Sefiras Haomer for A Bar Mitzvah Bachur

A Dvar Torah from Rav Shlomo Aviner, Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim
Q: If a boy becomes a bar mitzvah during the period of Sefirat Ha-Omer, should he continue to count Sefirat Ha-Omer with a blessing after his bar mitzvah?
A: He may continue to count Sefirat Ha-Omer with a blessing based on three reasons:
1. Although he did not have an obligation to count before his bar mitzvah, he nonetheless counted. Counting is counting.
2. He had a rabbinic obligation of “chinuch – education” to count before his bar mitzvah and the mitzvah of Sefirat Ha-Omer is a rabbinic mitzvah in our time. Both obligations are therefore rabbinic in nature, and one rabbinic obligation can join with the other rabbinic obligation. Nonetheless there can be discussions whether these obligations are equal since perhaps before he is a bar mitzvah there are two rabbinic laws and after he is a bar mitzvah there is only one rabbinic law.
3. There is also an opinion among the Rishonim (early authorities) which states that each day of Sefirat Ha-Omer is a separate mitzvah. There is a dispute whether there is one mitzvah to count all forty-nine days or whether each and every day is a mitzvah in and of itself. In this dispute, the halachic authorities rule that we are strict not to continue counting with a blessing if we forget to count one day because of a doubt which opinion is correct (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 489:8). In our case, however, since we are combining a few reasons together, we can say that perhaps the opinion which states that each day of counting is a mitzvah in and of itself is the correct one.
There is in fact a dispute regarding our question. Some authorities rule that a bar mitzvah should not continue to count with a blessing. These include: Shut Pri Ha-Aretz (3:1), Shut Har Tzvi (2:76) and Ha-Rav Ovadiah Yosef in Shut Yechaveh Daat (3:29). Other authorities rule that a bar mitzvah should continue to count with a blessing, including: Shaarei Teshuvah on the Shulchan Aruch (ibid.), Shut Ketav Sofer (Orach Chaim #99), Aruch Ha-Shulchan (ibid. #15) and Shut Teshuvot Ve-Hanhagot of Ha-Rav Moshe Sternbuch (1:313).
Based on a combination of the three above reasons, I say that one should follow the authorities who rule that a bar mitzvah should continue to count Sefirah with a blessing. Even though the basic mitzvah is to count and one who counts even without a blessing fulfills the mitzvah, the reality is that one who counts without a blessing feels that he is not really counting. This idea is mentioned in “Shearim Metzuyanim Ba-Halachah” (vol. 3 p. 129). This feeling is not correct and it is not a halachic factor, but it is an additional incentive to rule that a bar mitzvah should continue to count Sefirat Ha-Omer with a blessing.

 

About tasteofyeshiva

RABBI YAIR FRIEDMAN teaches at The Torah School of Greater Washington, and Yeshiva L' Baalei Batim. He is the owner and director of Camp Gevaldig LLC.
This entry was posted in Pesach, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.