Shalom! Welcome to the first anniversary issue of Sarah's Tent! It's hard to believe that it has been a whole year. In honor of a year on the Internet I have given the website a new look. Right now you are probably in high gear preparing for Passover. If you haven't done so, I invite you to visit the Spring 2006 issue and the Updates for Passover 2007 for information on Passover, including a free Messianic Haggadah written by Bonnie Wills, information on how to prepare, recipes, and links leading to all kinds of activities for your children.
This issue we are dealing primarily with Counting the Omer. This daily count is commanded in Scripture (Leviticus 23:15) and culminates with the Feast of Shavuot. I sincerely wish you all a blessed Passover, and may YHWH bless you as He leads you to Shavuot.
Counting the Days
Counting the Days
The week of Unleavened Bread also contains another feast. It is called Early First fruits, and is kept the day following the Sabbath after Passover. Fifty days later comes the Latter First Fruits, also called Shavuot. (Pentecost). The day of First Fruits is also called Yom HaBikkurim, (the promise to come). Some people do not actually consider Early First Fruits an actual feast day. It is not a Sabbath, (meaning it is a regular work day), but it carries great significance. As with all of the Feasts of Yahweh, they teach us about Messiah. The Spring feasts show us His work when He walked the earth. This includes First Fruits, which teaches us of Yeshua's resurrection.
But now Messiah has been raised from the dead. He became the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since death came by man, the resurrection of the dead also came by man.1 Corinthians 15:20-21
We are commanded to count the days between First Fruits and Shavuot:
You shall count from the next day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be completed: even to the next day after the seventh Sabbath you shall number fifty days; and you shall offer a new meal offering to Yahweh. Leviticus 23:15-16
This is called counting the omer or Sefirat Omer
In the above verse, (Leviticus 23:15) we are commanded to begin counting the omer the day after the weekly Sabbath during the week of Unleavened Bread.
There are two methods of counting the omer.
1. The day of First Fruits and the first day of counting the omer begin after the sun has set on the first weekly Sabbath, (Saturday evening) after Passover. For instance, if Passover were on a Tuesday, then First Fruits and the first day of counting the omer would occur on Saturday evening after the sun has set. (In the Bible the day begins after the sun has set.) Shavuot does not have a fixed date, but rather occurs on the 50th day of the counting.
2. The second method is using a different interpretation of Leviticus 23:15-16. Proponents of this method say the Scriptures are referring to the first day of Unleavened Bread as the Sabbath, therefore the counting of the omer would begin the day after that day. For instance, if the first day of unleavened bread was a Wednesday, then counting would begin Wednesday evening after the sunset.
The controversy of how to count the omer has been going on for over 2,000 years, and so I do not think that this is an issue that will have a speedy conclusion. It certainly won't be settled in this article. Yeshua will indeed teach us all things when He returns, and this "controversy" will no longer exist. In the mean time, let us examine Scripture thoroughly and prayerfully, and make a decision, being "fully convinced" (Romans 14:4-5), and not judge each other over these different opinions. My interpretation is that right now it is more important that in our hearts we desire to keep these Feasts as best as we can.
There are two messianic links that examine this topic with different opinions which you may consult:
In the book of Acts, Yeshua tells the talmidim, (disciples) to wait there in Jerusalem.
Being assembled together with them, he charged them, "Don't depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which you heard from me. For John indeed baptized in water, but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days from now." Acts 1: 4-5
Yeshua was resurrected on First Fruits and the Ruach Hakodesh (Holy Spirit) was given 50 days after the resurrection to dwell in our hearts.
During this time of counting we should spiritually prepare ourselves for the Feast of Shavuot by faithfully counting the omer, praying at the appointed times, (see the article On His Mind, Part 1 in the Summer 2006 issue), and meditating on His word. Consider contemplating Psalm 119 during this time. Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in Scripture. It is made up of 22 stanzas, each stanza is named after a letter in the Hebrew Aleph-Bet. The subject of this Psalm is the Torah. It was on Shavuot that the Torah was given at the Mt Horeb. In our home we read a stanza of Psalm 119 together after we have counted the omer for the day.
How to count
Each evening after the sun has set is a new day. At this time we would pray: Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe who has sanctified us with His commandments, commanding us to count the omer." This is followed by the count for the day and week. (Deuteronomy 16:9) For example: "Today is the tenth day which is one week and three days of counting the omer."
Below is pdf file to aid you in counting. Just click on the "Omer pdf" below to open the file. You may save the file to your computer and print as many copies as you need. Also included are the Psalm 119 readings for each day. As we count the days to Shavuot let us especially reflect on how we may better serve Yahweh as talmidot shel Yeshua (disciples of Yeshua) and be a blessing to our husbands and children.
You will find materials in the Children's Corner that you can download that will help your children to count along with you.
Spring has finally arrived, which means a busy time of year!
In this issue, I would like to share some Sephardic recipes. "Sephardic/Sephardim" is a term used to describe descendants of those subject to expulsion from Spain and Portugal (Iberian Peninsula) by order of the Catholic Monarchy. The name comes from Sepharad, which is a Biblical location. For references in the Bible, do a word search on "Sepharad" or "Tarshish". :)
Here are some Sephardic recipes to enjoy!
CHAKCHOUKA: (Moroccan Jewish salad)
8 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks 1 slivered garlic clove 1/4 cup olive oil 4 green bell peppers 1 small green chili (optional) 1 tablespoon sweet paprika 1 tablespoon minced parsley 1 preserved lemon (optional), cubed or julienned
1. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat and cook tomatoes and garlic in it, stirring frequently, for 15-20 minutes, until oil separates from tomatoes.
2. Roast and peel the peppers and chili. Dice them. Add them to tomatoes, along with the paprika.
3. Sprinkle with parsley (and preserved lemon).
Serve at room temperature with bread for scooping.
SPINACH FRITATA: (Fritata de Epinaca) 3 eggs 5 sheet matzos 1 box cottage cheese 1 cup sharp cheese 1 box of frozen spinach (chopped) or 2 cups fresh spinach
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wet matzos and crumble. Mix all of the ingredients together. Place in glass baking dish. Top with grated parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Traditionally for breakfast but tastes great anytime.
Pour hot water over farfel, soak and drain. Use fruit juice instead of water if desired. Beat egg yolks and seasoning. Add margarine to farfel. Fold in all ingredients, egg whites last. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Place into greased 9" x 13" pan. Bake at 350 degrees (F) for 45 minutes.
SAQU (Sephardic Eggplant and Meat Casserole)
2 medium eggplants (about 1 1/2 lb. each) peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2 inch thick. About 2 tbs. Kosher salt. Olive or vegetable oil for frying
Meat filling: 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup) 3 tbs. olive or vegetable oil 1 clove garlic, minced 1 lb. ground beef or lamb 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley About 1 tsp. salt ground black pepper to taste
Place the eggplant in a colander. Sprinkle with the Kosher salt and let stand for 1 hour. Rinse the the eggplant slices with water and press between several layers of paper towels until it feels firm. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13" x 9" baking dish. Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. In batches, lightly brown the eggplant sliceson both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set aside. To make the meat filling, heat the3 tbs.of oil .Place the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the meat and cook, stirring frequently until the meat loses its red color, about 5 minutes. Drain off the excess fat. Remove from the heat and stir in the eggs, parsely, salt and pepper. Arrange alternate layers of the eggplant and meat in the prepared dish., beginning and ending with the eggplant. Bake until golden brown and heated through about 45 minutes. Let the casserole stand for10 minutes before slicing.
Enjoy! Until next time.....
To encourage and aid your children in counting the omer we have created the following files in pdf format below. Instructions: Print out omer 1 and omer 2. These are circles with numbers inside to represent each day of couting. Also print out the file Omer 3. You will need 2 copies. For each day of omer counting cut out a sheaf, and have your children paste or tape it on to the corresponding number day on the omer sheets.
I pray that you all receive a special blessing this season of deliverance and as you count the omer, may you draw closer to our Father and King.
Listen to me, you who follow after righteousness, you who seek Yahweh: look to the rock whence you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence you were dug. Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah who bore you; for when he was but one I called him, and I blessed him, and made him many.