How to answer if one is asked “What day of Sefira is it today?

This Halacha is an excerpt from our Sefer

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How to answer if one is asked “What day of Sefira is it today?”[1]

If one is asked by another person “What is the day of Sefira tonight?”, then if he is asked this question at night, prior to him fulfilling his own obligation of counting, he is to answer him that “Yesterday was such and such”, rather than state the actual date.[2] Alternatively, one can tell him “such and such to the Omer” without saying the words “Today is”.[3] Nevertheless, it is better to state that “Yesterday was such and such”.[4] [It however does not suffice to say the day without mentioning the weeks or vice versa.[5] Although, at the end of each week, such as day 7,14, 21, it does suffice to simply say the week and not the day.[6] It does not suffice to answer that day’s count in a language that is not Hebrew.[7] It does suffice to answer the correct date and have explicit intent to not be Yotzei.[8] Nonetheless, it is best to simply say “Yesterday was such and such” as stated above.[9]]

When does this apply?[10] The above law applies starting from Bein Hashmashos [after sunset]. (Nevertheless, initially, one is to be careful to avoid saying the coming nights count beginning from Plag Hamincha and onwards.[11]) [When asked the above question during the day, prior to Plag Hamincha, or at night after having already counted, then he may even initially answer as usual.]

 

Bedieved if he answered the current date:[12]

If one answered the correct date and said “Today is such and such days”, then if this occurred after sunset [Bein Hashmashos], prior to him counting, then he [the person who answered] has forfeited the blessing and is to recount later on at night without a blessing.[13] This applies even if one did not say the word “Laomer” in his reply and simply stated “Today is such and such”.[14] [This applies irrelevant of which language he answered in.[15] This applies whether he said the days or the weeks.[16] However, if it is the end of a week, such as day 7, 14 etc and, he only said the weeks, he is to repeat the count with a blessing.[17] See Q&A! Likewise, if he had  explicit intent to not be Yotzei, he is to repeat the count with a blessing.[18]] This however only applies if one said the words “Today is such and such”. If, however, he did not say these words and rather simply replied “Such and Such to the Omer”, then he is to repeat the counting with a blessing later at night.[19] [In a case that one is supposed to repeat the counting and did not do so, see Halacha 22 that he may nevertheless continue counting with a blessing the following nights.]

After Plag Hamincha:[20] If the above reply of “Today is such and such days” occurred prior to sunset [Bein Hashmashos], but past Plag Hamincha, then he has not forfeited the blessing and is thus to repeat the count with a blessing later at night.[21]

The asker:[22] The above law only applies to the person who was asked and replied “Today is such and such days”. However, the person who asked the question and consequently heard this reply, has not forfeited his blessing and is thus to repeat the count with the blessing later at night.[23]

 

Summary:

Starting from Plag Hamincha until one counts Omer that night, whenever one is asked that day’s count he is to answer yesterday’s date. If he answered the date of that day then he is to repeat the Sefira without a blessing, with exception to the following cases, in which he is to repeat Sefira with a blessing:

1.       He did not say the word “Hayom/Today.”

2.       He had in mind to not be Yotzei.

3.       It was the end of a week, such as 7, 14 etc, and he did not say the day, but simply said the number of weeks.

Q&A

If one answered “Today is such and such” but did not say the word day, may he count at night with a blessing?

Ø  Example: On the 18th day, the person being asked replied “Today is the 18th”, but did not mention the word “Today is the 18th day”. May he continue to count with a blessing that night?

No. He is to repeat the Sefira without a blessing.[24]

 

If one answered the day but did not mention the weeks, may he count later on with a blessing?[25]

Ø  Example 1: On the 18th day, the person being asked replied that today is the 18th day, but did not mention the weeks. May he continue to count with a blessing that night?

Ø  Example 2: On the 14th day, at the conclusion of two weeks, the person being asked replied that today is the 14th day, but did not mention the weeks. May he continue to count with a blessing that night?

Example 1:[26] If during one of the middle days [non-weekends, such as 1-6, 8-13, etc], the person being asked replied the day, but did not mention the weeks, he is to repeat the count without a blessing.[27]

Example 2:[28] If during a weekend day [such as 7, 14, 21, 28, 35 etc], the person being asked replied the day, but did not mention the weeks, it is questionable as to whether he is to repeat the count with a blessing.

 

If at the end of one of the seven weeks, one answered the week but did not mention the days, may he count later on with a blessing?

Ø  Example 1: On the 18th day, the person being asked replied that today is two weeks and 4 days, but did not mention the days. May he continue to count with a blessing that night?

Ø  Example 2: On the 14th day, at the conclusion of two weeks, the person being asked replied that today is two weeks, but did not mention the days. May he continue to count with a blessing that night?

Example 1:[29] If during one of the middle days [non-weekends, such as 1-6, 8-13, etc], the person being asked replied the week, but did not mention the days, he is to repeat the count without a blessing.[30]

Example 2:[31] If during a weekend day [such as 7, 14, 21, 28, 35 etc], the person being asked replied the week, but did not mention the days, he has not fulfilled his obligation according to any opinion, and hence is to count that night with a blessing.

 

If one intended to answer yesterday’s count, and instead accidently said tonight’s count, may he repeat the count with a blessing?[32]

Yes.[33]

 

If one was asked “Is today such and such” may he answer affirmatively?[34]

Yes, the person being asked may nod his head or say yes. Both the asker and answerer are to count with a blessing later on at night.

 

May one answer the date by stating a mathematical equation, such as “Today is 6 minus 1”?

Some Poskim[35] rule it is permitted to do so, and one may continue to count with a blessing.[36] Practically, it is always best to state yesterday’s date.

 

If one answered on the first day that “Today is the Rishon/first day of the Omer” may he repeat the count with a blessing?

Some[37] suggest that the term Rishon/first is not the same as Echad/one, and one hence does not fulfill his obligation if he casually told someone “Today is the first day of the Omer” and he may recount with a blessing.

 

What is the law if one unintentionally said “Today is Lag Baomer” or another form of abbreviation?

He does not fulfill his obligation at all and is to repeat the Sefira with a blessing. See Halacha 13 in Q&A!

 

On Lag Baomer, may one answer the questioner by saying the words “Today is Lag Baomer?”

Yes[38], although it is best to simply say yesterday’s date.[39] See Halacha 13 in Q&A!

 

 

Making a stipulation:

Some[40] suggest stipulating prior to Sefira that whenever one says the S3efira in a way that is questionably valid, he is having in mind to not be Yotzei. Doing so would allow one to repeat the Sefira with a blessing no matter how he answered another person’s question as to the date, as well as in any other case of doubt. [Nonetheless, doing so would also invalidate the ability for such a person to continue to count with a  blessing on future nights if he forgets to recount.]

 

_________________________________________________________________________________

[1] Admur 489:14; Michaber 489:4

[2] The reason: As if one were to say “Today is such and such” then he himself will now not be able to count with a blessing [Admur ibid; Michaber ibid], according to those opinions [see 489:12] who say that the counting does not need intention for one to fulfill his obligation. [Admur ibid; M”A 489:10]

[3] Admur ibid; Taz 489:7; M”A 489:9 in name of Taz; Mamar Mordechai 489:6; Shalemi Tzibur p. 297; Derech Hachaim 9; M”B 489:20; See Kaf Hachaim 489:53

The reason: As if one counts without mentioning that the counting is for today, he does not fulfill his obligation according to any opinion. [Admur ibid; Taz ibid]

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that even if one did not say the word “Hayom:Today” he fulfills his obligation. [Elya Raba 489:13; Chok Yosef 489:18; Mamar Mordechai; See Kaf Hachaim ibid; Shaar Hatziyon 489:25]

[4] Admur ibid; Taz 489:7

The reason: As it is better to say yesterday’s date than to say today’s date even without the word Hayom. [Taz ibid; Admur ibid does not explain why] This is because there are Poskim [Elya Raba 489:13; Chok Yosef 489:18] who rule that one is Yotzei the count even without saying the word “Today”, and hence one is to avoid entering this dispute. [Kaf Hachaim 489:53; Misgeres Hashulchan 120:3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 489:15]

[5] Kaf Hachaim 489:55; See Halacha 7!

The reason: As there is a dispute if one is Yotzei with counting just the days or just the weeks, and practically we rule one is Yotzei with either. [ibid]

[6] As one is not Yotzei at the end of the weeks if he does not count the days. See Admur 489:6 brought in Halacha 7!

[7] P”M 489 A”A 9; Derech Hachaim 9; Kaf Hachaim 489:54; See Admur 489:10 brought in Halacha 9!

[8] Admur ibid regarding why the listener may repeat the count with a blessing, as he had intent to not be Yotzei, and the same would apply to the answerer if he explicitly has in mind to not be Yotzei; Peri Chadash 489; M”B 489:22; Kaf hachaim 489:58

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one fulfills his obligation even if he has in mind to not be Yotzei, as one cannot invalidate a Mitzvah he fulfills. [Elya Raba 489:13 based on Abudarham; Rieh, brought in Beis Yosef 589; See Kaf Hachaim ibid]

[9] Kaf Hachaim ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos 489:15

The reason: As some Poskim rule one is Yotzei even if he has in mind to not be Yotzei, as brought in previous footnote. Therefore, one is to initially avoid the dispute. [Kaf Hachaim ibid]

[10] Admur 489:15; Michaber 489:4

[11] Admur 489:15 in parentheses; Kaf Hachaim 489:52; See Biur Halacha 489:4 “Eino”

The reason: This is in order to suspect for those opinions [See Admur ibid and 489:12] who rule that Plag Hamincha is considered night and one may hence start counting from then. [Divrei Nechemiah]

[12] Admur 489:14; Simple implication of Michaber ibid; M”A 489:10; Chok Yaakov 489:15; Chok Yosef 489:20; Olas Shabbos 489:4; Mamar Mordechai 489:6; Erech Hashulchan 489:6; Chayeh Adam 131:7; M”B 489:22; Kaf Hachaim 489:57 and 59-60; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 489:14-15

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that even if one said “Hayom:Today is such and such” he does not fulfill his obligation, and is to repeat the count with a blessing. [Taz 489:7; P”M 489 M”Z 7] The reason for this is because in answering the question it is considered as if he had intent to not be Yotzei. [Taz ibid] Likewise, there is a Sfek Sfeika being that he did not mention the weeks. [P”M ibid]

[13] The reason: As according to some opinions he has already fulfilled his obligation, as some Poskim rule that the counting does not need intention to fulfill one’s obligation. [Admur ibid; M”A ibid] Based on this ruling we see that Bein Hashmashos is not considered a Safek at all to create a Sfek Sfeka, [as is done by Plag Hamincha] to allow him to repeat the count with a  blessing. This is because in truth there is no dispute regarding Bein Hashmashos, as by a Rabbinical Mitzvah we rule Safek Lihakel according to all and according to all one is Yotzei by Bein Hashmashos Bedieved, hence there is only one Safek left which is do you need intent to be Yotzei.

[14] Admur 489:14 and 7; M”A ibid; Chok Yaakov 489:15; Chok Yosef 489:19; Chayeh Adam 131:7; M”B 489:21; Kaf Hachaim 489:56

The reason: As the saying of the word “LaOmer” is not a required part of the count and is thus not invalidating when omitted. [See Admur 489:7; M”A 489:10]

[15] P”M 489 A”A 9; Derech Hachaim 9; Kaf Hachaim 489:54; See Admur 489:10 brought in Halacha 9!

[16] Implication of Admur and Michaber ibid who do not differentiate; See Admur 489:6 [brought in Halacha 7] that we rule either the day’s or the weeks suffice during the middle days; Zechor Leavraham Samech; Daas Torah 489; Kaf Hachaim 489:55; Beis Shlomo 108; Shevet Halevi 1:205; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 489:15

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that if one did not say both the weeks and the days he may recount with a blessing. [Elya Raba 489; P”M 489 M”Z 7; M”B 489:22] This is because it is a Sfek Sfeika if he fulfills his obligation, as maybe Mitzvos need Kavana and maybe one must mention the days and weeks, and thus perhaps he is to repeat the count with a blessing. [P”M 489 M”Z 7] Alternatively, through omitting the weeks it is as if he had intent to not fulfill his obligation. [Elya Raba ibid, explained in Shaar Hatziyon 489:28]

[17] Peri Chadash 489, brought in Shaar Hatziyon 489:28; See Admur 489:6; Menachos 66a; Michaber 489:1 [brought in Halacha 7] that we rule that at the end of the weeks one must count the days to be Yotzei.  Vetzaruch Iyun regarding if one said the days but not the week at the end of a week, of which there is a true dispute as to whether he fulfills his obligation, and hence perhaps due to Sfek Sfeika, he would be permitted to count with a blessing, as brought in P”M 489 M”Z 7, brought in previous footnote, and as written in Admur 489:15 regarding one who answered during Plag Hamincha.

[18] See above!

[19] Admur ibid; Taz 489:7; M”A 489:9 in name of Taz; Mamar Mordechai 489:6; Shalemi Tzibur p. 297; Derech Hachaim 9; M”B 489:20; See Kaf Hachaim 489:53

The reason: As if one counts without mentioning that the counting is for today, he does not fulfill his obligation according to any opinion. [Admur ibid; Poskim ibid]

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that even if one did not say the word “Hayom:Today” he fulfills his obligation. [Elya Raba 489:13; Chok Yosef 489:18; Mamar Mordechai; See Kaf Hachaim ibid; Shaar Hatziyon 489:25]

[20] Admur 489:15; Michaber ibid; Biur Halacha 489:4 “Eino”

[21] The reason: The reason why one may recount with a blessing if the response was given after Plag Hamincha but before sunset is because we mainly rule like those who state that even after Plag Hamincha and onwards is only considered night with regards to prayer and not other matters. Furthermore, even in accordance to the opinions who rule it is consider night for all matters, there are other opinions who state that even Rabbinical Mitzvos require intention to fulfill one’s obligation. [Admur ibid]

[22] Admur 489:14; Kaf Hachaim 489:58

[23] The reason: The reason for this is because at the time of the hearing of this reply, the questioner had intent to repeat the counting for himself to fulfill the Mitzvah, as that is precisely the motivation behind his query and subsequent hearing of the answer. Thus, in conclusion it is considered that he explicitly had in mind to not fulfill his obligation with the hearing of the counting of the answerer. This is in contrast to the person who was asked and replied and did not have explicit intent at the time of his reply that he desires to repeat the count later on afterwards. Thus, although in truth, subconsciously, the answerer did want to repeat the count, nevertheless since he did not have this explicitly on his conscious mind at that time, he has therefore fulfilled his obligation according to those who rule that Mitzvos don’t need intent. [Admur ibid]

[24] The Poskim in this Halacha do not differentiate between one who says the word Yom in the end of his number, and one who omits it.

[25] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 489:15

[26] Implication of Admur and Michaber ibid who do not differentiate; Zechor Leavraham Samech; Daas Torah 489; Kaf Hachaim 489:55; Beis Shlomo 108; Shevet Halevi 1:205; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 489:15

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that if one did not say both the weeks and the days he may recount with a blessing. [Elya Raba 489; P”M 489 M”Z 7; M”B 489:22] This is because it is a Sfek Sfeika if he fulfills his obligation, as maybe Mitzvos need Kavana and maybe one must mention the days and weeks, and thus perhaps he is to repeat the count with a blessing. [P”M 489 M”Z 7] Alternatively, through omitting the weeks it is as if he had intent to not fulfill his obligation. [Elya Raba ibid, explained in Shaar Hatziyon 489:28]

[27] The reason: As one fulfills his obligation even without mentioning the weeks, and hence may not count that night with a blessing. [See Admur 489:6 [brought in Halacha 7] that we rule either the day’s or the weeks suffice during the middle days]

[28] See Admur 489:6 [brought in Halacha 7] that if one said the days but not the week at the end of a week, there is a true dispute as to whether he fulfills his obligation. Accordingly, perhaps in this case, due to Sfek Sfeika [as maybe Mitzvos need Kavana and maybe one must mention the days and weeks], he would be permitted to count with a blessing. [See P”M 489 M”Z and as written in Admur 489:15 regarding one who answered during Plag Hamincha.]

[29] Implication of Admur and Michaber ibid who do not differentiate; Zechor Leavraham Samech; Daas Torah 489; Kaf Hachaim 489:55; Beis Shlomo 108; Shevet Halevi 1:205; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 489:15

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that if one did not say both the weeks and the days he may recount with a blessing. [Elya Raba 489; P”M 489 M”Z 7; M”B 489:22] This is because it is a Sfek Sfeika if he fulfills his obligation, as maybe Mitzvos need Kavana and maybe one must mention the days and weeks, and thus perhaps he is to repeat the count with a blessing. [P”M 489 M”Z 7] Alternatively, through omitting the weeks it is as if he had intent to not fulfill his obligation. [Elya Raba ibid, explained in Shaar Hatziyon 489:28]

[30] The reason: As one fulfills his obligation even without mentioning the day, and hence may not count that night with a blessing. [See Admur 489:6 [brought in Halacha 7] that we rule either the day’s or the weeks suffice during the middle days]

[31] Peri Chadash 489, brought in Shaar Hatziyon 489:28; See Admur 489:5; Menachos 66a; Michaber 489:1 [brought in Halacha 7] that we rule that at the end of the weeks one must count the days to be Yotzei.

[32] Beir Moshe 3:80; Piskeiy Teshuvos 489:14

[33] The reason: As he did not say the words “Today” but rather “yesterday.” [ibid]

[34] Zechor Leavraham Ayin; Kaf Hachaim 489:61; Orchos Chaim 489:11; Daas Torah 489; Piskeiy Teshuvos 489:14

[35] Beir moshe 3:82; Piskeiy Teshuvos 489:11 and 14

[36] The reason: As when counting in such a method it is as if he had in mind to not be Yotzei. [ibid]

[37] Orchos Rabbeinu p. 112 in name of Chazon Ish

[38] The reason: As one who counts in abbreviations, by saying the word Lag, is not Yotzei according to Admur and many other opinions especially if he does not have intent to fulfill his obligation. See Halacha 13!

[39] As some opinions rule he is Yotzei with the word Lag and hence it is best to avoid the dispute. See Halacha 13!

[40] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 489:15

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