Listen to an in-depth shiur on the halachos of Sfiras Ha’Omer delivered by Rabbi Yossi Shusterman, shliach in Beverly Hills, and member of the Vaad Rabbonei Lubavitch.
Does Saying “Lag B’Omer” Count as Sefira?
By Rabbi Yaakov Goldstein of Shulchanaruchharav.com
Counting in numbers versus letters.
One is to count the sefira in number digits [אחד, שתים] as opposed to letters [i.e. א, ב, ג]. If one counted in letters and not in numbers, such as he said “Today is alef or beis or gimmel of the omer”, then there is a dispute as to whether or not he fulfilled his obligation. Practically, one is to repeat the count without a brochoh. [If one did not do so, he may nevertheless continue counting with a blessing the following nights.]
What is the halochoh if one counted in roshei teivos/abbreviations?
In the above halochoh, The Alter Rebbe concludes that one who counted in letters is subject to a dispute in poskim and is thus required to recount without a blessing. The question raised is asked as to what is the definition of letters, is it limited to letter abbreviations [example 1] or does the dispute extend even to word abbreviations? [example 2].
- Example 1: One said on the 33rd night “Today is Lamed Gimel Baomer”
- Example 2: One said on the 33rd night “Today is Lag Baomer”
Letter abbreviation-Example 1: One who counted that night in a letter abbreviation, such as instead of saying thirty-three he said the letters Lamed Gimel, then it is subject to the same dispute mentioned above regarding one who counted in letters, and he is to recount that night without a blessing, but may continue to count the future nights with a blessing, even if he did not recount.
Word abbreviation-Example 2: One who counted in a word abbreviation of the number night, such as instead of saying thirty-three, and instead of saying the letters Lamed Gimel, he said the word Lag, is not subject to the above-mentioned dispute, and he does not fulfill his obligation and is to recount with a blessing. Some poskim, however, rule that he fulfills his obligation even in such a case according to the lenient opinion above, [so long as the word abbreviation is commonly used for that number]. Practically, according to the Alter Rebbe it is implied that he must repeat the count with a blessing in all cases of Abbreviations. [Accordingly, if one counted using a word abbreviation and did not recount properly, he may no longer continue counting with a blessing.]