Monday, April 16, 2007

Le'Shem Yichud & Sefiras HaOmer

Sefiras HaOmer in my siddur

Daily Halacha.com:

The obligation to count the Omer applies nowadays only on the level of Rabbinic enactment, and therefore one who recites the "Le'shem Yichud" introduction before counting must omit the words "Mitzvat Asei Shel Sefirat Ha'omer," which refers to the counting as a Biblical command.

23 Comments:

At April 16, 2007 at 8:11:00 AM EDT, Blogger Cosmic X said...

This is the opinion of Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef Shlita.

It is true that the accepted opinion is that sefirat haomer is only derabbanan nowadays.

He is my own (layman's) thought on the matter:

I don't think that saying "k'mo shekatuv batorah" necessary implies that the person thinks that he is fulfilling the mitzvah deoraita. I think that one can say the leshem yichud as it is printed in the siddurim, but just have intention that the mitzvah is not necessarily deoraita today.

 
At April 16, 2007 at 10:31:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Talmid said...

There were tzadikim who said "Mitzva Shel Sefiras Haomer" instead of "Mitzvas Asei Shel Sefiras Haomer". It is also said over from one of the Tzadikim that we keep the wording as "Mitzvas Asei Shel Sefiras Haomer", to show that we are hoping that by the end of sefira we will have a Beis Hamikdash and Sefiras HaOmer will once again be a "Mitzvas Aseh".

 
At April 16, 2007 at 10:48:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the one who wrote the above halacha Rabbi Eli Mansour is a great Rabbi and speaker. Just bear in mind that this psak is for Sephardim. the custom of those Ahkenazim that do say Lshem Yichud is to say the standard text in the siddurim unless your Rabbi tells you otherwise.

 
At April 16, 2007 at 2:26:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

What is the basic meaning of the standard "LeShem Yichud..." formula? HaShem is eternally One.

 
At April 16, 2007 at 2:44:00 PM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

I have a better question. How can you have a world with many different things? Hashem is One after all.

 
At April 16, 2007 at 3:19:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

If we're imaginary, ASJ must be, too. Did anyone tell him?

 
At April 16, 2007 at 3:41:00 PM EDT, Anonymous moshe said...

A Yid: I would really love to hear the answer from you.

 
At April 17, 2007 at 8:44:00 AM EDT, Blogger yitz said...

ASJ - It seems to me that you should add a "disclaimer" to the body of your post, as it is not universally accepted as Halacha. I believe there are some opinions that it is still d'Oraysa, and even if it's d'Rabbanam, as others have mentioned, it may not preclude saying the tradiitonal "L'Shem Yichud."
Bob - Your question could be asked on the verse we say every day [from the Navi Zechariah] in the Aleinu: "on that day, Hashem will be One, and His Name One." What does that mean?
Obviously, we are referring to the RECOGNITION of the Unity of Hashem, not only by the Jewish People, but by the entire world. Similarly, the "unification" of "Kudsha brich Hu" and "Shechintei", of the Holy One, Blessed be He, and the Divine Presence, must be referring to a more RECOGNIZED version of Hashem's Unity.

 
At April 17, 2007 at 9:58:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note the precise words of Rabbi Mansour "and therefore one who recites the "Le'shem Yichud" introduction before counting". What is implied in those words is that some do not say Leshem yichud. It is known that Misnagdim don't say it. However, R. Mansour is Sephardic. He is implying that some Sephardim don't say it either. Worthy of note.

 
At April 17, 2007 at 10:09:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Chabadnik said...

Lubavitchers do not say this either.

 
At April 17, 2007 at 10:46:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

Thanks to all who improved on and answered my question. I had thought the matter of recognition could be the basis of this formula, but I wondered (and still do) what is gained here by using esoteric language.

 
At April 17, 2007 at 12:58:00 PM EDT, Blogger Fedora Black said...

True, the siddur of the Baal HaTanya (at least the Tehillas Hashem version) does not have L'shem Yichud before counting the Omer. However, this is consistent with a lack of L'shem Yichud throughout the siddur.

Yet in light of Rav Mansour's comment and the Baal HaTanya's rather sephardic version of Nusach sfard/ari, I wonder if the lack of L'shem Yichud before counting the Omer reflects that the Baal HaTanya holds the mitzvah is rabbinic.

 
At April 17, 2007 at 3:46:00 PM EDT, Blogger yitz said...

FB - In Shulchan Aruch HaRav [Baal HaTanya], Siman 489, s'if 2, he writes: "And this mitzva applies both in Eretz Yisrael and in Chutz La'aretz, whether or not the Beis HaMikdash is standing. And some say that in our day that there is no Beis HaMikdash, and we no longer have the Omer sacrifice, this mitzva is no longer from the Torah but 'mi'divrei Sofrim' [D'Rabbanan], who ordained it as a Zecher [remembrance] L'Mikdash, and this is the main thing. Nevertheless, whatever our Sages ordained, they did as in the Torah, and there is no difference..."

 
At April 17, 2007 at 3:49:00 PM EDT, Blogger yitz said...

Bob, you wrote: I wondered (and still do) what is gained here by using esoteric language.
The Sages of the Kaballah, and those Chassidim and others who followed in their ways, obviously deemed it important for the Jewish neshama to recite this "formula", if you will. Just because we don't understand it, does not mean there is nothing gained.

 
At April 17, 2007 at 5:45:00 PM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

Bob Miller: It is not more unusual here as before any other mitzvo. Saying something verbally improves one's kavono as known.

Yichud Kudhso Brih Hu uSchintey is a central point of all our avoydo. Saying differently - yichud of Z"o and Malchus. Or you can say - mayin duchrin and mayin nukvin etc. There are lots of different perspectives on this, but it is one of the fundamental concepts in general in Kabolo and Chasidus. If you'll learn enough of Talmidey Baal Shem Tov and Maggid it wouldn't be so obscure to you. If you learn Zohar and classical mekubolim - Rama"k and Ari za"l - they have a plenty of material about it.

Through our acts of mitzvoys we reveal the achdus in this world, but not only this, we actually elevate it in a sence, raising Schino from golus. You have to contemplate it deeply, because it is the purpose of all our avoydo. Otherwise it will be "mitzvoys anoshim melumodo".

 
At April 17, 2007 at 7:19:00 PM EDT, Blogger yaak said...

Some Sephardic Siddurim do, in fact, have the "KeDichtiv..." phrase included in the Leshem Yihud, so when I pray for a synagogue that has the custom not to say it, I make sure to take the Hazon Ovadia Siddur.

 
At April 18, 2007 at 1:24:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Conservative Chossid said...

The Minchas Elazar was extremely medakdek about all of the intricacies of his nusach -- yet he redacts this "Le-shem Yichud" the common way, with the phrase "mitzvas asei shel..."

This is probably consistent with the view of the Baal HaTanya stated above (even though the Baal HaTanya is not gores the "Le-shem yichud," ke-shittaso).

Bi-kitzur: one should stick to the Siddur that is his minhag, and not play around with nus'chos except with the guidance of an "adam gadol."

 
At April 18, 2007 at 7:47:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

A Yid said,
"Otherwise it will be 'mitzvoys anoshim melumodo'."

That's my point. The formula itself can be the same way if not understood. Today, can you guesstimate what percent of people using it know its implications and reflect on them as they recite it?

 
At April 18, 2007 at 8:30:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Talmid said...

Conservative Chossid said...
The Minchas Elazar was extremely medakdek about all of the intricacies of his nusach -- yet he redacts this "Le-shem Yichud" the common way, with the phrase "mitzvas asei shel..."
=========================
Minchas Elazar is one of the tzadikim who held (as I wrote above)that we keep the wording to show that we are hoping that by the end of sefira we will have a Beis Hamikdash and therefore Sefiras HaOmer will once again be a Mitzvas Aseh d'Oraisa. With this kavana it is a great additional way to show that we are "metzapim liyishua"

 
At April 18, 2007 at 4:03:00 PM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

Bob Miller: so? This can be applied to any part of tfilo. This formula is not any more unusual in this way, as anything else.

For example - a formula "A' sfosay tiftoch". How often do you contemplate on its purpose before every Shmoyne Esre?

 
At April 19, 2007 at 8:55:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Bob Miller said...

I agree that it's just as easy to glide through an "introductory formula to promote kavvanah" as it is to glide through the prayers themselves. So, wouldn't it help most people if the formula was less esoteric? It was not meant to be said with little or no understanding of its implications.

 
At April 19, 2007 at 11:14:00 AM EDT, Anonymous A Yid said...

Bob Miller: All our avoydo is deeply esoteric. You can't escape it, even if you don't exactly understand how it is. Making it "less esoteric" wouldn't help. Someone who doesn't think about it isn't really interested in avoydo.

 
At July 29, 2007 at 11:40:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suggest those who are able to check out Sh'ut Divrei Yatziv O.C. vol. 2 214:4 by the Tzanz-Klausenberger Rebbe zt'l.

IIUC he rules that instead of saying:

l'kayim mitzvas aseh shel s'firas haomer k'mo shekasuv b'torah

read

L'kayim mitzvas sefiras haomer v'kasuv b'Torah

He also apparently mentions that there is a concern about the issur of "bal tosif" by implying a rabbinic is a d'oraisa. (Based on my poor reading of Halichos Chaim on Pesach.

 

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