Parasha: Emor        (Speak)

Torah reading:        Leviticus 21:11-24;23

Prophets reading:  Ezekiel 44:15-31

Gospel reading:      Luke 18-20


Countdown to Pentecost (Shavuot)


Thought for the Week:

The seed of redemption planted in us at Passover (Jesus is our Passover Lamb - I Corinthians 5:7) has forty-nine days to grow and mature until the

harvest of Pentecost.



“You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh [week]; then you shall present a new grain offering to the LORD.” (Leviticus 23:16)


“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49 KJV)


“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing

mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” (Act 2:1-4 KJV)



A famous parable describes how a poor man, desperate to find the means to support his family, sets sail to foreign shores. Tragically, his ship is sunk in

the stormy sea, but he somehow makes it to a tropical island. Much to his amazement, when he steps ashore he sees that the island is literally covered

with diamonds. There are diamonds on the beach, diamonds on the side of the road, diamonds everywhere.


Determined to return home, he finds a shipbuilder on the island and offers to pay him in diamonds to build a boat. The shipbuilder laughs and then says,

"But what am I going to do with worthless diamonds?!"


The hapless stranger soon learns that the currency of value on the island is meat gristle. Working very hard over a number of years, he earns enough

meat gristle not only to pay for the building of a boat, but also to have plenty to bring back with him. When his boat is finished, the hapless traveler loads

it up with meat gristle and heads home.


When he arrives home, his family is overjoyed to see him. Proudly, he announces, "We are now rich!" He opens the hatch of the boat and shows them...

meat gristle! A ghastly silence hangs in the air. The poor man realizes his tragic mistake, and begins to cry.


In this modern world it is easy to lose one’s way. Judaism features moments within time of focus. First and foremost the weekly Sabbath (Shabbat) where

every Jew is to free himself of career concerns, the daily deluge of news, and all other anchors which tend to hold us captive to the mundane.


Another time of focus is found in “Counting the Omer.” Beginning on the second day of Passover, the Torah (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers,

Deuteronomy) commands the counting of 49 days leading up to Pentecost (Shavuot). The Jewish people do this in celebration of the first Pentecost

which is considered to have occurred at the receiving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.


The stated purpose of this count is to make a bridge between Passover and Pentecost. It could be said that Passover represents physical freedom

without purpose and Pentecost is the commission of purpose. Pentecost was the ultimate purpose of Passover. In counting the days God has built into

the Scriptural Calendar appointed times of focus. A modern day reminder to focus on the diamonds in our lives and not the gristle.


During these weeks, when Jews around the world are counting of the Omer, it has become another modern-day reminder to focus on the diamonds

in our lives... and not the gristle.


What is “Omer”

"Omer" is a Hebrew word that means "sheaves of a harvested crop" and in ancient times Jews brought the omer to the Temple as an offering on the

second day of Passover. 


* Story Source: Rabbi Yehuda Appel of Aish HaTorah Cleveland Ohio