|Positive Mitzvah Forty-Four
The Minchah-offering of the Omer
Requires Beit HaMikdash
VaYikra 23:10 Speak to Benei Yisrael and
say to them; when you come into the land that I give to you and you reap its
harvest, you shall bring an omer of the first fruits of your harvest to the
We are commanded to offer a mincha-offering of barley
on the 16th day of Nisan, and with it a he-lamb of the first year without
blemish for a olah-offering. This mincha-offering is called "the Offering
of the Firstfruits", and this is referred to in
The Mechilta says,
"Every if in the Torah implies an option,
except in three cases where it is used in connection with an obligation; one
of these is: 'And if you bring a mincha-offering of firstfruits.'
You maintain this to be an obligation? Perhaps it is merely permissive.
Scripture therefore says, You shall bring for the mincha-offering of your
firstfruits, etc. - showing that it is obligatory and not permissive.'
(Shemot 20:22, Mechilta).
Why does the Torah command us to offer a omer of the
firstfruits on the Pesach? Because Pesach is the season when judgment is
passed with respect to grain, and (it is as if) the Holy One, Baruch Hu, had
said, "Offer before Me the first omer of grain on Pesach, so that your produce
in the fields may be blessed" (Rosh Hashanah 16a).
The ceremony observed at the bring of the mincha-offering
of the Omer is described in the Mishnah:
"The messengers of the Court (i.e. of the Great
Sanhedrin) used to go out on the day before the Festival (of Pesach) and tie
the unreaped corn in bunches to make it the easier to reap. All the
inhabitants of the towns near b assembled there, so that it might be reaped
with much pomp.
When it grew dark one called out, 'Has the sun set?'
and they answered, 'Yes!'
'Has the sun set?' and they answered 'Yes!'
'Shall I reap?' and they answered, 'Reap!'
They reaped it, put it into the baskets, and brought
it to the Temple Court. They used to beat it with reeds or stems of
plants, that the grains should nlot be crushed; then they put it into a hollow
tube that was perforated, so that the fire might take hold of all of it.
They spread it out in the Temple Court so that the wind might blow over it.
They put it into a grist-mill and took out of it a tenth (of an efah of
flour), which was sifted through thirteen sieves. Then they came to the
tenth, put in oil and its frankincense, poured in the oil, mingled it, waved
it, and brought it near (to the Altar), took from it the handful, and burnt
it; and the residue was eaten by the Kohanim." (Men. 65a, 66a; 67b).