web analytics
March 28, 2015 / 8 Nisan, 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
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.
Iran Says ‘Don’t Believe the Headlines’ that Deal is Imminent
Latest Judaism Stories
Bodenheim-032715

Our ability to teach is only successful if done by example.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Outside of the High Holidays, Pesach is probably the most celebrated biblical holiday for the majority of Jews.

Business-Halacha-logo

“If I notify people, nobody will buy the matzos!” exclaimed Mr. Mandel. “Once the halachic advisory panel ruled leniently, why can’t I sell the matzos regularly?”

The-Shmuz

So what type of praise is it that Aaron followed orders?

Her Children, Her Whim
‘Kesubas Bnin Dichrin’
(Kesubos 52b)

Question: Must one spend great sums of money and invest much effort in making one’s home kosher for Passover? Not all of us have such unlimited funds.

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

Yachatz is not mentioned in the Gemara. What is the foundation for yachatz?

First, the punishment for eating chametz on Pesach is karet, premature death at the Hand of God.

Why is it necessary to invite people to eat from the korban Pesach?

How was I going to get to Manhattan? No cabs were going, we didn’t have a car, and many people who did have cars had no gas.

Did you ever notice that immediately upon being granted our freedom from Egypt, the Jewish people accepted upon themselves the yoke of a new master – Hashem?

Why does Torah make the priests go through a long and seemingly bizarre induction ceremony?

Often people in important positions separate from everyday people & tasks-NOT the Kohen Gadol

You smuggled tefillin into the camp? How can they help? Every day men risked their lives to use them

Rambam: Eating blood’s forbidden because connected to idolatry;Ramban: We’re affected by what we eat

Rambam warns that a festival meal without taking care of the needy isn’t fulfilling simchat yom tov

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

Question: Must one spend great sums of money and invest much effort in making one’s home kosher for Passover? Not all of us have such unlimited funds.

Name Withheld
(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)

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: 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: