Beit Midrash

  • Shabbat and Holidays
  • The Laws of Sefirat Ha'omer
To dedicate this lesson

Is "Sefira" a Personal or Communal Obligation?


Rabbi Stewart Weiss

Nissan 25 5781
Sefira is indeed a "strange bird." On the one hand, it seems to be a 49-day "package" (or 50 days, if you count Shavuot) with the days inextricably linked to one another, such that if one forgets to count on any of the days - or counts the wrong day! - then he cannot continue counting the remaining days with a bracha. Yet rather than make one bracha at the beginning of the count, and one at the end, we make 49 separate blessings, implying that each day is self-contained!

Rav Soloveichik infers that Sefira is both personal and communal, sending the message that while each of us stands alone as an valuable, irreplaceable Tzelem Elokim, we also are part of the broader communityt. This duality is emphasized by the fact that even after we hear the leader count the Omer, and we answer "Amen," we then go and make our own bracha!
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