Friday, May 06, 2005

More on Sefirah(siman taf tzaddi gimel)

Being one of the few non-Chabadniks in my community with a full set of shulchan aruch haRav(its a long story), I bring you some thoughts from the first Lubavitcher Rebbe. He goes through the usual prohibitions of sefirah, weddings, haircuts, then discusses the issue of keeping the first 33 or the last 33. He acknowledges that there are different customs, some keeping the semi-mourning for the first 33 days, others for the last 33 days. He then goes on to say that one cannot take the makhil(lenient) position, and limit the mourning to the middle 16 days, as one should pick one path or the other, and taking the leniency of both makes no sense. He goes on to say that keeping the entire 49 days is not proper either, unless one is doing it out of a desire to be yotze l'chol hadeyot(erring on the side of fulfilling all the opinions). He then reccomends that one keep the prevailing custom in the community, to avoid transgressing on lo titgodidu(the prohibition of dividing into little bands of different practices).

Rav Lichtenstein reccommends shaving before Shabbat because kavod Shabbat supercedes the mourning. Interestingly, he compares the sefirah mourning to the practices of the year of mourning, rather than shiva(the initial 7 day mourning period) or shloshim(the first 30 days of mourning). More from Yeshivat Har Etzion here. The OU gives a short list here

In thinking about the whole issue, I have obviously leaned to the makhil side of things. However, when I see non-Orthodox getting married this week, the first thing that comes to my mind(to my dismay) is: Hey, they shouldn't be doing that, its Sefirah. Technically though, if the couple have not yet fulfilled the mitzvah of having children, if the marriage does take place during sefirah, they are not punished, and the marriage is valid.

I think I am done now. I welcome any comments, especially from those that know a lot more about this than me.

Comments-[ comments.]


Blogger Gil Student said...

It's also before Rosh Hodesh.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Rav poskined that sefirah is equivalent to 12 months before R. Aharon. I think R. Shachter mentions this in Nefesh HaRav.

1:30 PM  
Blogger dilbert said...

Thanks R. Gil. I was actually referring to marriage in general during sefira. However, it is good to be dan l'kav zichut

1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicely put on the C-C site - particularly when one contemplates the sins to which Tisha Be'Av and Sefirah were attributed.

- Moishe Potemkin

5:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, a lot of _Orthodox_ and by that I mean yeshivish, etc. get married at the end of Nissan or after Lag B'Omer. Save your dismay for Iyar!

1:49 PM  

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