In Exodus, God instructs Moses to place one “omer” of manna in a jar “for your generations”. This jar of manna was placed before the Tabernacle for the next 40 years until the Israelites arrived at Canaan. An omer is a volume unit for grains, and the writer of Exodus explains that it is one tenth of an ephah. An ephah was defined as being 72 “logs”, and a log was equal to the Sumerian “mina” which is one sixtieth of a “maris”. The latter is the quantity of water equal in weight to a light royal talent; i.e., about the size of an average amphora or jar (around 30.3 liters). This makes the omer equal to about 3.64 liters. The omer does not fit well with the remainder of the ancient Jewish measuring system, as it constitutes 0.32 se’ah. A se’ah contained a volume which could be filled with 144 eggs. A mikvah, which is a ritual bath used for ritual cleansing after an impure incident contained 40 se’ah so that all parts of a person was covered. We should be grateful in our local Homeland’s produce section that we are not shopping in ancient Israel.
~Dr. Gil Haas