web analytics
May 22, 2015 / 4 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Q & A: Sefirat HaOmer – When To Start Counting (Part III)

Questions-Answers-logo

Question: Why do we start counting sefirat ha’omer in chutz la’aretz on the second night of Pesach when the omer in the times of the Beit Hamikdash was cut on Chol HaMoed?

M. Goldman
(Via E-Mail)

Summary of our response up to this point: The Kesef Mishneh essentially asks your question. Since the cutting of the omer is a weekday activity, how can we start counting sefirah – which commemorates the omer – on a holiday? Aren’t we thereby demeaning the holiday? It is because of this very logic that we do not say “leishev basukkah” on Shemini Atzeret. If we did, we would be demeaning the day by implying that it is not Shemini Ateret but rather Chol HaMoed Sukkot.

The Kesef Mishneh explains, however, that there is a difference between the two cases. On Shemini Atzeret we would be contradicting ourselves if in the very same Kiddush we said both “yom Shemini Atzeret hachag hazeh” and “leishev basukkah” (since leishev basukkah implies that the day is really Sukkot, not Shemini Atzeret). There is no similar problem in regards to counting the omer.

Furthermore, we have a set calendar today. Therefore, we know that the second evening of Pesach is the 16th of Nissan, and it is on the 16th of Nissan that the Torah commands us to start counting sefirah.

But this still leaves us with a problem: After we have sanctified the day (Yom Tov Sheni) in the Ma’ariv Amidah and Kiddush, how can we make it mundane (chol) by counting the omer?

* * * * *             We find in Shibbolei HaLeket Hashalem (chap. 234) that the early halachist Rabbenu Yeshaya addresses our question. He notes that since sefirat ha’omer is a mitzvah min HaTorah, its fulfillment does not result in making the day chol. Had it been a mitzvah d’rabbanan, however, its fulfillment would indeed create a chol situation.

Rav Tzidkiya b. Abraham HaRofei, the author of Shibbolei HaLeket, challenges this answer by quoting his brother, Rav Binyamin: “On the contrary, since the mitzvah of sefirat ha’omer is biblical, it supersedes the status of the second day of the holiday, which is only rabbinic.”

Rabbenu Yeshaya perhaps means that since sefirah is a biblical mitzvah, generated by the biblical calendar, a person counting sefirah is not creating anything chol; rather, the Torah’s commandment creates the chol. However, when it is a rabbinical mitzvah, the onus is on the person since he should not perform a mitzvah that causes a diminution in the sanctity of the holiday.

In any event, we are left with no answer to our question. Shibbolei HaLeket concludes that we must simply answer that unless we start counting sefirah from the second night of Pesach we won’t be able to perform the mitzvah of counting for the biblically-mandated “seven complete weeks.” Shibbolei HaLeket does not find counting on the second night of Pesach to be a diminution of the sanctity of Yom Tov, as the phrasing of the sefirah blessing is the same each night – whether the night is kodesh or chol.

We also find in Tosefot Chachmei Anglia (end of Masechet Pesachim, Machon Yerushalayim edition, page 96) the following answer to our question: “One cannot connect this [objection – i.e., since you already sanctified it, can you now make it mundane?] to anything but the Amidah. Since you sanctified it with your prayer, you may not now make it mundane with your prayer, just as we read in tractate Ta’anit (2a) regarding Gevurat Geshamim. However, regarding sefirah, the rule of “once you have sanctified it” does not apply since it is not part of the Amidah.

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: Sefirat HaOmer – When To Start Counting (Part III)”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Seder at the White House. The one without the kippa is President Obama.
Obama Reaching Out to (Liberal) Jews in Sermon at Synagogue
Latest Judaism Stories
Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if […]

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

God and the divine origin of His Torah are facts even though we do not fully comprehend them.

Winiarz-Shaya-logo

So if we basically live the same life, why should he get eternal reward and not me?”

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

The question is: What about pidyon haben? Can one give the five sela’im required for pidyon haben to a kohen’s daughter?

In Parshas Pinchas the Torah introduces the Mussaf for Shavuos by describing it as Yom HaBikurim when we bring the new offering.

Rachel was thrown by the sight and began to caringly think whom this person might be.

The desert, with its unearthly silence & emptiness, is the condition in which the Word can be heard

The census focused on the individual, proving each is created as irreplaceable, unique images of God

Jewish survival in a dysfunctional world requires women assuming the role Hashem gave them at Sinai

The Honor Of Reading The Kesubah
‘Witnesses Sign Only After Reading…’
(Kesubos 109a)

Why does the Torah use two different words for “to count,” and what does each indicate?

From Bemidbar on and in Nevi’im, the nation is viewed primarily by its component parts, the tribes

“You do know that nothing occurs without reason. Can you think of something you might have done to bring on your malaise?”

What does the omer & agricultural laws pe’ah & leket teach about the Biblical approach to holidays?

A true life of meaning is achieved not by running after material success but by recognizing that everything is dependent on G-d, and that spiritual growth is truly valuable.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if […]

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times on each hand alternatingly? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

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)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-sefirat-haomer-when-to-start-counting-part-iii/2014/04/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: