Hebrew | Francais

Search


> > Archive

Shabbat Parashat Kedoshim 5784

Ask the Rabbi: Counting Sefira Somewhat Early

Rav Daniel Mann

Question: My shul davens Mincha right before sunset and Ma’ariv right after it. During the sefira period, may I rely on sefirat ha’omer done at that time?

 

Answer: We find different starting times for mitzvot of the night/next halachic day. The time for evening Kri’at Shema is tzeit hakochavim (=tzhk; the emergence of three stars) (Berachot 2a; Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 235:1). The main mitzvot of Seder night are also from tzhk (Rosh, Pesachim 10:2). In contrast, one may make Kiddush on Shabbat from plag hamincha, well before sunset (Shulchan Aruch, OC 267:2), and according to many, can also daven Ma’ariv then (Berachot 27a; Shulchan Aruch and Rama, OC 233:1).

Regarding sefirat ha’omer, the Rashba (Shut I:154) posits that counting while it is still daytime is worthless, because the number day counted is wrong, and one must repeat it at night. He and the Shulchan Aruch (OC 489:2) say that “those who are careful” count after tzhk.

However, there are halachic indications for leeway. The Avudraham (see Beit Yosef, OC 489), says that one who davens in a minyan for Ma’ariv before the end of the day, counts with them without a beracha and should plan to repeat the counting at night with a beracha. He explains that he should do this with intention that if he forgets to repeat it later, the earlier counting can be of some value. The Beit Yosef is skeptical of this condition’s efficacy, but he cites the halacha anyway (Shulchan Aruch ibid. 3). The assumption, though, is that we do not want to rely on the early sefira.

However, regarding bein hashemashot (=bhsh), between sunset and tzhk, there is significant room for leniency, especially because it is likely that sefirat ha’omer in our times, when no korban ha’omer is brought, is only a Rabbinic obligation (see Tosafot, Menachot 66a; the Rambam, Temidin 7:24 posits it is still from the Torah.) The Magen Avraham (489:6) says one who counted during bhsh fulfills the mitzva. The Mishna Berura (489:14) explains that since bhsh is a safek of whether it is night or day and since we assume the mitzva is Rabbinic, leniency is understandable.

However, many poskim frown upon counting during bhsh. Some warn against dismissing the Rambam’s opinion that the mitzva is still from the Torah (see Eliya Rabba 489:10). Others point out that we avoid relying on doubts regarding Rabbinic mitzvot when we can do them without doubt; this is especially so when a beracha is involved and when one night of invalid sefira can disqualify future nights’ sefira and their berachot (see Divrei Yatziv, OC 214).

The exact time of your shul’s sefira can be impactful. The earliest time that might be tzhk is 13.5 minutes after sunset (there are different opinions, by a few minutes, of when sunset is in hilly regions); many posit that tzeit is approximately 20 minutes after sunset. On the other hand, according to Rabbeinu Tam’s approach (albeit our communities mainly do not factor it in to their decisions), bhsh starts only around an hour after sunset.

There are often strong communal reasons to have no break or a short one between Mincha and Ma’ariv, and these can justify an earlier than ideal sefirat ha’omer. For the individual, the best practice from a purist perspective is to count on the basis of the “sefira leader’s” beracha (who should have in mind to be motzi anyone who wants/needs it – see Pri Chadash, OC 489:8) and then repeat the sefira without a beracha when it is definitely time. This is different from the Avudraham above who had people do their main sefira at night without a minyan and the earlier counting was “just in case.” Here, we assume the main counting is during bhsh with the tzibbur (it is generally better to count with the tzibbur – see Ba’er Heitev, OC 489:20; Minchat Yitzchak IX:56) and the repetition is in case it had been too early. Nowadays, if one uses apps and alarms to remind him to count, there is little room for concern. If one is self-conscious about just answering amen or fears it can be divisive, he may join the community’s practice and make the beracha during bhsh.

Top of page
Print this page
Send to friend


Dedication

We daven for a complete and speedy refuah for:

Nir Rephael ben Rachel Bracha
Tal Shaul ben Yaffa

Ori Leah bat Chaya Temima

Arye Yitzchak ben Geula Miriam

Neta bat Malka

Meira bat Esther
Yerachmiel ben Zlotta Rivka

Together with all cholei Yisrael


Hemdat Yamim is dedicated

to the memory of:

Those who fell in wars

for our homeland

 

Prof. Yisrael Aharoni z"l

Kislev 14, 5783

 

Rav Shlomo Merzel z”l
Iyar 10, 5771


Rav
 Reuven & Chaya Leah Aberman z"l
Tishrei 9
 ,5776 / Tishrei 20, 5782

 

Mr. Shmuel & Esther Shemesh z"l

Sivan 17 / Av 20

 

Mr. Moshe Wasserzug z"l

Tishrei 20 ,5781

 

R' Eliyahu Carmel z"l

Rav Carmel's father

Iyar 8 ,5776

 

MrsSara Wengrowsky

bat R’ Moshe Zev a”h.

Tamuz 10 ,5774

 

Rav Asher & Susan Wasserteil z"l
Kislev 9 / Elul 5780

 

R' Meir ben

Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld z"l

&

MrsSara Brachfeld z"l

Tevet 16 ,5780

 

R 'Yaakov ben Abraham & Aisha

and

Chana bat Yaish & Simcha

Sebbag, z"l

 

Rav Yisrael Rozen z"l
Cheshvan 13, 5778

 

Rav Benzion Grossman z"l
Tamuz 23, 5777

 

R' Abraham & Gita Klein z"l

Iyar 18,  /5779Av 4

 

Rav Moshe Zvi (Milton) Polin z"l
Tammuz 19, 5778

 

R' Yitzchak Zev & Naomi Tarshansky z"l

Adar 28, 5781/ Adar II 14 5784

 

Nina Moinester z"l

Nechama Osna bat

Yitzhak Aharon & Doba

Av 30, 5781

 

Rabbi Dr. Jerry Hochbaum z"l

Adar II 17, 5782

 

Mrs. Julia Koschitzky z"l

Adar II 18, 5782

 

Mrs. Leah Meyer z"l

Nisan 27, 5782

 

Mr. Shmuel & Rivka Brandman z"l

Tevet 16 5783/ Iyar 8, 5781


Hemdat
Yamim
is endowed by
Les z"l & Ethel Sutker
of Chicago, Illinois
in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker
 &
Louis and Lillian Klein z”l

site by entry.
Eretz Hemdah - Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies, Jerusalem All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy. | Terms of Use.