Omer and Providence
Our parsha contains the verse about bringing the korbon haomer over Pesach. This is why what we are doing when we count sefiras haomer from the bringing of the omer (2nd day of Pesach) until the shtei halechem of Shavuos.
There is an interesting Midrash (Vayikrah Rabbah 28:3) that says, “Rav Berachya states: Hashem said to Moshe, ‘go tell the Jews: When I gave you the manna, I sent down one omer measurement for each person, but when you offer me the omer sacrifice, you give me one omer total. Furthermore, I don’t ask for wheat, only barley. Thus, Moshe reminded the Jews to be very scrupulous with this mitzvah.’ What does this mean and what is the connection between the omer and the manna?
The Maharal explains (Ohr Chadash) that the omer represents Hashem’s providence and running of the natural world. When we bring the sacrifice it is not commemorating any miracles, rather, it is simply our donation of our produce. We work the fields and can easily make the mistake of taking credit for our hard work and seeing our efforts as the cause of our success. The mitzvah of the omer pays homage to Hashem, the One Who controls teva, nature, and we thank Him for providing us with bounty. We acknowledge that our fields growing, although a “natural occurrence” is really all from Him.
Thus, as we celebrate Pesach, we recognize how Hashem controls the world in a miraculous way, but as we bring the omer and work towards Shavuos, we recognize that Hashem controls the natural world as well, in a guise of teva.
Thus, just as when Hashem gave us the manna, it was clear to all that He was miraculously feeding us, all that He asks back is that we bring the omer offering, however small, to give credit and to recognize that our Loving Father, Hashem, is really taking care of every aspect of our life. This recognition, is what the Ramban calls, “the goal and most important aspect of the entire Torah.” This is what we are counting to as we count the omer. We deeply implant in our minds and hearts the knowledge that Hashem runs the world, in both miraculous and “natural” ways and His Will reigns supreme. We thus fill our hearts with appreciation for all that He does for us and rededicate ourselves to accept His holy Torah at this time.