In doubt if one missed a day of counting

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Is in doubt if missed a day:[1]

If one is in doubt as to whether he counted at night, and he did not count the next day, then he is nevertheless to continue counting with a blessing on the coming nights.[2]

Counting with a blessing in a case of other forms of doubts: The above rule applies for all cases in which there is a question as to whether one’s previous count was valid, and he was required to recount without a blessing and did not do so, nevertheless he is to continue to count on the coming nights with a blessing.

 

In the following cases there is a doubt as to whether one fulfilled his obligation, and he may hence continue to count with a blessing on the future nights:

  1. One counted the days and not the weeks at the end of a certain week [Day 7, 14, 21]. [One who counts just the days or just the weeks on one of the middle days fulfills his obligation and it is not considered a Safek. This applies even if he forgot to count at night and counted during the day, nevertheless he may continue to count the future nights with a blessing.[3]] See Halacha 7!
  2. One counted in letters as opposed to numbers.[4] If however, one counted in word abbreviations, he does not fulfill his obligation and cannot continue to count with a blessing. See Halacha 8!
  3. One who counted that night’s count by Bein Hashmashos, before nightfall, is Yotzei, and it is not considered a Safek. [See Halacha 3C!]
  4. Tzaruch Iyun regarding if one counted by Plag Hamincha and did not count later on.[5] [See Halacha 3C!]
  5. One replied to another regarding the day of Sefira that “Today is such and such” and did not re-count later on. If however this occurred by Plag Hamincha then Tzaruch Iyun if he may continue to count with a blessing.[6] [See Halacha 18!]
  6. One who heard the Sefira from another and had in mind to be Yotzei, is Yotzei, and it is not considered a Safek. If, however one did not have anything in mind when he heard the count, it is a single Safek if he is Yotzei, and seemingly he may continue to count with a blessing on the future nights.[7] [See Halacha 15 and 17]
  7. Wrote the Sefira: If one counted in writing and did not recount properly, he may nevertheless continue counting with a blessing on the future nights.[8]

 

In the following cases we rule that without doubt he did not fulfill his obligation, and he hence may not continue to count with a blessing on the future nights:

  1. One counted in word abbreviations [such as Lag Baomer], he does not fulfill his obligation and cannot continue to count with a blessing.[9] See Halacha 8!
  2. At the end of a week [7, 14, 21] one counted only the week and not the days. [See Halacha 7]
  3. One counted without saying the word Hayom. [See Halacha 8B]
  4. One counted in a language that he does not understand. [See Halacha 9]
  5. One counted the wrong day. [See Halacha 12C]
 

Q&A

If the validity of the count of the previous day is held in question on several grounds, may one continue to count with a blessing on the coming nights?[10]

In the event that the count of the previous day is held in question on more than one ground[11] [i.e. there are two reasons to invalidate the count, such as one who counted the next day by Bein Hashmashos] then some Poskim[12] rule he is to continue counting without a blessing.[13] Others[14] however rule he is to continue to count with a blessing. Practically one is to continue counting without a blessing and instead is to try to hear the blessing from another person.[15]

 

This dispute applies to any of the following cases:

1.       One counted the next day by Bein Hashmashos.[16]

2.       One knows for certain that he did not count at night and is in doubt if he counted the next day.[17]

3.       One did not count at night but heard the count from the Chazzan during the day.[18]

 

If one did not count at night and remembered the next day after Tzeis Hakochavim of the Geonim, but prior to Tzeis Hakochavim of Rabbeinu Tam, may he now count and continue to count the future nights with a blessing?[19]

No. If however, one is accustomed to follow Rabbeinu Tam regarding all matters, then he may continue to count with a blessing.

 

If one did not count Thursday night and remembered the next day after Kabalas Shabbos, may he now count and continue to count the future nights with a blessing?[20]

Yes.

 

If one was unsure of the date, and counted both dates without a blessing, may he continue to count with a blessing on the following nights?[21]

Yes.[22]

 

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[1] Admur 489:25; Michaber 489:8; Terumos Hadeshen 37; All Poskim brought in Halacha 20!

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that even by Sfek Sfeka we say Lihakel. [Lechem Chamudos Tzitzis 1; Mateh Efraim 619:7; Kitzur SHU”A 131:17; P”M Yoreh Deah 18 M”Z 16; Birkeiy Yosef 7:3; See Kaf Hachaim 17:7; and so is the final ruling of Admur in His Siddur as brought in Ketzos Hashulchan 7 footnote 3; Piskeiy Hassidur 42; Toras Menachem 5719 pages 230-233; See Peri Chadash 489:7-8 who is stringent regarding the case of one who counted by day, although is lenient in this case regarding the Sfek Sfeka if one counted by night. It seems clear that the Peri Chadash accepts Safek Sfeika Brachos Lihachmir at least in this case.] According to their opinion, in such a case it would end up that, one is to count the future nights without a blessing. See however Igros Kodesh 18:339 who concludes “Although one can challenge this ruling based on the many Poskim who rule Sfek Sfeika Lihakel, nevertheless, we will not swerve from the clear ruling in Shulchan Aruch simply due to a question.”

Tzaruch Iyun from Siddur: In the Siddur there are scenarios of Safek Sfeka in which Admur rules stringently that a blessing may not be said, despite the Safek Sfeka. [See Siddur regarding saying a blessing on a Tallis during Bein Hashmashos] In Toras Menachem 5719 pages 230-233 the Rebbe states based on this ruling that according to Admur in the Siddur we apply the rule of Safek Brachos Lihakel even by a Sfek Sfeka, and so writes Ketzos Hashulchan 7 footnote 3. Thus, the question is asked regarding if the final ruling in this case should also change, and based on the Siddur one should rule that a blessing should not to be said? One cannot answer that which was said previously, that there is a difference between a Safek Sfeka which makes the same claim and a Safek Sfeka that makes two different claims, as in the case of the Siddur there are two different claims, perhaps the Mitzvah of Tzitzis applies at night, and even if it doesn’t perhaps it is not yet night. Vetzaruch Iyun! See Igros Kodesh 18:339 who concludes “Although one can challenge this ruling based on the many Poskim who rule Sfek Sfeika Lihakel, nevertheless, we will not swerve from the clear ruling in Shulchan Aruch simply due to a question.”

[2] The reason: The reason for this is because there are two different sides [Safek Sfeka] to require a blessing to be recited. On the one hand, perhaps he did count at night [and is hence obligated to continue counting]. On the other hand, even if he did not count at night, perhaps we rule like those opinions who state that every night is its own individual Mitzvah and is independent of each other. Thus, we see there is a Sfek Sfeka to be stringent to require him to say a blessing and count on the other nights. [Admur ibid; Peri Chadash 489:8]

[3] Hisorerus Teshuvah 2:93; See Halacha 7!

[4] Olas Shabbos 489:1; M”B 489:38; Kaf Hachaim 489:24

[5] As we mainly rule like the opinion that says counting during this time is invalid and it is hence not a truly balanced Safek to create a full Safek Sfeka. [See 489:12; See Biur Halacha 489:3 “Mibiod Yom” that one who counted during Plag Hamincha may repeat the blessing and counting at night, and the blessing is not in vain, as his previous count was not valid at all.] However, see 489:15 which implies that it is considered a balanced Safek to create a Safek Sfeka;

[6] As now there are two doubts which claim that he did not fulfill the Mitzvah that day and hence perhaps it is not considered a strong enough doubt to create a Sfek Sfeka.

[7] At first glance it seems that there are two doubts which claim that he did not fulfill the Mitzvah that day, as a) he did not have intent and b) perhaps one must always count himself and hence perhaps it is not considered a strong enough doubt to create a Sfek Sfeka. However, in truth, according to Admur’s final ruling one is Yotzei through hearing the Sefira and it is only initially that one should not do so, and hence there is only a single doubt as to whether he fulfilled his obligation that day. Now, this doubt can join the Sfek Sfeika to justify him continuing with a blessing on the future nights.

[8] See Halacha 8; Zichron Yehuda 146; Yabia Omer 4:43 Piskeiy Teshuvos 489:21

[9] Implication of Admur ibid as explained below; Sheilas Yaavetz 139; Siddur Yaavetz Halacha 11; Birkeiy Yosef 489:9 “I lean towards this opinion, however it’s good to recount without a blessing”, brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah ibid

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that he fulfills his obligation even in such a case. [Get Pashut ibid; Kneses Hagedola ibid as understood by Sheilas Yaavetz ibid, and Shaareiy Teshuvah ibid, and Kaf Hachaim ibid; and Piskiey Teshuvos 489:11; [however not listed by Birkeiy Yosef ibid to hold this way]

[10] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 489:24

[11] This means that there is a Sfek Sfeka if the counting of the previous day was valid, and not just a mere Safek if it was valid.

[12] 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; Implication of Admur 489:25 “one night”

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!

[13] The reason: As the questionability of his previous day’s count is not considered a true Safek to join a Safek Sfeka and allow the counting to be done with a blessing. [ibid]

[14] 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

[15] Kaf Hachaim 489:83; Nitei Gavriel 36:5; Implication of Admur ibid, as explained above; See Ketzos T Ketzos Hashulchan 7 footnote 3 and Toras Menachem 5719 pages 230-233 that according to Admur in the Siddur we apply the rule of Safek Brachos Lihakel even by a Sfek Sfeka, and thus seemingly certainly in this case where it’s a Safek if it’s a Sfek Sfeka one should be stringent.

[16] This is the case example disputed by the Poskim ibid, Vetzaruch Iyun regarding Admur’s opinion in this case as perhaps 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. [This can be perhaps 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.] Hence, Bedieved, even when counting by Bein Hashmashos it is considered as certain that he counted during the day, and hence there is only one Safek on that days count, which is whether the day count is valid or not. Vetzaruch Iyun!

[17] Implication of Admur ibid, brought in previous footnotes, is that he may not count with a blessing; Erech Hashulchan 489:8 and Kaf Hachaim 489:89 rule he is to count the future nights without a blessing; Piskeiy Teshuvos 489:21 writes he may continue to count with a blessing

The reason: As there are two doubts which claim that he did not fulfill the Mitzvah that day, as a) perhaps he did not say it and b) perhaps the day counting is not valid even if he did say it. Thus, perhaps it is not considered a strong enough doubt to create a Sfek Sfeka.

[18] As there are two doubts which claim that he did not fulfill the Mitzvah that day, as a) Perhaps one cannot be Yotzei with someone else’s count and b) perhaps the day counting is not valid even if he did say it. Thus, perhaps it is not considered a strong enough doubt to create a Sfek Sfeka.

[19] Minchas Yitzchak 9:57; Piskeiy Teshuvos 489:24

[20] Shaareiy Teshuvah 489:4; Igros Moshe 4:99; Shraga Hamier 6:41; Piskeiy Teshuvos 489:24; See regarding Shofar for a similar ruling: Taz 600:2; Erech Hashulchan 600:2; Elya Raba 601; Ikarei Daat 30:24; M”E 601:13; Chayeh Adam 144:20; M”B 600:7

The reason: As one does not intend to accept Shabbos to the point that he can’t fulfill the Mitzvah of Shofar. Likewise if the Sages permit doing a Mitzvah during Bein Hashmashos then certainly they permit it before Bein Hashmashos, after he accepted Shabbos. However a blessing may not be made as this shows that he is doing so for the sake of the Mitzvah and it hence carries the decree of Raba that one should not blow Shofar for the Mitzvah on Shabbos. [Taz ibid; Vetzaruch Iyun as Admur rules in 261:3 that accepting Shabbos is more severe than Bein Hashmashos regarding doing Rabbinical Melacha; See Sefer Hachaim; Yalkut Gershoni 30; Maharsham 3:333; Divrei Yisrael 165]

[21] Nitei Gavriel 35:20

[22] As it is a Sfek Sfeka, as it is disputed in Achronim as to whether one fulfills his obligation with a questionable count. See Halacha 11 in Q&A!

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