web analytics
September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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
Israeli soldiers and security personnel protect Jews in Silwan Valley.
Jews Enter Six More Buildings in Silwan Secretly Bought from Arabs
Latest Judaism Stories

On Sunday, Jews will be refraining from food and drink from dawn until sunset to commemorate the Fast of Gedaliah. Following Nebuchadnetzar’s destruction of the First Temple and exile of most of the Jews, the Babylonians appointed Gedaliah ben Achikaam as governor of Judea. Under Gedaliah’s leadership, Judea and the survivors began to recover. On […]

On the beach

As we enter the Days of Awe, we must recognize that it is a joy to honor and serve true royalty.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

On Rosh Hashanah we are taught that true self-analysis involves the breaking down of walls

PTI-092614-Shofar

When we hear the words “Rosh Hashana is coming” it really means Hashem Himself is coming!

Who am I? What are the most important things in my life? What do I want to be remembered for? If, as a purely hypothetical exercise, I were to imagine reading my own obituary, what would I want it to say? These are the questions Rosh Hashanah urges us to ask ourselves. As we pray […]

We recently marked the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 – that terrible day when the symbols of man’s power and achievement crumbled before our eyes and disappeared in fire and smoke. For a very brief moment we lost our smugness. Our confidence was shaken. Many of us actually searched our ways. Some of us even learned […]

Why am I getting so agitated? And look how we’re treating each other!

While women are exempt from actually learning Torah, they are obligated in a different aspect of the mitzvah.

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?

Name Withheld

We must eat, sleep, work, and care for our dependants. How much time is left over after all that?

Once we recognize that our separation from God is our fault, how do we repair it?

Chatzitzah And Its Applications
‘Greater Stringency Applies To Hallowed Things…’
(Chagiga 20b-21a)

To choose life, you must examine your actions in the period preceding the Days of Awe as an unbiased stranger, and render your decision.

Rabbi Dayan took a challah and some cooked eggs. He then called over his 15-year-old son, Aharon. “Could you please ask your friend Chaim from next door to come over and help me with the eruv tavshilin?”

This world has its purpose; it has been ideally fashioned to allow man to grow.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
Questions-Answers-logo

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?

Name Withheld

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?

Name Withheld

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?

Name Withheld

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?

Name Withheld

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: