From the Rav’s Desk: Counted Sefira by Bein Hashmashos

  1. Question: [Sunday, 30th Nisan, 5782]

If I counted Sefira by Bein Hashmashos, am I Yotzei?


It depends on which Bein Hashmashos you are referring to, if you’re referring to the Bein Hashmashos which precedes that nights count or to the Bein Hashmashos at the end of that days count. If you are referring to counting that nights Sefira during the Bein Hashmashos prior to that nights Sefira, such as if tonight we are meant to count the 30th day of the Omer and you counted the 30th day early by Bein Hashmashos, after sunset but before nightfall, then you fulfill your obligation and you are not required at all from the letter of the law to repeat the count after nightfall, even without a blessing. [Nevertheless, it is proper to recount after nightfall without a blessing even in such a case.] If, however, you forgot to count that night and the entire day and only remembered by Bein Hashmashos of the next nights Sefira, such as if tonight we are meant to count the 30th day of the Omer and you missed the 29th day count and counted the 29th day late by Bein Hashmashos of what is meant to now be the 30th day of Sefira, then it is debated whether you fulfill your obligation, and it is likewise debated whether you may continue to count with a blessing on the following nights, and the final ruling is that you may not continue to count with a blessing.


Bein Hashmashos always has the status of a doubt as to whether it is still part of the previous day or is the beginning of the next night, and practically, regarding rabbinical mitzvah’s we are lenient. Hence, when one counts Sefira, which today is a rabbinical Mitzvah, during the period of Bein Hashmashos of prior to that night’s count, then he is considered to have fulfilled his obligation, being that we are lenient to consider Bein Hashmashos as nighttime regarding rabbinical commands that must be performed at night. However, when he counts the previous nights count during the Bein Hashmashos of the next nights count, then although here to we are lenient to consider it as if he counted during daytime, nonetheless, we do not allow him to continue counting the counts of the future nights with a blessing, as some opinions claim that a daytime count is never valid, and hence it is considered like a double doubt to invalidate his count, as perhaps Bein Hashmashos is considered nighttime and his counting is hence invalid being that he counted after that days count expired. Furthermore, even if we are leading to consider Bein Hashmashos as daytime, perhaps one never fulfills his obligation with a day count, and in a case that a Sfek Sfeika challenges one’s fulfillment of the mitzvah, we consider it as if the mitzvah was not fulfilled in regards to the ability to continue counting with a blessing.

Sources: See regarding if one counted early by the Bein Hashmashos prior to that nights count: Admur 489:12-13; Michaber 489:2-3; Taz 489:5; M”A 489:6; Elya Raba 489:10; P”M 489 M”Z 5; Kaf Hachaim 489:41 See Igros Kodesh 19:272 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 3:1] See regarding if one counted late by the Bein Hashmashos of the next nights count: Poskim who rule to count without blessing future nights: Implication of Admur 489:25 “one night”; Beis David 268 brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 489:4; Shalmei Tzibur; Zechor Leavraham; Nehar Shalom; Erech Hashulchan 489:8; Ashel Avraham Butchach 489; Kaf Hachaim 489:83 and 89; Piskeiy Teshuvos 489:24; Poskim who permit counting with a blessing the future nights: Birkeiy Yosef 489:17 questions the ruling of the Beis David [brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah ibid]; The following Poskim rule it is to be recited: Beis Shlomo 1:102; Shoel Umeishiv Daled 3:127; Minchas Yitzchak 9:57; Piskeiy Teshuvos 489:24; Ruling of Admur in Shulchan Aruch: It is strongly implied from Admur 489:25 that one may not continue counting with a blessing. This is implied from the change of wording in Admur ibid from the wording of the Michaber 489:8. The Michaber ibid writes “However if one is in doubt if he skipped one day…” while Admur changes and writes “All this is in a case that one is certain that he missed one night, if however one is unsure, and he did not count the next day…” This change of wording implies that if one is certain that he did not count at night, then even if there is doubt as to whether he counted during the day, he may not continue counting with a blessing. If the former were to be true, then Admur should have used the same wording as the Michaber “If one missed one day” without mentioning the word night, Vetzaruch Iyun however as to what constitutes a Safek in the opinion of Admur. Take for example Bein Hashamshos, how would Admur rule in the case given regarding one who counted by Bein Hashmashos of the next day, as perhaps Bein Hashmashos is not considered a doubt being, that in actuality, we rule by Rabbinical matters that Bein Hashmashos is considered day:night. [This can be proven from 489:12 that Admur requires one who overheard a Sefirah by Bein Hashmashos to count without a blessing, hence proving he does not hold it involves a Sfek Sfeka.] Likewise, it seems from the above ruling in 489:12 that the dispute of whether today Sefira is Biblical or Rabbinical is also not considered a true Safek, and hence overhearing the Sefira by Bein Hashmashos is considered a single doubt. On the other hand perhaps there is a difference in the forms of Sfek Sfekas as explained in Halacha 17 in the footnote there, that there is a difference between the forms of Sfek Sfekas in this case and in the case in 489:24 [as brought in Yoreh Deah 110-111, and ruled in Admur 438:9] that a Sfek Sfeka is only given value when the two doubts each come with a separate claim, and thus there are two different claims for why one may continue counting Sefira. VeHashem Yair Eiyneinu!

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