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Laws of Counting the Omer

Exemptions and Laws of Individuals (women, old and sick, bereaved, children)

22)                  Women are exempt from counting the Omer. Yet, some authorities state that women have “accepted the mitzvah upon themselves.” Nonetheless, even those women who count should preferably could without a blessing.

23)                  One who is dangerously ill may count the Omer with a blessing, and need not be concerned that he will be unable to complete the count.

24)                  One whose close relative died before he counted the Omer should only count after the burial, provided the burial is before sunset.

25)                  If it is possible that the burial will be delayed until after sunset, one should count immediately without reciting a blessing, and return to count for the remainder of the count with a blessing. If he did not count for the duration of the night and the following day, he cannot continue to count with a blessing.

26)                  Children who have reached the age of chinuch should be trained in counting the Omer.

27)                  A child who reaches the age of bar-mitzvah during the Omer count, may continue to count with a blessing. Some have written that he should continue the count without a blessing.

Those who Might not Complete the Count

28)                  Somebody who knows that he is forgetful, or knows that he is liable to forget to count on account of any reason, may begin to count with a blessing. Of course, he should be careful to complete the count, and not to forget to count on any day.

29)                  One who has to undergo an operation or physical procedure, and will be unable to count for an entire night and day, may begin to count with a blessing. If, on account of the operation, he fails to count for an entire day, he continues to count without a blessing.

30)                  One who was unable to count for one day or more due to illness, cannot continue to count the Omer with a blessing, and continues to count without a blessing.

Eating and Other Activities before Counting

31)                  A person who has no fixed time for praying Arvis must pray and count the Omer at nightfall, and may not eat or perform other labors before he prays and counts.

32)                  Even after he has prayed, but has not yet counted the Omer, such as when Arvis was prayed before sunset, may not eat until he counts the Omer. Therefore, one should be careful to recite the Shema and to count the Omer immediately at nightfall—for instance, before making Kiddush.

33)                  One who prays Arvis daily at a fixed time, or one who is present in a communal place where Arvis is prayed at a fixed time, may eat before the time of prayer arrives.

34)                  Even if one has no fixed time, one may eat before praying Arvis and counting the Omer by means of appointing a ‘guard’ to remind him to pray and count the Omer.

35)                  If one forgets to count the Omer, and remembers after the Shacharis prayer that he has not yet counted, the proscription on eating applies just as at night.

36)                  A women who regularly prays Arvis, and to count after praying, may not eat until she prays and counts the Omer.

37)                  One who follows the opinion of the Geonim concerning the time of nightfall (approximately twenty minutes after sunset) may eat before sunset.

38)                  One who follows the opinion of Rabbeinu Tam concerning the time of nightfall (72 minutes after sunset) may not eat from half an hour before nightfall (from 42 minutes after sunset).

39)                  One who has started to eat before sunset need not stop eating after nightfall in order to count the Omer. Yet, if he began to eat after sunset he must stop eating. However, he is able to appoint a ‘guard’ to ensure that he is reminded to count (and to pray Arvis) later, and thereby continue to eat. If he is part of a yeshiva or in a communal place, he may also rely on the fixed time of prayer.

40)                  One who completed his meal, and needs to count the Omer and to recite Grace after Meals, may choose which of the two to do first. On Shabbos and Yom Tov, however, he must recite Grace after Meals first.

41)                  The Omer should be counted before the Sanctification of the Moon. However, where there is a concern that the moon will soon become hidden by clouds, one should recite Kiddush Levanah and only then count the Omer.

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