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Every male was commanded to be at the temple for a week starting on Nisan 15. (Deuteronomy 16:16)

On Nisan 16 freshly gathered sheaves of the First-fruits of the barley harvest were brought to the priest for the wave offering. (Leviticus 23:5-12)

Since the harvest officially began when all male Israelites were attending the Festival of Unfermented Cakes, who harvested the firstfruits of the barley that were brought to the sanctuary?

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    Surely they weren't all literally inside the temple building the whole week day and night
    – Double AA
    Jan 18, 2021 at 14:11
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  • @JoelK that is an excellent resource, thanks
    – Kris
    Jan 18, 2021 at 14:21
  • @DoubleAA the problem comes in the fact that not all barley ripened at the same time and that it had to be harvested for this festival on the 16th. Some distance could be involved in getting to a barley crop that was ripe and then transported to the temple.......
    – Kris
    Jan 18, 2021 at 14:25

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The procedure for bringing the Omer is beautifully described in the Mishna in Menachot 10:3 and 4.

After nightfall, on the eve of the 16th of Nissan the harvesting of the Omer would be done with great fanfare, with as many people as possible attending, after which the first harvest was brought to the Temple courtyard and prepared for the Omer sacrifice.

So, if everybody was in Jerusalem, as they were supposed to be, then at nightfall (after Yom Tov was over) a lot of people would travel to the chosen place to attend the harvesting ceremonies.

Note, however, that not all males were obligated to be on the Temple for that week. Exemptions included those who didn't own land and those who were physically incapable of climbing up to Jerusalem, including the elderly, the ill, cripples and the blind. (As described in the first Mishna in Chagiga.)

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  • It is apparent that this was a communal offering and that a delegate or delegates of the rabbinical court did the actual harvesting of the barley for the heave offering. Perhaps adding that in the text of your answer would complete it.
    – Kris
    Jan 19, 2021 at 14:47

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