What Is The Significance Of Counting The Omer?
The Meaning Of Sefirat Haomer
Rabbi David Fohrman
Founder and Lead Scholar
Why do we count the Omer?
A common answer is that we're counting down the days until we get to Sinai. But the Omer doesn't count down- it counts up. We don't say '8 days left to Sinai' we say '42 days are gone since we offered the Omer offering'. So what is this count about anyway?
In this series, Rabbi Fohrman traces the roots of the Omer offering, taking us into a journey that explores the meaning of brick-making and bread-making, and the significance of both of these to the newly freed Israelites. What emerges is a view of the Omer that makes this offering a touchstone for an understanding of freedom, the Sabbath, and of law itself in our society.
Rabbi Fohrman: The question is what exactly is the meaning of this counting of the Omer that we do. So I suggested that it's a little bit strange where the Omer appears. It appears in Leviticus, in the middle of the portion of Holidays. The Holidays, we have Passover and then we have Shavuot, but in the middle, we hear about the Omer.
The whole story of Omer is indeed a story that doesn't seem to belong in the portion of Holidays. That's these laws of offerings and basically you bring -- here there's this omer offering. It's really strange. You have to wave the omer offering up in the air and you do it the day after the first day of Passover, known as "mimachrat haShabbat."
The omer offering has this function of making new grain permitted, which means that the omer offering allows you to eat from the new grain, new props of the land. The question is how exactly does that work.
Here's that language over here in Verse 14. "V'lechem v'kali v'karmel lo tochlu ad etzem hayom hazeh," until that day that you bring the omer offering, until you brought that offering, you should eat no bread or parched grain or fresh ears of grain. "Chukat olam l'doroteichem bechol moshvoteichem," that's the law wherever you live in Israel. "Usfartem lachem mimachrat haShabbat," then you have to start counting from that day for seven complete weeks, "sheva shabatot temimot tihyenah."
At the very end of that, we make this Holiday called Shavuot. We all know that the counting of the Omer is a big deal. You're not supposed to miss a day. It's this sort of little competition that we all have for 49 days, where you keep on counting this Omer without missing a day. The whole thing is very mysterious, what the meaning of the count is and what the meaning of the Omer is.
Pretty much last week, I suggested a theory to you. The idea is that if you just think about where this law appears, it appears in the portion of Holidays, in between Passover and Shavuot. We know that Passover commemorates a historical event and we know that Shavuot commemorates a historical event.
Passover commemorates being taken out of Egypt. Shavuot commemorates being given the Hebrew Bible at Sinai 49 days later. Then you've got the ceremony of counting the Omer. I suggested that is it possible that the ceremony of counting the Omer is almost like a mini holiday in the sense that it too commemorates a historical event, an event that's between the exodus from Egypt and the giving of the Hebrew Bible at Sinai. What event, though, is that?
I suggested that if you look throughout the Hebrew Bible, the word Omer appears in only one other context in the Hebrew Bible. It seems it's referenced in that context. Of course, the context in which the Omer appears is in the story of the manna.
If you look at the story of the manna, you can find that -- here you've got the Omer, "v'hanif et ha'omer." Over here, if you look at the manna, the people were supposed to collect specifically an omer, an omer's worth of manna. An omer was a volume measurement and an omer's worth of manna was a single serving or enough for a day, enough for one person to eat for a day. That's what you'd collect in the fields. "Omer lagulgolet," an omer for each head, "mispar nafshoteichem."
What's interesting about the Omer, once we begin to see the connections, they sort of jump out at you a little bit more. So for example, as we talked about last week, the omer is brought "mimachrat haShabbat," the day after Sabbath. So what's interesting about that is if you think about Sabbath, which makes this strange appearance in the laws of the omer, that Passover in this context is called Sabbath, the day after the first day of Passover is not called the day after the first day of Passover, it's called the day after Sabbath.
This notion of calling the Passover Sabbath really goes back to the omer itself. Think about the very first time we learned about Sabbath as a people. The very first time we learned about Sabbath as a people was in the context of the omer. Where what happens? The people are surprised when no manna falls on Saturday. You'll find it right over here.
"Vayehi bayom hashishi," what happened is on the sixth day the people went out and they collected "shnei ha'omer," they took two bundles and there was enough for two. Normally there wasn't enough for that. The people were surprised. "Vayagidu l'Moshe," so Moses says no, you don't understand, "shabaton Shabbat kodesh laShem machar." There you have that language.
So you have Sabbath and you also have that notion of tomorrow, which again evokes "mimachrat haShabbat." So it seems like you've got all this language over here with the omer which is evoking the manna.
Even this notion of counting, "usfartem lachem," itself borrows from the omer. Take a look at this little word over here, "usfartem lachem," you should count "mimachrat haShabbat." So where do you have the notion of counting? It's right over here. When you would take an omer per head, so you were allowed to gather an omer per head, which means that if you had seven people in your tent, one person could go out and gather seven omers because you were allowed to take "mispar nafshoteichem," you were allowed to take the number of the people. Somehow it seems that "mispar nafshoteichem" gets transmuted into "usfartem lachem," and you should count for yourselves, "mimachrat haShabbat."
Similarly, this mention of "temimot" even. Think about "temimot." The idea of something which is complete, you should count for seven weeks. Let's even talk about seven while we're at it, the notion of counting for seven weeks. Even that is a play on words of something in the omer. What does seven remind you of in the story of the manna? Shin-Bet-Ayin. Satisfaction. When the people complain, they complain over here and they say that we are hungry. We remember eating "lechem l'sova," we remember eating bread to our satiation, to be fulfilled, to be satiated.
Audience Member: It also says "lechem ba'erev basar le'echal v'lechem baboker lisbo'a."
Rabbi Fohrman: Yes. Well, that's later on. God says, "vayomer Moshe b'teit Hashem lechem ba'erev basar le'echol v'lechem baboker lisbo'a," I'm going to give you bread in the morning to satiate you. The people said we remember the bread of Egypt that satiated us and God responds and says I'm going to give you bread to satiate yourselves, "lisbo'a." That "lisbo'a" seems to become in the Omer the seven weeks. The play on words, Shin-Bet-Ayin is no longer satiation. It becomes seven weeks.
What about complete over here? The complete would mean seven complete weeks. Complete is not more than seven and not less than seven. What does not more than and not less than but only exactly remind you of in the story of the manna? You had to take exactly what you needed, no more and no less.
What happened is you were supposed to take an omer, that's what you were supposed to take. It turns out, "vayilketu hamerbeh v'hamamit," it turns out that people collected more. Some people tried to collect a little bit more or some people managed to collect less. But what happened? "Vayamodu ba'omer," when they came home, they weighed what they had against the omer, "v'lo hedif hamarbeh v'hamamit lo hechsir," the one who collected a little bit more didn't have any more than an omer and the one who collected a little bit less didn't have any less than an omer. So it ended up being exactly complete.
Interestingly, if you look at this little pattern, it's an interesting kind of pattern, which is if you think about seven -- if you think about "usfartem" over here and grain, and you think about seven over here and you think about complete over here, and you think about those evoking "mispar nafshoteichem," a number of souls and no more and no less than the manna and seven is the satiation, you see a certain kind of pattern in the way that these words transmute themselves from the manna into the omer. Can you see the pattern?
They're all very different. They're all sort of plays on words. These words mean very different things in the story of the omer than they do in the story of the manna, but there is a pattern in the differences, it seems to me. I'll tell you what I think the pattern is.
The pattern is a move from space into time. Let me explain what I mean. What does "mispar" mean in the case of the manna? "Mispar" in the case of the manna refers to the number of people, so it's like a volume thing. How many people do you have, how much space is taken up over here? When "mispar" gets transmuted into the story of the manna, it becomes "usfartem lachem," counting time. I'm counting time, I'm counting weeks.
Similarly, Shin-Bet-Ayin in the story of the manna is a quality of bread. This thing, this thing satiates me, it's satisfying. But once you translate it into manna, that becomes a quality of time, seven weeks.
Similarly, if you take the idea of complete, which is no more or no less, no more and no less in the manna meant no more or no less than the volume measurement of the omer which we were supposed to take, which is a quality of space. If you take it into the story of the omer, then all of a sudden, the complete doesn't refer to space, it refers to time, seven complete weeks.
So what's this deal with this transmutation of the space of the manna into the time of the counting of the Omer? How is it that we understand that? So we didn't talk about that last week, so let me try and elaborate what I think is going on there. Actually, what I'm going to do is let you, sort of, hang on to that question for a few minutes and I'll get back to it, but let me create some more groundwork and take this a little bit further.
One of the things I suggested to you last week is that -- now the question is sort of why. So let's say the omer commemorates the manna in the desert. Okay. That's very nice, but why? Why is it that it commemorates the manna? Why is that you have this law that you're not allowed to eat from the new grain of Israel until you bring this omer offering? It's kind of interesting. If you do the algebra, what that seems to suggest is that I'm not allowed to eat from the new grain, from the new crops of Israel, until I bring this omer offering and remember the manna. Why would that be?
It seems like the story of the omer, the laws of the omer, tell us the answer. Because if you look at the omer, another thing that I suggested to you last week is that the omer doesn't just talk to you about -- in other words, the omer in Leviticus doesn't just evoke memories of the past. In Numbers, when the people were given manna for the first time, it also foreshadows the future. What is the future that it foreshadows, the future that has not yet taken place as of Leviticus?
Actually, the future is when they come into the Land of Israel in the Book of Joshua. Remember that language we had with the omer, "mimachrat haShabbat," that we bring the omer on the day after Sabbath? We know that the Pharisees understand that to mean the day after the first day of Passover. And yet it's strange. Why would you call the first day after Passover Sabbath if you really mean the first day after Passover? Just call it the first day after Passover.
So the truth is that you know the Pharisees are right when you start looking in the Book of Joshua. In the Book of Joshua, that shows you what "mimachrat haShabbat" really means. So there's a whole story in Joshua that evokes the omer. It's right over here. I'll show it to you, just to make it a little bit easier for you. Here on the left is the omer, and in the middle of the Joshua and the cessation of manna, and on the right is the start of the manna.
Now, remember how the start of the manna was that the "omer lagulgolet." "Lagulgolet" is a strange language, but an omer means an omer for every skull, for every person, for every skull. But it's a strange way of talking about that. Well, once you start looking at what was happening in Joshua, you sort of understand that language.
So here are the people in Joshua and they're coming into the Land of Israel for the first time. They do circumcision and they're about to offer the Passover sacrifice. God says, "vayomer Hashem el Yehoshua hayom galoti et cherpat Mitzrayim mei'aleichem," today I have taken away the shame of Egypt from you because now you've done circumcision, "vayikra sheim hamakom hahu Gilgal," and they called that place Gilgal.
But look at Gilgal and look at skull. It's like the name is named after the skulls in the story of the manna. They called the place Gilgal until that day. "Vayachnu Bnei Yisrael baGilgal," so they were encamped in Gilgal and that's where they made their Passover.
Now, remember, Passover, when do you start bringing the omer? The day after Passover. So the people were now bringing the Passover. "Vaya'asu et haPesach b'arba'ah asar yom lachodesh ba'erev b'arvot Yericho." And then what did they do on the very next day, on the day after the first day of Passover? "Vayochlu mei'avur ha'aretz," they ate new grain, they ate the very first grain from the land, "mimachrat haPesach."
What does "mimachrat haPesach" remind you of? "Mimachrat haShabbat." That's the day that you bring the omer. Well, this is the time that it's "mimachrat haPesach," when the original time that they very first ate new grain is "mimachrat haPesach."
What did they eat? Unleavened bread. So it was Passover, so they can't eat bread, so they eat unleavened bread, "v'kalu'i," and they eat parched grain. Well, what does that remind you of? Take a look at the laws of the Omer. "V'lechem v'kali v'karmel lo tochlu ad etzem hayom hazeh," you're not allowed to eat bread and parched grain from the new crop. Well, that's exactly what they ate. They ate "matzot v'kalu'i." And when did they eat it? "B'etzem hayom hazeh," on that very day. That evokes the omer again, when "v'lechem v'kali v'karmel lo tochlu ad etzem hayom hazeh," you're not allowed to eat the parched grain until that very day.
Then, remember that language of Sabbath and the next day, "mimachrat haShabbat?" So "vayishbot haman mimachrat," and the very next day the manna ceased.
So if you think about the story about the end of the manna and if you think about the story about the beginning of the manna, they're both evoked by the omer. The idea is what is the function of the omer? The function of the omer allows you to eat the new grain. So if you think about what you're really doing, what you're really doing is recreating in some sense the scene in Joshua or you're remembering the beginning of the omer. But we're also remembering the beginning of the manna, we're also remembering the end of the manna.
What's the idea? Why is it that you have to remember the manna? So remembering the manna is -- there's a certain kind of continuing. What's the continuing? So let me ask you this. Why do you have to remember the manna before you can eat from the first grain of Israel? The answer is to know where it came from.
So here's the thing. Where the food comes from in Israel is tricky. Where does it come from? Where does the food come from in Israel? It comes from the ground. You plant it, you harvest it. It sounds like it comes from you. Now, but it doesn't really, because God gave you the land and God is choosing to feed you by giving you the land and bringing you into the land.
Now, that was evident at the time of Joshua, because how did they conquer the land? The walls of Jericho came tumbling down. It was pretty obvious that God was doing this for you, but over time you can forget. So over time, there's a ceremony and the ceremony evokes the memories of the first time that you came into Israel, the first time you ate new grain, when you just ate manna yesterday. And if anybody asked you who is feeding you now, your answer is well, I guess it's God but God is just feeding me a different way. Instead of feeding me by directly brining manna down from the heavens, He's feeding me by taking me into the land and giving me this food.
The truth is this is evoked by the very first time that we hear about the manna. Where is the very first time you hear about the manna? Turns out, it was long before the manna. There was a time when there was a prophesy of the manna. Beshalach is the time when you get the manna. When was there a prophecy of the manna? When was it that you first hear the possibility of manna? I'll give you a hint.
Here is Deuteronomy, Chapter 8. Take a look at it. This sort of lays out the connection between omer and manna pretty clearly. Actually, let me do one other thing with you first.
So first of all, this is what I think the notion of waving is all about. Why do we wave the omer? Such a strange thing. Why do you wave the omer? Actually, same idea as waving the date palm tree. You wave the Levites. Levites are pretty heavy. Why would you wave them? if you look at the waving of the Levites, look at that verse somewhere, the Levites, when there were given -- what happened with the Levites is that they were given to Aaron and the Priests by God to help them. But the language is interesting.
What happens is that God says okay, I have all these firstborns. The firstborns are rightfully mine because I killed all the firstborns in Egypt and everyone should have died but only by the grace of God did they live, so the firstborns are mine. Now I'm giving the firstborns back, but instead of the firstborns I'm taking the Levites in their place and the Levites are mine. Now the Levites are mine and I'm giving the Levites, who are Mine, who I took in place of the firstborns, I'm giving them to the Priests to help them.
Think about that idea. The notion is the Levites are God's and He's giving them to the Priests. In order to show that, you wave the Levites. How does waving the Levites show what's going on? It's showing that God is giving the Levites to the Priest. That's what the waving does.
Why? Because think about what happens when you wave a Levi. A Levi doesn't wave easily. Do you know what I mean? He's very firmly planted on the ground. But if you have seven strong men pick him up and wave him in the air and put him down, the notion of waving in the air creates the ceremony suggesting where Levites are coming to you from. From the sky. That's the notion. The Levite comes from the sky down to you. He's God's and now he's coming down to you.
That, I believe, is the symbolism of the waving. Whenever you find waving in the Hebrew Bible, that's what waving means. Waving is there's this very earthly thing, it's not so earthly. Actually, it's coming from the heavens and it's coming down to you.
Similarly, you have the breast of the wave offering. You have one of the Priestly gifts, one of the gifts that go to the Priest from the animal, is the breast of the wave offering. It's a part of the animal. But it gets waved. Why does it get waved? Same idea. Looks like it's part of an animal but it's really coming to you from God.
What do you do here with the omer? You take barley and -- now the quiz. Where does barley come from, boys and girls? Barley comes from the earth. It comes from the ground. But we're remembering the manna. So what are you supposed to do with this barley before you eat it? What you do with the barley, the omer offerings? You have to take it and wave it in the air and only after you wave it in the air can you eat the barley.
What did we say about the barley? The barley also comes from God, just like when we remember the manna. Because you know where the manna came from. Where did the manna come from? The manna came from the heaven, the manna came from the sky. So you think the barley doesn't come from the sky, it comes from the ground, wave it and you'll see. It comes from the sky, just the same as -- it's just like the manna. The same way the manna came from the sky, the barley comes from the sky. So when you believe and you understand that the barley comes from the sky, then you can eat the barley. That's the idea of the omer offering.
There's another dimension of all of this, I think, which gets to the counting. What's the idea of counting the omer, why do we have to count it? You're not just counting down the days until the giving of the Hebrew Bible. You're counting the omer, specifically.
Which means that if you really want to understand how to prepare for Shavuot, don't fool yourselves. You're not counting down the days to the giving of the Hebrew Bible. If you were counting down the days to the giving of the Hebrew Bible, you would be counting down instead of counting up and you also wouldn't say today is day X to the omer. You would say today is day X until the giving of the Hebrew Bible. We don't do that. The question is why is it that the way we get to Sinai is by counting the Omer.
Interestingly you have the two loaves and the two loaves sort of reminds you of -- where do you have two in this whole process, two loaves of bread? It reminds you of Sabbath, the manna, two loaves of bread. But interestingly, these are actually two loaves of bread and they're specifically two loaves of leavened bread. These are like two loaves of bread that we're giving God at the end of all of this.
By the way, on Sinai, what does two loaves -- what does a gift of two loaves kind of remind you of? Two Tablets. You have this -- they looked like loaves. That's what they looked like. So is there a connection between the Tablets and the two loaves? By the way, even if you spell Tablets and you spell bread, they're kind of on the same page. Lamed-Chet in both cases. What's going on with all of that? Again, why are we counting from the omer, which means you're counting having to do with the manna? What's the idea of counting the manna?
Here's what I want to suggest to you. One of the things I shared with you last week, I think I shared with you last week, is a second series of connections between the story of the manna and the story of evil Pharaoh. Do you remember this? Did we talk about that last week? That you could see right over here. So here now is our manna narrative, but instead of looking at its connections to the omer, take a look at its connections to the story of evil Pharaoh.
What I mean by the story of evil Pharaoh is that if I ask you when is the first time that any human being talks about Sabbath in the Hebrew Bible, it's actually not in the story of the manna when we first talk about the Sabbath. It's before that. It's right over here. It's when Pharaoh says "hein rabim atah am ha'aretz," I have all these slaves, "v'hishbatem otam misivlotam," and you are causing them to rest from their work, so I'm losing my GNP. It was Pharaoh's denial of Sabbath. It's the first time that the word Sabbath is ever uttered by a human being.
Turns out that it's not just Sabbath that connects the story of manna to the evil Pharaoh narrative, but everything. I showed you some of these connections last week. We won't go through all of them. This language of "dvar yom b'yomo," you're supposed to go out and collect every day the manna. While collecting every day, "dvar yom b'yomo," the amount you're supposed to collect for that day, that expression, "dvar yom b'yomo," appears another time in the Five Books. It appears right over here, when the taskmasters said you're supposed to be collecting straw for bricks, "dvar yom b'yomo."
The idea is that the whole story here is a playoff of the story of evil Pharaoh. I call it the story of evil Pharaoh. The story of evil Pharaoh is really the one moment, it's this extended narrative of the sadism of Pharaoh. The people come and they ask for three days off, they wanted a three-day break. Pharaoh denies the break. He says if you're thinking about vacations, you're already on vacation. Therefore, it means I'm not working you hard enough. I'm keeping the same amount of work that you have, so there's no vacation, you have to work harder. I'm giving the same quota of bricks, right, he's a numbers guy, he wants the same number of bricks, but now you have to collect your own straw, and whoever doesn't bring the bricks gets beaten. So it's a sadistic kind of thing.
And what happens, predictably, the Hebrew Bible goes through what happens. The people can't do it and so they get beaten. They protest. The Jewish taskmasters protest their Egyptian overlords and say what are you doing, we can't do this. They protest to Pharaoh. Pharaoh says I'm not listening, not listening. You guys are lazy, "nirpim atem nirpim," you're lazy, you're lazy.
All of this gives complexion to what God is doing in the story of the manna. Because God says a strange thing. God says you know why I'm feeding you this manna? I'm feeding you this manna so that ""erev vidatem ki Hashem hotzi etchem mei'eretz Mitzrayim. U'boker uritem et kvod Hashem." You're going to know that I'm the God Who brought you out of Egypt when you get the manna and you're going to know "b'shamo et telunoteichem," when I hear your complaints, you'll see that I'm the God Who brought you out of Egypt.
You think that's crazy, like if they didn't understand after going through the Red Sea and after the whole Charlton Heston thing, with the splitting of the ocean, they didn't understand then that God brought them out of Egypt, how come the manna is going to teach them of God? So, of course they understood that God brought them out of Egypt.
The point is you'll understand you really left Egypt when you understand that there's a new King Who has you gathering in the fields. Except this time around, it's the King Who listens to your complaints and not the king who denies your complaints. When God listens to you, as opposed to rejecting every listening, that's when you'll know you left Egypt. That's when you'll know you have a different kind of King.
The idea is that every thing that happens in the story of the manna is based upon the story of what happened with the evil Pharaoh. You're collecting in the fields, just like you were collecting in the fields the straw. And you're collecting "dvar yom b'yomo," and there are these quotas, and there are these number games, and there are these quotas of the omer also.
But the quotas are very different, because back in Egypt you were collecting quotas of bricks to serve Pharaoh and that was the only thing that mattered. Here, you're collecting food for yourself. God is providing for you. So it's the story of a benevolent King Who is providing for you, rather than a malicious king who is trying to grind you down.
That's the connection between these stories. One king says there is no such thing as Sabbath, whereas the new king says that Sabbath is the only thing I insist upon.
Now, we talked about this, I think, a little bit before, but one interesting way of defining what a servant is -- what does it mean to be a slave? You can have a lot of different ways of defining it, but one very nice definition would be a slave works incessantly without any stopping. Why? It makes sense, because basically the master doesn't care about the slave. The slave is just a tool. So I'll squeeze any possible work that I can out of you, I'll work you as much as I possibly can until you break.
It's even worse than that. It's that Pharaoh's real desire, sadistic desire, is actually just to destroy us through work. He couldn't destroy us just by throwing us in the Nile, so he also ground us down through work. Similar to the Holocaust, where work camps were really death camps in disguise. It was that way with Pharaoh, where I'm going to beat you when you don't meet the impossible quota. It's just the way I'm, sort of, destroying you.
The definition of a slave at its worst is to work and work and work for no rest. Another definition of a slave is a slave is someone who has to keep the king's laws no matter what. So here, Pharaoh has these laws. It's interesting, by the way. If you think about Israel's first experience with chukim (decrees) and mishpatim (laws) -- if I gave you a little quiz, I said when is the first time we were exposed to decrees and laws? The answer isn't Sinai. The answer is Egypt. It's actually in this particular story.
If you look at this story, you find the word decree and you find the word law. It's our very first introduction to decree and law. For example, when Pharaoh complains to us that we haven't brought him the quota of bricks, look at this word. "Madu'a lo chilitem chakchem," how come you didn't fulfill your decree, how come you didn't fulfill the law. This is our first experience of law, an impossible law that we couldn't fulfill, that we couldn't collect all the straw. That was our experience with decree.
What was our experience with law? At the end of this whole painful story, the people come to Moses and in desperation they yell at him and they say, "yeire Hashem aleichem v'yishpot," let God judge between you and us, "asher hivashtem et reicheinu b'einei Paro u'v'einei avadav latet cherev b'yadam l'hargeinu," you made us stink in the eyes of Pharaoh and you've given him a sword to kill us. Let God judge between you and me.
Interestingly, decree and law in this story of evil Pharaoh becomes the paradigm for all decree and law that we ever have. How do you know? What's the difference you learned in school between decree and law? Decrees are between who and who? You and God. Laws are between who and who? People and people. Where do you get that from? Look over here. What was the decree in the story? It was the relationship between the slave and the king. What was the law in the story? "Yeire Hashem aleichem v'yishpot," let God judge between who? Between me and Moses. I have a dispute. Who is right in the dispute? That's law.
God says, you know what -- and here's the issue. Why really is this whole story of the manna -- why is it that the story of the manna is based upon the story of evil Pharaoh? Here's the Shavuot connection.
I think the answer is because there was a real problem here. Coming out of Egypt, if you're going to have another King Who makes you gather in the fields, another King Who is going to give you laws, and you're the Jews who just came out of Egypt, so what question would you have? How does my life change? Am I better off now than I was four years ago, were the words of Ronald Reagan.
New Master, new laws. I have PTSD when it comes to laws. I have post-traumatic stress disorder. How are you going to heal Israel from the post-traumatic stress disorder of laws? What God wants to show them is that there is a whole different kind of King. So what God does is says okay, here's what we're going to do. There are two ways to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The instinctive way to deal with it is through denial. So what do you do? You just avoid -- I avoid doing anything that reminds me of the trauma. Now, the problem with avoiding anything that reminds you of the trauma is that you can't and you remember the trauma. So what happens is the trauma stays lodged in your brain and, whenever anything in your life touches upon that trauma, you're involuntary triggered and you act in all sorts of weird ways. The trauma controls your life.
So you can't just sort of deny and sweep under the rug the trauma and pretend it never occurred, because your subconscious knows that the trauma occurred and it's going to haunt you forever. So what's the only way out? The only way out is you somehow have to confront the trauma. But if you just relive the trauma, that doesn't do anything. So what does reliving the trauma do?
The answer is you have to relive the therapy. The language I use for this is remember but choose is a different ending. Which is they have to relive the experience, but then you have to relive it in a proactive way which is somehow redemptive. Now you could remember it differently.
You find this all over the place. So, for example, if blood is what haunted us in Egypt, the blood of the children, of the Nile seeping into the depth. We were traumatized by blood. How are you going to get out? Put the blood on the door. You're going to get out with circumcision and the blood on the door, memorialized in in your blood live. Even that language, "v'eryah mitboseset b'dameich," even in that picture we have that language we use from that verse in the Haggadah. It's like the girl who comes to maturity that's wallowing in blood. We came to maturity as a nation, we grew into a nation in Egypt, but it was blood that haunted us.
So what does God say? In your blood, live. Know what brings life, because blood, of course, can bring life. Blood is also blood of life and God says there's another side of blood and that way you can redeem your trauma with blood and get out through blood.
Here, too, how are you going to redeem the trauma of Pharaoh, the trauma with laws? Because God wants to give you laws. So here is the problem. You come to Shavuot, it's this great law-giving day, and it's like no thanks. I'm not interested in another King Who gives me laws.
So here's the deal. The difference between the story of the manna and the story of Pharaoh lies in one thing. No bricks. No bricks. The difference between the two stories is bricks. For Pharaoh, bricks mean everything. Bricks are the only thing he wants. He wants his quota of bricks. So God says okay, we're going to do quotas, we're going to do gathering, we'll do everything. The difference is that what you're gathering is you're not gathering straw for bricks. I don't need any bricks. I stand on bricks, which actually gets us to one more narrative. The revelation narrative.
Remember that weird revelation narrative in the portion of Mishpatim, with the sapphire bricks? If you think about that, the bricks over there -- let's get to that in just a moment. But the difference between these kings is that God doesn't need bricks. So you're going to go collecting. If you think about collecting bricks and collecting for bread, it's a very similar thing.
How do you make bread and how do you make bricks? So it's a very similar process really. Egypt was the bread basket of the Middle East. It was the bread basket of the Middle East because they can make wheat easily because they had the Nile. Bread and bricks both come from wheat, the question is what part of the wheat.
If you take the grain and you smash up the grain and you put it in water and you put it in a oven and you bake it, you get bread. If you take the chaff and you smash up the chaff and you add water and you put it in a oven and you bake it, you get bricks.
There was this fustian bargain that Pharaoh foisted upon us and it was I'll give you some bread, but in return I demand bricks.
Now, in the beginning the bread was probably good. Let me ask you a question. How can it be that in Egypt, we say on Passover, that the bread we ate was unleavened bread? It was a poor person's bread, it was all so terrible. But in the story of the manna, they start by saying we remember satisfying bread, we remember all the delicious bread in Egypt.
What's the answer? So my colleague, Imu Shalev, suggested, and I think he's right, that it probably started with delicious bread. The bargain of every slave is I don't have land, I don't really have a roof over my head, I don't really have food. So feed me, and I'll work for you.
It begins with I'll give you delicious food, in return sell yourself. So in the beginning, the way you get enticed into slavery is with delicious bread. Here's the delicious bread. Sell yourself as a slave. In the beginning, that's what we remember. But the only problem is that from Pharaoh's standpoint, if it's all about bricks and the only thing I care about is the quota of bricks that I get, so at some point I make an economic calculus. What do I say?
I say look, I only care about the bricks. I've already them as my slaves. All I really need to do is give them X number of calories to keep them working. So why am I working so hard to have this delicious Angel bread? I can just feed them unleavened bread. I can just give them straight calories, just bread and water. So eventually the bread degrades.
Of course, you don't remember that. You just remember the first high, like the addict who always remembers the first high. You remember the first bread and that's what the people remember. But in fact, the bread degraded and all you had was Pharaoh who wanted bricks.
So along comes God and says look, I can actually give you bread from the heavens. Where does the bread come from? It comes from the heavenly fields and I'm going to give you this bread and that's going to be wonderful. And guess what? I don't need bricks. So you're going to go collecting.
If you think about the laws of the manna, the laws of the manna were actually the direct opposite of the laws of Pharaoh. What was the law of Pharaoh? And this is the great tragedy of Pharaoh. The great tragedy of Pharaoh is that if you create a law which says that the quotas for bricks remains the same and everyone who doesn't meet their quota will be beaten, and yet everyone has to collect the straw and we're not giving you straw anymore, and there's not enough time to collect all the straw to meet your quota, so let's just play a little social experiment. What does that do to a society? It actually breaks down society.
How? Because even if you have the nicest of people in society, if you know that it's impossible to do this, it becomes every man for himself. Why? Because all of a sudden, the straw is a scarce resource in the field. There's only so much of it. And there's not enough time to collect it. So that means the straw that's easy to collect, what am I going to do?
So now, if I know that I'm going to get beaten and my kids are going to get beaten, unless we collect the straw, what are you going to do with the straw? You're going to hoard straw. And what about when someone from the next city over wants to take a little bit of straw? You're going to give him straw? No, that's my straw. So it destroys any cooperation, any civic cooperation and it becomes a dog eat dog world as people struggle over this scarce resource.
That's the great tragedy, by the way. If you think about the Nazis in the Holocaust, by the way, that was also one of the great tragedies in the Holocaust. They designed laws to be able to create a zero-sum game that would turn brother against brother. That was the worst part of it, or one of the worst parts of it.
That's what Pharaoh's doing over here. It's a terrible law. So what does he do? He says there's no rest, no rest. There's just work, work, work, incessantly until I break you down. And there are the same quotas and people are going to destroy each other.
So now look at God's laws. What are the laws with the manna? There are three laws. Law number one is there's going to be Sabbath. There's no bread on Saturday. You're going to get twice as much bread on Friday. Okay. That's the anti-Pharaoh law, which is that no, there's this new King and if you define slavery as work without rest, and that's what defines slaves, and listens to the king's laws, then look how delicious this is. Listen to this.
Slavery equals listen to the king's laws, work without rest. So what does God, Who now demands that you listen to His laws, what is His law? His law is I demand from you rest. So it's the anti-slavery slave. The moment I take you as my slave and I demand that you listen to my laws, you discover that what is My law? My law is that you must rest, i.e., My law is that slavery is loathsome to me, the notion of working and working without any rest is loathsome to me. That's law number one.
Law number two is you have to collect an "omer lagulgolet." You can't collect more and you can't save for tomorrow because no hoarding. What happens if you try to hoard? It will all fall apart. So what is that no hoarding law? It's the opposite of what happened in the Pharaoh days. Pharaoh encourages hoarding and that's what he creates. What happens is God says no, there's can't be anything that's hoarding, you can't even save for tomorrow. Why? Because tomorrow there will be enough and the next day there will be enough.
What is God really saying? I'm the King Who cares about you. I'm the King Who provides you security. I'm the King Who gives you enough. I'm the King Who doesn't need bricks, but I'm just there to take care of you.
The end of the day, you have this strange story. In the end, you have a strange law in Mishpatim which goes like this. it's part of the revelation at Sinai. The people go and they climb up the mountain and all of a sudden Moses and the elders, "vayiru eit Elokai Yisrael," they see this image of God, which is crazy, because you're not supposed to see God, but here there's this exception. God creates this representation of Himself. You look at this and you shudder. They see God as if He's a human being. Because even though they don't see His face, but they see His feet.
"V'tachat raglav," and underneath His feet, this is what they see, "k'ma'asei livnat hasapir," they see sapphire bricks, "u'k'etze hashamayim latohar," and the bricks are clear, they're translucent, these strange sapphire bricks.
So what's going on? They see God and they eat and they drink. It's crazy. And at that moment, "vayomer Hashem el Moshe alei eilai haharah," come up to the mountain, I'm going to give you these stone Tablets. "V'haTorah v'hamitzvah asher katavti l'horotam."
The idea is that what is God showing? This is the final redemption of Sinai. The final redemption of Sinai is what is God saying? I'm going to show you a picture of Me that makes Me look almost like Pharaoh, of the king sitting upon a throne about to give you laws. You saw a king sitting upon a throne about to give you laws before. And that king was obsessed with bricks, right? But what were the bricks that he wanted from you? The muddy kind, that come from the earth. He wanted you to make all these bricks and give them to him.
Guess what? I'm the King Who already has all the bricks I need. They're right over here. They're right underneath my feet. Guess what My bricks look like? They don't look anything like your bricks. My bricks are translucent blue. Why translucent blue? Well, what do human bricks look like? Human bricks are muddy because they look like where they came from. They come from the ground. Where do God's bricks come from? They come from the sky. They come from the fields in heaven, the fields in the sky, the translucent blue, just like the sky. "K'etzem hashamayim latohar," they look just like the heavens.
There is a Midrash like that, that with those bricks, God remembered our bricks. I think that's what the Midrash is getting at, that there was this empathy, that God understood that we had pain associated with bricks. God said look, I've got My bricks. It's a show of empathy. So instead of the king demanding bricks from us, isn't it fascinating that the next thing God does is says come to Me and I'm going to give you two Tablets?
Remember, Tablets are spelled very much the same as bread, two loaves. And then the Midrash says something fascinating, Isaacides even quotes it, about those Tablets. When Moses chiseled off the Tablets, that he could become rich because they were sapphire, they had shavings of sapphire. Oh, the Tablets were sapphire, were they? If the Tablets were sapphire, then what did God probably give him? Two of these bricks.
Which means to say that instead of the king demanding earthly bricks from us, the process is now going to be reversed. God was going to give us His own precious heavenly bricks.
Now, when the earthly king demanded earthly bricks from us, he created laws in order to maximize his brick power. So really all the laws did was serve the bricks. The bricks were the most important thing. The whole purpose of the law was to facilitate bricks.
Now, when God gives us translucent heavenly bricks, what does He write on top of the bricks? Laws. So you see that all the bricks were, were writing instruments for laws. So which is more important, the laws or the bricks? The answer is the laws. The bricks just served the laws.
So God says look, I got the whole reverse. All those bricks that traumatized you, I get it. They traumatized you. I feel terrible about it. I'm going to give you bricks. They're my most precious bricks, but as precious as they are, they still don't mean more than the laws. You know what the laws are? They're good for you. Remember the laws of manna? They provide you with rest, they provide you with a situation where there's no dog eat dog world. They teach you to trust Me.
The counting of the Omer. Getting back to that question. Why the counting of the Omer? Why time and space?
It all goes back to the Omer, "b'etzem hayom hazeh," "usfartem." It's taking it one more stage. " K'etzem hashamayim latohar," "usfartem" now becomes "sapir."
What does this business about counting -- if you take the idea of counting, it undergoes this remarkable evolution. It starts with Pharaoh. Where was counting with Pharaoh? What did Pharaoh count? Bricks. There was a quota of bricks that you needed to give him. So it starts with the numbers game of Pharaoh. The numbers game of Pharaoh was ultimately dehumanizing. People didn't count for anything. Society is going to be destroyed because of this giant quota that everyone needed to make and no one counted for anything and people ripped each other apart because there was no security.
Along comes the manna and God says okay, I get it. You guys were traumatized by the numbers game. So we're going to have to do the numbers game again, but we're going to do the numbers game a little bit differently this time. This time, I'm going to show you that I can be trusted to provide for you and you're going to be able to get an omer, but you can supersede that count if you have "mispar nafshoteichem." If you have a number of people in your household, you can collect enough for everyone.
Back in the straw, there's never enough straw for everyone. Now there's always enough manna for everyone. You can collect enough for everyone in your tent. Everyone will be taken care of. There's no need to hoard. That's what "mispar" becomes in the story of the manna.
Then what happens is, when you finally get to Sinai, you get a "livnat hasapir," where the numbers become this sapphire, this translucent brick, this beautiful bricks, which God gives you. You memorialize all of that with the counting of the Omer.
Remember, what's the idea of counting the Omer? Counting the days of the Omer. Remember the time, space thing we were talking about before? When it came to the manna, there are all these elements of space, which is you have this Omer and you have "mispar nafshoteichem," and you have no more and no less in space. Now you take that in time and you count days, for 49 days, "sheva shabatot temimot tihyenah."
What does that really mean? So here's the way I envision that. What is the whole point of counting the Omer, of remembering the manna, of remembering the cessation of the manna, so when you go into the land you understand where these things come from? What you need to understand is not just that there was a thing called manna, when God was once upon a time nice to us. It's more than that. In order to get into the land, it's more than understanding that God gives me the food in the land and that God gives me the manna. There's one more thing you need to understand.
There's a problem with coming into the land that the Omer is meant to address. The problem is Deuteronomy, 8. The problem is what the land is like. Here, look. I can't even say it better than Deuteronomy, so I'm just going to read it to you.
"Kol hamitzvah asher anochi metzavcha hayom," all of these laws that I give you, I know you're allergic to laws, you guys, but these laws that I give you, you need to understand, "tishmerun la'asot," you have to watch over them carefully, "lema'an tichyun," so that you should live. These laws are really so that you could live, that you could flourish. "U'vatem virishtem et ha'aretz," and that you should be able to flourish in the land.
In order to do that, here's what I need from you guys. "V'zacharta et kol haderech," you need to remember your times in the desert, "asher holichach Hashem Elokeka zeh arba'im shanah," you need to remember all 40 years in the desert. "Lema'an anotcha l'nasotcha," when I actually caused some pain to you, when I tested you, "lada'at et asher bilvavcha hatishmor mitzvosav im lo," to see what was in your heart, would you keep my laws or not.
"Vayancha vayarivecha," and I made life hard for you. I actually had to make you hungry. "vaya'achilcha et haman," and I fed you the manna. "Asher lo yadata v'lo yadun avotecha," you didn't know of manna. I did all of that.
Now, this notion of I tested you. What does it mean I tested you? We think of a test as like the Regents, like these scary tests. But the test is something else, I think. What was the test of the manna? The test of the manna, it wasn't even testing -- you have to understand this carefully. If I test you, if I'm testing your trust, there's something capricious about this. How much are you going to trust me? Oh, you're going to trust me for this. God wasn't being capricious.
Look at how the laws of the manna were structured. One of the fascinating things about the laws of the manna is that they were self-enforcing laws. You couldn't undo them if you tried. What happened if you collected on Saturday? Would there be anything there? Nothing there. What happens if you tried to leave manna over for tomorrow? What would happen? It would rot. What would happen if you tried to collect more than an omer for everyone? You come back and it was just an omer. What if you collected less? You would come back and it was just an omer.
What is this? it's crazy. These are self-enforcing laws. You never have self-enforcing laws. You know why? These are training-wheel laws. God is actually training you in law. God is saying I get you guys, you're traumatized with law, it's the worst. So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to give you just a couple of laws, you're going to see they're good for you. They give you rest, they provide security, they take care of you, but they're laws.
They come from a King. You're collecting in the fields, so you're traumatized. You're going to be really nervous. But relax. Just do your best. See if you can keep them. They're just training laws. You can't even break them if you tried.
So God is saying I'm testing you, I'm getting you used to laws. Why? Because where are you going? You're going to Sinai. At Sinai I've got to give you laws, but before you get there, you need to understand that the laws are good. So you're going to learn that the laws are good through this.
Here's the thing. What is Israel at this point? We're just born. We're literally the just-born nation. I talked to you a long time before about the Passover offering having birth imagery. It's as if the nation is being born. Can you imagine a just-born nation? What's the challenge of a just-born nation?
How does a just-born child come to experience the world? Through what? How do they experience the world? How do they begin to learn about the world? Through which sense? Their mouth.
A child begins to learn about the world through your mouth. Go back to Freud. It's the oral phase. A child is going to take everything and discover it and is going to put it in its mouth. That's how it's going to learn. In the very first teaching of a child is nursing, there's someone who is taking care of me, I learned about it through my mouth. I learn about everything through my mouth.
So God says okay, I get you guys. You're going to learn about everything through your mouth. So what do I do? First, I give you water. When I'm done giving you water, it's time for some solid food. So what's your introduction to solid food? Manna, from heaven.
By the way, you see this language later on in Haazinu, when there's language of God creating the people and then this language of "vayanikeihu dvash miselah," literally that God was nursing us by giving us His water that tasted as sweet as honey that was coming from the rock. It's like the rock was the breast and God was taking care of us.
Then "vayechal tnuvot sadai," and I fed you produce from My fields. Where were God's fields? In the heavens. Strawberry fields in heaven. That's what it was. God was giving you this manna and it was coming from heavens and He was taking care of you and you were learning about it through your mouth.
But the whole point of it was so that you could start to understand that God is a different kind of God and His laws are different kinds of laws, so you'd be able to accept decrees and laws that are just. God says I'm also going to give you a decree. Decrees are going to be between you and the King, just like you had decrees back there. There are going to be laws between people and people, but they're going to be good laws.
How are you going to understand that? So God says, "vayancha vayarivecha vaya'achilcha et haman," so I made you hungry and I fed you manna. "Asher lo yadata v'lo yadun avotecha," you didn't even know what it was, "lema'an hodi'acha," to teach you something.
"Ki lo al halechem levado yichyeh ha'adam," it's not on bread alone that man lives, "ki al kol motza fi Hashem yichyeh ha'adam."
I want to suggest something speculative to you. "Ki al kol motza fi Hashem yichyeh ha'adam" is a strange expression. Everything that comes out of the mouth of God, man lives. Now one second. If I was talking about manna, I wouldn't describe it as coming out of the mouth of God. It comes out of the fields of God. It doesn't come out of the mouth of God. What does it mean that everything comes out of the mouth of God? That you understood when you ate the manna that everything that comes out of the mouth of God, a man can live on.
Here's my speculative -- I agree this is speculative, but I think it's probably true, the understanding of it.
Manna was bread. It's called bread. God says I fed you bread from heaven. Now, you would think manna is not bread. It's manna. It's like a fruit or something. It's not bread. Why is it bread? Bread conforms to a certain thing. Bread means that -- the definition of bread is the grain. You grind up the grain and you mix it with something called water, then you put it in a oven and you bake it. That's bread.
God says no, I'm telling you manna is bread, it's just bread from heaven. If we take that algebra, we then say okay, that means the manna was actually manufactured. It just was manufactured in heaven. But it's got the same ingredients as bread, which is it's got some sort of grain and that gets mixed with something and it gets baked in heaven and it's bread.
Now, we know where the grain came from. Where did the grain come from? The grain came from God's fields. The same fields that made the sapphire bricks. That was the other half of the straw, but the kernels from the sapphire bricks, that's the stuff that goes into the manna. But then you had to mix it with something.
Now, you mix regular bread with water, but in heaven you have to mix that grain with something. What did you mix it with? So our Sages tell us something about water. There's the spiritual equivalent of water, which is the Hebrew Bible, laws.
What if the way God created the manna was by taking His grain and mix it with the laws? You know how those -- and ask yourself, how come there are three laws that are self-enforcing laws with manna? No other laws in the Hebrew Bible are self-enforcing. But these laws are self-enforcing. You can't break them if you tried. The manna won't let you break it. it's going to rot in the morning, it's not going to be in there on Saturday.
The laws are baked into the bread. Do you understand? The laws are a part of the bread. That's the point. Now, where do laws come from? They come from the mouth of God. God says the laws. God baked those laws in the manna. They were literally baked into it together with the bread of heaven. Hence, when you ate the manna, what were you eating? Laws. Your first experience with law was literally experiencing them with your mouth, tasting them with your mouth. Like an infant.
What was God teaching you? You know how back in the boys' school, they used to teach the kids -- when they taught them Alef Bet, and they put the honey on the -- because I want to teach you that it's sweet. You need to understand that things are sweet. That's literally what God did.
God says you know how sweet my laws are? I'm going to bake it into the bread so that you can't even break them if you try and I'm going to feed it to you and you're going to see it nourishes you and you're going to see, you're going to be able to swallow the laws and literally it's going to help you grow.
Once you experience that, so then of course you understand that My laws are good. Then you can come to Sinai. Then you can have that sort of experience. I've said enough.
I think that's where we can come back, where we can give God our bread and say we can reciprocate. We've understood what we needed to understand from You feeding us and now we can reciprocate with things and we can feed You.
I think this is what Shavuot is about and why the counting of the Omer leads us to Shavuot. Which is that if Shavuot is the law-giving time, you can't just accept law. You have to understand something about law. You have to understand there needs to be a basic kind of security that you understand about law. What God is telling us is I'll give you that kind of security.
Let me just leave you off with something for next time, because I think I want to continue this just a little bit next week. If you continue in Deuteronomy over here, God says "v'shamarta et mitzvot Hashem Elokecha lalechet bidrachav u'l'yirah oto," you have to keep these commands of God, the commands that start with the manna and go further.
Why? Here's why. Here's why it's so important. "Ki Hashem Elokecha mevi'acha el eretz tovah," God is bringing you to a land, a good land, a land with water, "eretz nachalei mayim," land where there's water all over the place, "tehomot yotzim babikah u'vahar," there are wells everywhere coming out of the mountains, there are wells. So there's water.
How else do you make bread? What else do you need besides water? You need wheat. Look at the next word. "Eretz chitah u'se'orah," there's wheat. You're going to be able to make bread in the land. "Eretz chitah u'se'orah v'gefen u'te'einah v'rimon eretz zayit shemen u'devash," the land of abundance.
Now, "eretz asher lo b'miskanut tochal bah lechem," it is a land therefore in which bread will not be scarce, because you have all the water you need and you have all the wheat you need. So it's a land in which bread will not be scarce.
Now here's the issue. Stop for a moment and ask yourself, what would be -- here is what God is saying -- what would be if there was no manna and our only experience of law and kings was that we were slaves to Pharaoh, and all we remember of laws and all we remember from our lateral experience was 400 years of fighting each other with Pharaoh's laws and hoarding that straw, because straw was a scarce resource.
If now, after 400 years of that, without any transition, you would come into the land and you would be granted a land with abundance where there's bread all over the place, what would happen? What would people do? What would you do with all that bounty? You're hoarding it. You would hoard, because you would say I don't know that it's going to be okay. I don't know it's going to be okay.
God says this is My issue. The reason why I need you guys to keep my laws is because if you don't, you are going into a land of abundance. What are you going to do? What kind of society are you going to create in your land of abundance? "Eretz asher lo b'miskanut tochal bah lechem," you know your problem? You're going to remember the word "miskanut" and it's going to traumatize you. A land not in scarcity "tochal bah lechem." If you're a slave, what does "miskanut" remind you of?
Audience Member: Matkonet.
Rabbi Fohrman: Matkonet possibly. Matkonet probably is based upon that. But "vayiven arei miskenot l'Paro," the storehouses. Cities. What were we building? We were building storehouses whose whole purpose was to hoard grain for the Egyptians. It was all about hoarding, so you're not going to be able to get that out of your head.
When you go into a land, "asher lo b'miskenut tochal bah lechem," you're never going to be able to stop thinking about the storehouses that you were building, how you had to hoard, and how everybody hoarded. You're going to say if there's plenty, I can't trust. Therefore, I have to hoard.
The question is this. How do you cultivate trust? Because the only way you're not going to be a hoarder is if you can actually trust that it's going to be okay, and that if you have a winter where things are a little harder or spring where there's not enough grain, you're going to have trust that next year it's going to be better. How are you going to cultivate that trust and not just become a nation of hoarders?
The answer is that is what you need to remember in the counting of the Omer. The counting of the Omer. Count the Omer for 49 days. What am I doing when I'm counting? I'm remembering the manna. I'm counting in time "sheva shabatot temimot."
Why is the counting of the Omer such a big deal? You're not supposed to miss a day. You have to count every single day for 49 days in the counting of the Omer. What am I counting? I take all of those things in space and I transmute them into time and I say that the satiation becomes seven weeks.
Which is to say, how long was I satiated for? You see, it's not enough if you're traumatized by evil Pharaoh to have God come like a flash in the pan and be nice to you. Because if God is nice to you once, that doesn't mean anything to you. That's random. What do you have to show? You have to show that God is dependable.
Every single day the manna was there, every single day for 49 days. You have to count them, you have to take that thing you experience in space and remember to experience it in time also, every single day. And at some point, you say to yourself, I think there's going to be manna tomorrow and I don't really have to go and try to hoard. It's actually going to be there.
And then God does one little game with you. He says guess what's going to happen every sixth day? There's not going to be manna the next day. What are you going to do about that? Are you going to get all scared? Are you going to go hoarding? Guess what. There is going to be double the time before, but there's not going to be the next day.
What is God getting you used to? He's getting you used to the idea that when you go into the land, what happens if there's a winter where things don't go as well? What happens if there's going to be a Sabbatical? Can you not hoard then? Yes, because you understand that you'll get it back the next year. You'll get it back then. So God is telling you, I'm a good guy, I literally take care of you. There's manna and then there's coming into the land. So God says this is what I'm doing for you so that you can understand that you can trust Me. It's the evolution of trust.
So when we come back, we'll talk about this further. Thank you very much.