Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Brachos and S'firas HaOmer

Just to recap, we have an interesting sh'eila on the table:
An Ashkenazi bas yisrael (who counts s'fira with a bracha) was getting married during s'fira to a S'fardi ben torah.  Since S'fardi women are not allowed to make brachos on mitvos asei sh'zman grama (time bound positive mitzvos), should she start counting with a bracha?
First we need some facts.  I know, I am no fun.  There are several interesting issues relevant for this sh'eila.

The first issue is whether this is a mitzva asei sh'zman grama.  At first blush, that seems to be a no-brainer.  After all, the counting starts on the 16th of Nissan and continues through the 5th of Sivan.  How much more z'man grama can you get?  It turns out, though, that this is a machlokes rishonim.  The Ramban holds that the counting does not depend on time; rather it depends on hakravas ha'omer (the bringing of the omer offering).  Hakravas ha'omer certainly is time dependent, but the Ramban holds that dependency is not transitive.  We pasken it is time dependent and so women are patur, but it's best not to mess with a rishon if you can avoid it.

Another issue is whether there is one mitzvah to count all 49 days or 49 sub-mitzvos (if you will) to accomplish that task.  That's the source for all of the churn regarding making a bracha if you miss a day.  If it's one big mitzvah, then missing an entire time means that the entire mitzvah has not been fulfilled and cannot be fulfilled.  Therefore, stop making brachos.  The initial brachos are not considered l'vatala, however, because at the time you were accomplishing what needed to be done.  If it's 49 (sub)mitzvos, though, then missing one day is bad, but not the end of the world; nor the end of s'firas ha'omer this year.  That's why if you miss a day you go on counting (maybe it's 49 mitzvos) without a bracha (maybe it's one mitzvah).

What about if you know with certainty that you will miss a day (or more) of counting?  (Yes, time to wake from you slumber and pay attention; we finally got to the question itself.)  The Mishna Brura says that a woman should not count with a bracha because she will surely miss a day.  Halachos Shlomo says that if someone is certain to miss a day -- has surgery scheduled, for example -- that he should count till then with a bracha.  Do we have a machlokes between the Chafeitz Chaim and R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach?

I don't think so.  First of all, the women in R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach's household did not count with a bracha; like the Mishna Brura.  I think it is because of all the doubt, why should a woman put herself into a potential risk of bracha l'vatala.  A man, on the other hand, needs to take that risk.  One thing that helps (my own s'vara) is that men go to ma'ariv each night and so there is lots of help remembering.

As far as what the young lady (now married) did.  She forgot on the first night of chol ha'mo'ed.  Moral: Don't mess with the Mishna Brura.  I made it through the entire s'fira and didn't forget one night... but had to be reminded more than once by my wife.  Moral: Don't mess with my wife.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Hydroponically Grown Humans... I Feel Sick

I am quite openly not at all objective about abortion in particular and the treatment of human embryos and fetuses in general.  I am, after all, the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.  Not "thought about it, but couldn't go through with it"; not "made appointment, but then chickened out at the lost moment"; but, "tried a procedure, but was unsuccessful in attempt to abort".  Nonetheless, I try very hard to listen to the liberal arguments (which I also used to chant as part of the general liberal catechism), and am genuinely empathetic to the plight of women who find themselves in that difficult position.

What I heard on NPR this morning, however, has left me feeling physically ill.  You can read about it, if you like, but here's the bottom line:  Scientists in Cambridge have achieved a new record, they fertilized a human ova and then kept it alive in vitro (that is, in a test tube/petri dish in a laboratory) for 14 days.  The scientist involve…