web analytics
November 29, 2014 / 7 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Q & A: A Sefirah Dilemma (Part III)


QuestionsandAnswers-logo

Question: As the shamash in a small community shul with an aging population, I am faced with numerous challenges. The following is only one of them. During sefirah, different people daven for the amud for Ma’ariv. Once, a bar mitzvah was one of them. On another occasion, a very recent ger lead the service. Were these individuals allowed to lead the congregation in counting sefirah? I also wonder, in general, if everyone should be trusted to lead the counting. What if someone forgot to count on one of the previous nights but does not inform anyone of this?

No Name
(Via E-Mail)

Answer: We reviewed the mitzvah of sefirat ha’omer (Vayikra 23:15). The Talmud (Menachot 66a) tells us to start counting the omer at night so that a full 49 days are counted. If someone misses even one day, he has not fulfilled the essence of the mitzvah. If one forgot to recite the blessing, he should count on subsequent days without a blessing.

We cited many poskim who rule that a minor who becomes bar mitzvah during sefirat ha’omer should count with a blessing provided he has done so from the beginning of sefirah. Although he was not obligated to count with a blessing before he became bar mitzvah, he probably did so for chinuch purposes. Other poskim disagree and rule that a minor should not count with a blessing if he attains maturity in the middle of sefirah because his counting before bar mitzvah is considered different from his present counting as an adult, which is biblically mandated. Still others rule that even if a bar mitzvah boy had not counted the omer while a minor, he can start counting with a blessing upon reaching maturity. They reason that the obligation to count applies only from the day the boy becomes bar mitzvah.

We follow the first opinion – that a bar mitzvah may count with a blessing if he has not missed a single day of counting while still a minor. The Piskei Teshuvot adds that such a young man should not serve as a congregation’s representative to count on behalf of other adults. In his view, counting the omer is a biblical obligation for an adult, whereas the obligation of a boy who became bar mitzvah in the middle of sefirah might only be rabbinic according to some poskim.

Last week, we discussed whether someone who missed counting the omer on a single day has completely missed out on the mitzvah. Perhaps the counting involves 49 separate mitzvot, in which case one can continue to count even after missing a day. This latter opinion is supported by the fact that we recite a blessing for sefirat ha’omer each day.

A father is required to educate his son so that he will perform all relevant mitzvot, including sefirat ha’omer. He can hardly do so with the knowledge that his son will be required to halt counting in the middle. We concluded that our sages permit a bar mitzvah boy to continue counting with a blessing for the purpose of chinuch.

* * * * *

The case of a ger who converts in the middle of sefirah presents a greater difficulty. In some respects he is similar to a boy who becomes bar mitzvah during the same time period. Just like a pre-bar mitzvah boy, someone preparing for geirus must count sefirah from day one for purposes of “chinuch.”

The Torah Temimah on Leviticus 23:15 states: “In the view of the [majority view of the] poskim, both a young man who has become bar mitzvah and a ger should count [the omer], but without a blessing, because they have not been able to fulfill the ‘sheva shabbatot temimot’ requirement.”

The Torah Temimah suggests, however, that perhaps the days the boy counted before his bar mitzvah should combine with the days he counts afterward to constitute “sheva shabbatot temimot.” If so, he would be able to say a berachah. The Torah Temimah offers proof to substantiate this suggestion which would apply equally to a ger who converts during sefirah. Tractate Yebamot (62a) teaches, “If [one] had children as a gentile and subsequently converted, he is not obligated [anymore] to fulfill the mitzvah of peru u’revu (‘be fruitful and multiply’).” Thus, we see that one’s actions before one becomes a full Jew, obligated in all mitzvot, are relevant after one reaches that status.

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.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Q & A: A Sefirah Dilemma (Part III)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry .
NYT Ignores US Condemnation of PA Incitement, Prints Info on Ferguson Cop
Latest Judaism Stories
Parsha-Perspectives-NEW

A person who truly feels that everything is a blessing from G-d will count his blessings and realize just how much he has.

The Story of Jacob and Esau (2010) 11 x 19, bronze relief by Lynda Caspe. Courtesy Derfner Judaica Museum – Hebrew Home at Riverdale

Yaacov returns the stolen blessing of material wealth and physical might to Esav

Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

The Jew, from the perspective of the name Yaakov, is dependent on the non-Jewish world. This can be seen today in the relationship between the State of Israel and the United States

Lessons-Emunah-logo

Yet, ultimately, looking back, these “setbacks” turned out to be really for the patient’s best – for the good.

In the afternoon, he reached into his pocket to check for the money, but it was empty. “The $50 bill must have fallen out,” Alex exclaimed. “It’s got to be in one of the rooms I was just at.”

Although the conversion ceremony involves more than circumcision and immersion, these are the two essential requirements, without which the conversion is ineffective.

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Rashi in Shabbos 9b writes that the reason why the tefillah of Ma’ariv is a reshus is because it was instituted corresponding to the burning of the eimurim from the korbanos – which was performed at night.

It almost sounds as if Hashem is saying, “I have to keep Yaakov from getting too comfortable; otherwise he will forget Me. I can’t promise him sustenance because then he won’t need Me. He won’t write. He won’t call. He won’t love Me anymore.”

The Decree Of 1587
“Two Kabs Of Dinars Were Given…To King Yanai”
(Yevamos 61a)

Simply too many cases of prayers being answered to deny it makes a difference to our fate. It does.

Prayer is our language: Hakol kol Yaakov – the voice is the voice of Jacob – the voice of prayer.

Jacob cries, overcome by the knowledge that his great love for Rachel will end in unbearable pain.

There’s a perfect mirror between Jacob running away from Esav to when he reunites with his brother.

Yitzhak called you Esav and you answered him, then he called you Yaakov and you also answered him!”

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
QuestionsandAnswers-logo

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-a-sefirah-dilemma-part-iii/2013/05/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: