Sunday, 15th December 2019
 
Chazaq

By CHAZAQ Staff   

"Don't forget to Count the Omer!" We hear this so often during this time of year and for good reason. The Mitzvah of Sefirat Ha'omer (counting the Omer) is a "49-day marathon" beginning with the second night of Pesach. Below are some of the basic laws pertaining to this special Mitzvah in accordance with the rulings of Chacham Ovadia Yosef. 

1) One must be extra careful in his observance of the Mitzvah of Sefirat Ha'omer. The Zohar (Parashat Emor 97b) says that one who does not fulfill this Mitzvah is not considered "pure" and he is undeserving of a portion in the Torah. Although we may not understand what that statement really means, nevertheless, after reading that, we must all be careful not to miss a single counting. In fact, many people have different "reminders" (i.e. alarm clock, posters, etc.) to assure that they do not forget to count the Omer during these 7 weeks.

2) Women are not obligated in this Mitzvah of Sefirat Ha'omer since it is limited to a specific time frame (night), and women are not obligated in time-bound Mitzvot. Women who wish to accept upon themselves the stringency of counting the Omer may do so, though, they may not recite the blessing. According to the Kabbalah, women should not count Sefirat Ha'omer at all, even without a blessing, and so is the custom amongst most Sephardic communities.

3) When counting the Omer, one must verbally articulate the counting and one does not fulfill his obligation by merely thinking of the counting in his mind.

4) The counting of the Omer must be performed standing, though if one had counted while sitting he has still fulfilled the mitzvah. An elderly, weak or sick person for whom standing is exceedingly difficult may count while seated.

5)  Sefirat Haomer is to be done at night, preferably after the stars come out. However, if a Minyan concluded the Arvit prayer immediately after sunset, during twilight, about which we are in doubt whether it is considered day or night, the congregation may recite the Sefirat Hao'mer with a blessing if they are afraid that by not reciting it members of the congregation will forget to count altogether. However, before sunset, one cannot fulfill the mitzvah under any circumstances.

6) One who forgot to count at night and remembered the following day should count without a blessing during the daytime, and he may then resume counting the Omer the upcoming night with a blessing. If, however, he forgot to count during the day as well, he may no longer count with a blessing, as the counting of the Omer must be 49 complete days. Therefore, from that day forward he counts without a blessing. Similarly, one who counted the wrong day and did not correct himself at some point throughout the day may no longer count with a blessing.

7) One who correctly counts the day of the Omer but miscounted the week may continue counting with a blessing.

This is obviously a small rundown of the laws of Sefirat Ha'Omer. If anyone has a particular question please contact your local Rabbi and do not come up with conclusions on your own.

 

By CHAZAQ Staff   

"Don't forget to Count the Omer!" We hear this so often during this time of year and for good reason. The Mitzvah of Sefirat Ha'omer (counting the Omer) is a "49-day marathon" beginning with the second night of Pesach. Below are some of the basic laws pertaining to this special Mitzvah in accordance with the rulings of Chacham Ovadia Yosef. 

1) One must be extra careful in his observance of the Mitzvah of Sefirat Ha'omer. The Zohar (Parashat Emor 97b) says that one who does not fulfill this Mitzvah is not considered "pure" and he is undeserving of a portion in the Torah. Although we may not understand what that statement really means, nevertheless, after reading that, we must all be careful not to miss a single counting. In fact, many people have different "reminders" (i.e. alarm clock, posters, etc.) to assure that they do not forget to count the Omer during these 7 weeks.

2) Women are not obligated in this Mitzvah of Sefirat Ha'omer since it is limited to a specific time frame (night), and women are not obligated in time-bound Mitzvot. Women who wish to accept upon themselves the stringency of counting the Omer may do so, though, they may not recite the blessing. According to the Kabbalah, women should not count Sefirat Ha'omer at all, even without a blessing, and so is the custom amongst most Sephardic communities.

3) When counting the Omer, one must verbally articulate the counting and one does not fulfill his obligation by merely thinking of the counting in his mind.

4) The counting of the Omer must be performed standing, though if one had counted while sitting he has still fulfilled the mitzvah. An elderly, weak or sick person for whom standing is exceedingly difficult may count while seated.

5)  Sefirat Haomer is to be done at night, preferably after the stars come out. However, if a Minyan concluded the Arvit prayer immediately after sunset, during twilight, about which we are in doubt whether it is considered day or night, the congregation may recite the Sefirat Hao'mer with a blessing if they are afraid that by not reciting it members of the congregation will forget to count altogether. However, before sunset, one cannot fulfill the mitzvah under any circumstances.

6) One who forgot to count at night and remembered the following day should count without a blessing during the daytime, and he may then resume counting the Omer the upcoming night with a blessing. If, however, he forgot to count during the day as well, he may no longer count with a blessing, as the counting of the Omer must be 49 complete days. Therefore, from that day forward he counts without a blessing. Similarly, one who counted the wrong day and did not correct himself at some point throughout the day may no longer count with a blessing.

7) One who correctly counts the day of the Omer but miscounted the week may continue counting with a blessing.

This is obviously a small rundown of the laws of Sefirat Ha'Omer. If anyone has a particular question please contact your local Rabbi and do not come up with conclusions on your own.