The Sefira (Counting of the Omer) expresses a process that transitions from the (Omer sacrifice) to the
Shtei HaLachem(the Two Showbreads). Its essence can be understood in the context of the debate with the Baytussim (heretic sect of the time of the Second Beit HaMikdash). They counted Sefirafrom the day after Shabbat and not the day after Pesach. In doing so they disconnected the counting from the Exodus from Egypt and linked it to Shabbat. For them the ascent to Matan Torah is disconnected from the physical dimension. They begin to count on Shabbat Bereishit which has eternal sanctity and not on the festival that celebrates our physical redemption. Our understanding is that there is an inextricable link between the physical and spiritual redemption.
For in the cloud I will appear on the kaporet.” According to the Tzaddukim (Saducees) the cohen produced the cloud of the spices before entering the Holy of Holies. In contrast, the Perushim rule that the cloud of the incense was only made inside the Holy of Holies. The kaporet is the partition that separates between us and the Shechina/Divine Presence. The dispute between them is whether it is possible to create a connection between physical man and G-d and the spiritual world, be it only for a moment. “Face to face G-d spoke…” is talking about the creation of a bond with Divine revelation in the world, with the Shechina. (If so, why do we make the cloud of incense at all? First of all, it is impossible to create a complete union. Secondly, a gap was created as a result of the sin of the Golden Calf.)
Is there only a Written Law or is there also an Oral Law? The Oral Law expresses the fact that the Jewish people is a partner in the revelation of Torah in the world. If not that the Jewish nation would reveal G-d’s Torah in the world there would be no Torah. This ability creates a bond between G-d and man. For the Baytussim and Tzadukim there is no Oral Law – Man is but a commanded being and not in any way a “creator”. Their ideology lead to Christianity – a religion that elevated the Divine Being, yet, disconnected Him from the world. As such, it brought shame to Him and made room for base physical desires to find expression. In sharp contrast Sefirat HaOmer represents the process of ascent from the physical to a spiritual world.
The major differences between the Omer and the Two Showbreads are: 1) barley versus wheat; 2) not processed versus processed; 3) matza versus chametz.
1) Barley is fodder for an animal that has an inability to live for anything beyond itself. It exists in the present by virtue of its instincts. It is incapable of aspiring to anything greater than itself. In contrast, wheat represents formation of a relationship and the acquisition of knowledge: the Tree of Knowledge was wheat (according to one opinion). A proof: a child is not capable of calling aba or ima until it has eaten grain. The Tree of Knowledge represents the ability to bond with one’s mother and father. Therefore the transformation from the animalistic condition to the supreme human one is Matan Torah.
2) Barley represents the world as it is. A person can utilize everything in the world. The Two Showbreads required processing in order to become bread. They symbolize the ability of a human being to improve the world. By virtue of the mitzva to bring the new produce to the Beit HaMikdash we raise our existence to a higher plateau and bring G-d into our world. G-d said to Avraham, “ I am the Almighty, walk before me and be complete.” (The name Sha-dai represents the G-d who said to His world enough. This means that G-d did not create the world already perfect, but left space for humanity to do so.) This statement was said to Avraham as an introduction to brit mila. Brit mila makes it possible for man to connect with G-d. The eighth day man “creates”. The festival of Shavuot is not just about the giving of the Torah. It is also about the receiving of the Torah – the human contribution to the Divine process.
3) In general we do not bring any sacrifice made of chametz to the Beit HaMikdash, “ . For no yeast… shall be offered as a fire offering to G-d.” The only two exceptions are the Two Showbreads and the Korban Todah- thanksgiving offering. On Pesach we celebrate the uniqueness of the matza –for the dough of our forefathers did not have a chance to become chametz until the Holy One Blessed Be He appeared to them and redeemed them.Matza symbolizes the haste of the Exodus from Egypt. Man is master of Nature and time and he may exploit them to the fullest extent possible – one should not miss an opportunity. If so, why do we return to eatingchametz? One cannot compare chametz that comes before matza to the chametz that comes after matza! Once a person is in control of his faculties and persona he is only then capable of taking advantage of all that Nature truly has to offer. Therefore a person brings two breads and, in parallel, there are two tablets of the covenant. A person is capable of seeing in the physical world of the two breads the spiritual dimension of the world.
The Omer permits the new grain. The Two Showbreads permit the grain to be used in the Beit HaMikdash. The Omer makes it possible for a man to eat. The Two Show breads elevate his spirit. These two processes go hand in hand. A person can reach the level of spiritual domination. Every year by Sefirat HaOmer each one of us can experience anew our connection to G-d.