jews begin the practice of the Counting of the Omer, a nightly reminder of the approach of the holiday of Shavuot 50 days hence. Each night after the evening prayer service, men and women recite a special blessing and then enumerate the day of the Omer. On the first night, for example, they say, "Today is the first day in (or, to) the Omer"; on the second night, "Today is the second day in the Omer." The counting also involves weeks; thus, the seventh day is commemorated, "Today is the seventh day, which is one week in the Omer." The eighth day is marked, "Today is the eighth day, which is one week and one day in the Omer," etc.

When the Temple stood in Jerusalem, a sheaf of new-cut barley was presented before the altar on the second day of Unleavened Bread. Josephus writes

On the second day of unleavened bread, that is to say the sixteenth, our people partake of the crops which they have reaped and which have not been touched till then, and esteeming it right first to do homage to God, to whom they owe the abundance of these gifts, they offer to him the first-fruits of the barley in the following way. After parching and crushing the little sheaf of ears and purifying the barley for grinding, they bring to the altar an assaron for God, and, having flung a handful thereof on the altar, they leave the rest for the use of the priests. Thereafter all are permitted, publicly or individually, to begin harvest. [6]

Since the destruction of the Temple, this offering is brought in word rather than deed.

One explanation for the Counting of the Omer is that it shows the connection between Passover and Shavuot. The physical freedom that the Hebrews achieved at the Exodus from Egypt was only the beginning of a process that climaxed with the spiritual freedom they gained at the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Another explanation is that the newborn nation which emerged after the Exodus needed time to learn their new responsibilities vis-a-vis Torah and mitzvot before accepting God's law. The distinction between the Omer offeringa measure of barley, typically animal fodderand the Shavuot offeringtwo loaves of wheat bread, human foodsymbolizes the transition process.[ citation needed ]

See also

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References

  1. Michael Katz (Rabbi), Gershon Schwartz Searching for Meaning in Midrash: Lessons for Everyday Living - Page 162 - 2002 "Twenty-four priestly gifts were presented to the Kohanim — twelve in the Temple and twelve throughout the borders. ... the remnants of the log of oil of the leper, and the remnants of the omer, the two loaves of bread,"
  2. Numbers 8:11 and 13
  3. Kerry M. Olitzky, Marc Lee Raphael An Encyclopedia of American Synagogue Ritual - Page 112 2000 "... reap its harvest, you shall bring the first sheaf (omer) of your harvest to the priest . . . the priest shall wave it on the day after the Sabbath [the rabbis read this Sabbath as Pesach]." In the sefirat haomer ritual, the priest took the offering in his outstretched hands and moved it from side to side, then up and down. After the waving, a burnt offering was made, as well as an offering of flour and a libation of water. Afterwards . . Once the omer offering was discontinued following the destruction of the Temple, the rabbis invited the community to count (lis-por; sefirah) the 49 days. Because of the similarity between this Hebrew word for counting and the word that describes the mystical emanation of God (likewise sefirah), the mystics"
  4. Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew Lexicon
  5. Karaite Jews begin the count on the Sunday within the holiday week. This leads to Shavuot for the Karaites always falling on a Sunday.
  6. Josephus, Antiquities 3.250-251, in Josephus IV Jewish Antiquities Books I-IV, Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1930, pp. 437-439.