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Q & A: A Sefirah Dilemma (Part II)


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Rabbi Alpert answers that while the requirement proper – the chiyuv – is not applicable, the performance of the commandment, that is, the kiyum ha’mitzvah, remains. Since we do not exclude a minor from the performance of mitzvot, we allow him to fulfill his father’s obligation if the need arises.

He concludes with the argument that since a father is required to educate his son in the performance of all relevant mitzvot – which obviously include sefirat ha’omer – he can hardly do so with the knowledge that his son will be required to halt counting in the middle. Thus, we are faced with two choices: not to allow a boy who will reach the age of bar mitzvah during sefirat ha’omer to count at all, or to conclude that our Sages ordained that he continue to count with a blessing for the purpose of chinuch. This option would reflect the reasoning of Rabbi Ben Zion Abba Shaul cited previously – namely, that we should not weaken the mitzvah of chinuch.

The numerous reasons mentioned above seem to indicate that it would be correct for a boy who becomes bar mitzvah in the middle of sefirat ha’omer to continue counting with a berachah.

(See also Piskei Teshuva [20], quoting the Shevet HaLevi, who ruled in a particular case that we rely on the fact that each day is considered a separate mitzvah.)

(To be continued)

About the Author: Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.


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Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

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Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

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Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

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Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

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