Thursday, May 8, 2014

Counting the Omer; What are sheaves of wheat?

Ariella gathering wheat
Every year students at Lakeside know that between Pesach and Shavuot (2 of the 3 Pilgrimage Holidays, Sukkot is the third) we collect cereal boxes on the bimah to help us count the Omer.  As you can find on My Jewish Learning

"The omer refers to the forty-nine day period between the second night of Passover (Pesach) and the holiday of Shavuot. This period marks the beginning of the barley harvest when, in ancient times, Jews would bring the first sheaves to the Temple as a means of thanking God for the harvest. The word omer literally means "sheaf" and refers to these early offerings."

I know my students think of cereal boxes when counting the Omer and I am glad they have learned something about this ritual.  I am not sure if they have ever seen sheaves of wheat.  Why would they?  

The pictures on my blog are of my good friend Ariella Nachshon who lives in a city outside of Tel Aviv with her family. Whenever I go to Israel Ariella opens her house and we always have a wonderful time together.   She celebrates holidays back on her kibbutz and we see her, her family and her community actually gathering sheaves of wheat.  These pictures tell the story so beautifully.   I could never explain with words the story these pictures tell us.  I hope to show some of my students these beautiful pictures of harvesting wheat.  I suppose it might open a discussion of how do we get from wheat to cereal but I have a few days to work on that answer.  Early Shabbat Shalom to all.