Friday, May 26, 2006

Sefira - one unit or 49 mitzvos? Waiting for nightfall for ma'ariv on Shavuos

According to the opinion of the Ba’al Halachos Gedolos (BH”G), the mitzvah of sefira is to count 'sheva shabbasos temimos', seven complete weeks, and therefore, if one misses counting sefira on any single night, the entire mitzvah is lost. Tosfos (Megillah 20b) disagrees, and holds even if one misses one night, one may count the remainder of the nights. Many explain (based on the Rosh) that the issue at stake is whether sefiras ha’omer is one mitzvah encompassing 49 days, in which missing a day renders the entire unit void, or whether counting each day is a separate mitzvah.
Even though on a regular Shabbos or Yom Tov one may accept Shabbos/Yom Tov early, the popular minhag follows the Taz who writes that on leil Shavuos which brings the omer count to a close one is not permitted to daven ma’ariv before tzais hakochavim, actual nightfall. The reason behind this chumra is in order to make sure the final day of sefira is “complete”, i.e. the criteria of “temimos” is met.
I am sure there is an easy answer I am missing, but I do not understand this fully. If sefira is one unit of 49 days, I understand the logic of seeing the unit to completion on the last day by waiting until nightfall. But if each day is a seperate mitzva, then shouldn't the criteria of 'temimos' be applied to eacy day (rather than to the unit as a whole) individually? If so, on any given Friday night (or weekday night, although less common a practice) during the sefira period one should not be permitted to daven ma’ariv early because in doing so one is subtracting time from the individual day and rendering it incomplete. I have never heard anyone suggest such an idea. Why not?

16 comments:

  1. Tal Benschar12:03 PM

    First of all, the Taz's chumra may be only acc. to the BeHaG and not Tosafos.

    But apart from that, let me venture a completely speculative answer. First, though, I need to tell you a psak I once got about sefirah when I was in college. Someone at the minyan had forgotten to count Thursday night. On Friday he davened early kabbolos Shabbos. Then he suddenly remembered having forgotten to count. It was still daylight, but he had already accepted Shabbos. If he counted then, could this person then continue counting with a beracha and Motzaei Shabbos and going forward (i.e. same as if he had not been mekabel Shabbos as per the accepted psak that if one forgot at night and then counts by day one can continue on subsequent nights with a beracha.)

    The psak was he may continue counting with a beracha on subsequent nights. The reasoning given was that accepting Shabbos early does NOT change the date, it is simply accepting kedushas shabbos earlier. So that the DATE is Friday with kedushas Shabbos. Hence his counting was on Friday.

    If you accept this psak, then accepting early shabbos has nothing to do with sefiras ha Omer. Indeed, shabbos can fall out on any of the days of the Omer, so there is no contradiction between the two. Tonight, for example, Shabbos will be on the 44th day of the Omer, but it could just as easily be the 43rd or 45th.

    The kedusha of the Yom Tov of Shavuos, however, is fundamentally different. By definition, Shavuos is on the day after the counting 49 days of the Omer. If you say that now there is kedushas Yom Tov shel Shavuos, you are by definition saying that Sefira is over. So if we accepted Yom Tov early on the 49th day of the Omer, then we are cutting short the Omer period and, acc. to the Taz, there is a lack of Temimos.

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  2. I don't have a S.A. with me (at work) to give you the exact mareh makom, but counting after kabbalas shabbos is the same issue discussed in Yoreh De'ah with respect to a hefesk tahara done after kabbalas shabbos but before nacht, how to count the 7 neki'im.
    Secondly, you assume that tosefes Y"T is the same kedusha as that of Y"T itself. See here http://divreichaim.blogspot.com/2006/04/tosefes-yt-extension-of-kedushas-yt-or.html
    If tosefes is just an issur melecha, but not an extension of the kedushas Y"T, then the questions still stands, no? See R' Menachem Genack's sefer where he presents the Taz in light of this chakira.

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  3. Tal Benschar12:46 PM

    "If tosefes is just an issur melecha, but not an extension of the kedushas Y"T, then the questions still stands, no? See R' Menachem Genack's sefer where he presents the Taz in light of this chakira."

    Probably true, but if you hold that tosefes Yom Tov is merely accepting an issur melacha, then the whole Taz is shver, regardless of whether you hold like the Tosafos or the Behag.

    (BTW, one of the problems I have with saying that Tosefes Yom Tov or Tosefes Shabbos, for that matter, is merely accepting an issur melacha is how can one make kiddush at that time? I thought the gemara was quite clear that Rav made early kiddush, not just davened early.)

    In any case, I think my original point still stands -- there is a basic stira between kedushas Yom Tov shel Shavuos and Sefira which is not the case as to Kedushas Shabbos. That seems to be the basis of the Taz.

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  4. I agree - if you hold tosefes is only an issur melacha, the Taz doesn't work! I am only adding the problem of early shabbos for any week. AS to how you can say kiddush early, either you rely on the Rambam that you can say kiddush on Friday even before Shabbos because the mitzva is to welcome the shabbos before it gets there, or, you rely on the Mordechai, which we discussed http://divreichaim.blogspot.com/2006/04/mechuyav-derabbanan-being-motzi.html
    and also see Chaim Markowitz's discussion of the same topic.

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  5. Anonymous2:03 PM

    lefi aniyas daati the behag is not so poshut- particularly with the tosfos in menochos 66a quoting the behag differently than the tosfos in megiloh 20b. it seems that there is a tremendous stira within the shito of the behag or at minimum with the way he is quoted. however the behag itself(al pi pashtus) hilchos atzeres amud 185(according to bar ilan) seems to be like menochos.

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  6. Anon - can you explain a bit? You mean the difference in the way Tos. quotes BH"G with respect to whether you say a bracha? Sorry, I don't have a bar ilan cd

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  7. I actually spoke about this a couple of years ago.

    Rabbi Adler in his sefer Iyun B'lomdus has the Taz as a nafka mina between whether Tosefes Shabbos is a chelek of Yom Tov or a different "cheftza" and not part of Yom Tov itself. Rabbi Adler doesn't address whether this means it is just an issur melacha or something more. The Taz holds Tosefes Yom Tov is part of Yom Tov.

    Also, the Taz could be l'shitaso in a few other places. for example, when m'kabeil Shimini Atzeres early, Taz holds no shailah of leishev b'sukkah since it is clearly not Sukkos. The Maharshal disagrees.

    Also, the Mishnas Ya'avetz has a piece on this and he says the same sevara as Tal regarding Shavuous, namely that according to the Taz once you accept Shavuous, the Omer period is over and you no longer have temimus. However, he quotes the Taz in Hil Sukkos 668 that sefirah must be done at night, even if m'kabeil Shabbos early. The Mishnes Ya'avetz says maybe the Taz requires sefirah to be done when it is laylah for the whole world.

    He doesn't address Chaim B.'s question of temimus. But if you say the mitzvah of omer is dependent on laylah then it might answer the question. (Which is what I think Tal was saying)

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  8. Somewhere in Shiurim l'Zecher Aba Mari (sorry, can't be more specific as to where) the Rav writes that sefira (at least acc to Rambam) is not a din in layla like other mitzvos halayla. The reason to start counting at the start of the night is based purely on the consideration of temimos.
    Your comment on not counting Fri night until tzais just reinforces my kashe - you see that the kedushas hayom of shabbos does not transform the day into night, so by Shvuos also, the last day is tamim irrespective of the impact of kedushas hayom (assuming again that the kedushas hayom is a generic issur melacha). Bottom line: it seems you have to say this Taz plays out well according to one tzad of how to understand tosefes.

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  9. >>assuming again that the kedushas hayom is a generic issur melacha).

    Except we are saying the Taz doesn't hold it is an issur melacha.

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  10. Anonymous5:03 PM

    exactly- the way the behag is quoted in the tosfosim is very different- almost the opposite. the behag itself is:: ספר הלכות גדולות סימן יב - הלכות עצרת עמוד קפה

    אמר אביי (מנחות סו א) מצוה למימני יומי ומצוה למימני שבועי. והיכא דאנשי ולא בריך על ספירת העומר מאורתא, מברך למחר.

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  11. There seems to be an inherent contradiction between the Taz holding that one should wait until after nightfall to bring in Shavuos in order to preserve temmimus with the omer, and the halacha quoted in the name of the Taz that one should count sefira at night even if one is mekabel Shabbos early. L'shitaso, if one is mekabel Shabbos early, then it is no longer chol (just like if one brings in Shevuos early, the omer has ended), so why not be able to count sefira earlier at the time of accepting Shabbos? It could be as Tal suggested that the Taz perceives tosefes shabbos differently than tosefes yom tov insofar as tosefes shabbos is merely an acceptance of issur melacha but doesn't transform the nature of the day, whereas tosefes yom tov is transformative. Why should there be a difference? To expand on Tal's point, conceptually, one can say that since Hashem created the concept of Shabbos, does man really have the power to alter the nature of Friday? Vis a vis Shabbos, isn't man really limited to voluntarily accepting upon himself the restrictions of Shabbos? Whereas, in contrast, we know that it is the declaration of man that establishes Yom Tov, so clearly there is more leeway here for individuals to transform chol into yom tov. Hence, while Taz seems to accept Tosafos' understanding of each day of the omer constituting a mitzvah (as per his opinion to wait until night to count even if mekabel Shabbos early), he is not bothered by the issue of being mekabel Shabbos early destroying the temimus of the "omer" day falling prior to Shabbos. Yet, he is bothered by the idea of being mekabel Shavous early destroying the temimus of the last day (or the full 7 weeks as per Behag).

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  12. >>The psak was he may continue counting with a beracha on subsequent nights. The reasoning given was that accepting Shabbos early does NOT change the date, it is simply accepting kedushas shabbos earlier. So that the DATE is Friday with kedushas Shabbos. Hence his counting was on Friday.<<

    I wonder if the psak would have been different if this yeshiva bachur had already made kiddush - even though it was still daylight - and remembered after kiddush.

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