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Hayom Yom

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Rabbi Yoel Lieberman

Adar I 21, 5782
Question
Hi, The Mechilta writes that there is a mitzvah to count towards Shabbos. I have two questions regarding this. Number one, can this mitzvah be performed twice a day. And if it can how come no one is machmir to call the days of the week yom ploni lishabbat instead of Sunday.
Answer
ב"ה Shalom Your question branches off to many different aspects of remembering Shabbat and how each aspect is inferred from the Torah, and I really wish I had the time to write an article about this, which this subject really deserves, however I am afraid I don't have the time for that so you will have to suffice with a concise answer. The Mechilta R. Yishmael (( מכילתא דרבי ישמעאל יתרו - מסכתא דבחדש פרשה ז indeed writes : Elazar b. Chananiah b. Garon says: "Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it": Remember it from the first day of the week, so that if you come upon a nice portion , ready it for the sake of Sabbath. R. Yitzchak says: Do not count (the days) as others count, but count them with reference to the Sabbath (e.g., "Today is the first day of the Sabbath") and elsewhere in the Mechilta (מכילתא דרבי שמעון בר יוחאי (אפשטין-מלמד) שמות (פרשת יתרו) פרק כ פסוק ח) It states: R. Yehuda ben Betira says, from where do you infer that when you count (the days of the week) , count them as "The first day of Shabbat, the second day of Shabbat, the third day of Shabbat? The Torah says "remember". The Ramban on the Torah (Shemot 20:8) quotes the Mechilta and says that in line with the plain meaning of the Torah , the Rabbis have said that this verse commands us that we should always remember the Sabbath on every day. He then quotes R. Yitzchak from the Mechilta as we mentioned above and says that the meaning is that unlike other nations , Israel counts all days with reference to the Sabbath: “.”Today is the first day of the Sabbath, the second day of the Shabbat.." "This is of the essence of the commandment which we have been obligated always to remember the Sabbath every day [of the week]. This is the literal meaning of the verse, and so did Rabbi Abraham ibn Ezra interpret it." What we learn here is as you said that according the understanding of the Ramban of the Mechilta and also of Ibn Ezra, (also Rabbenu Bechayye on the Torah) there is an actual Mitzva to count the days of the week in connection to Shabbat. Among the Rishonim, this opinion also appears in the Ritva (ריטב"א ר"ה ג א ד"ה חדא) Among the Achronim we can find this in Mekor Chaim (ס"ג, ) in the Shelah Hakadosh, Sefer Charedim and Menorat Hamaor. מקור חיים , של בעל חוות יאיר ס' רע" ס"ג, של"ה מסכת חולין , תורה אור אור קי"א, רבי משה אזכרי , ספר חרדים מצוות עשה פרק ד, במנורת המאור נר ג' כלל ד' ח"ז , אות קנה פרק א ) Halacha Le'maseh, we find the obligation of counting the days of the week in reference to Shabbat in the Chayye Adam, Aruch Hashulchan, Chikrei Lev, Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata, and Piskei Teshuvot. (חיי אדם הלכות שבת כלל א, סעיף א, ערוך השולחן אורח חיים סימן רמב סעיף ב, חקרי לב או"ח ח"א סי' לג, שמירת שבת כהלכתה חלק ב פרק מב : ג הערה יא , פסקי תשובות סי' ר"ן אות ו. This is the reason why we mention in Shir Shel Yom, היום יום ראשון לשבת, היום יום שני לשבת. See Siddur Yavetz and Siddurim of the Mekubalim. סידור היעב"ץ בשיר של יום, סידור המקובל ר' שבתי מרשקוב; שער הכולל לסידור תורה אור פי"א; ומובא בסידור צלותא דאברהם עמ' שפ"ו כף החיים סי' קלב ס"ק כו בשם שער הכוונות. It is also brought in Hilchot Gittin, and that is why on a Get and Ketuba , the days of the week are mentioned as Yom Rishon leshabbat , sheni Beshabbat (שו"ע אבן עזר סי' קס"ו, ס"ג וערוך השולחן סי' קס"ו ס"ק י) Now in specific regard to your question, once a person has said "Shir Shel Yom" and has counted the day of the week in reference to Shabbat, the Rema (שולחן ערוך קלב:ב ) says that Shir Shel Yom is not said at Mincha. Your second question poses a bigger problem, because many of the aforementioned references (among them : Ramban, Sefer Charedim , Mekor Chaim) say that the Jewish way of counting the days in reference to Shabbat is to exclude the way the nations call their weekdays which sometimes refer to idol worship. In Piskei Teshuvot, (סי' ר"ן הערה 32 ) he quotes two sources which defend the use of the names of the week such as Sunday or Monday unlike how the Ramban stipulated. All the best
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