Women counting


Women are exempt from the Mitzvah of Sefiras HaOmer.[2] [Likewise, based on Kabala, women are not applicable to this Mitzvah.[3]] However in certain provinces[4] women have accepted this Mitzvah upon themselves as a complete obligation.[5] [In such provinces the women are obligated to count due to this custom.[6]] All women who choose to recite Sefiras HaOmer may say a blessing on it [if they have not missed previous nights, as is the law by men].[7] [The Chabad custom is for women to recite Sefiras HaOmer.[8]]


[1] 489/2; M”A 489/1

[2] Admur ibid; M”A ibid; Rambam Temidim Umusafim 7/24; Chinuch 306

The reason: As this Mitzvah is a time dependant command, of which women are exempt. [Admur ibid] This is learned from the verse “Lemaan Tihiyeh Toras Hashem Bificha” that is written regarding Tefillin which teaches that the entire Torah is connected to the Mitzvah of Tefillin. Now just like women and slaves are exempt from wearing Tefillin, due to the reason explained in 38/3, and Tefillin is a time dependent Mitzvah, as the Mitzvah of Tefillin does not apply on Shabbos and Yom Tov, so too from here we learn that all time dependent Mitzvos women and slaves are exempt from, with exception to some specific Mitzvos. [Admur 17/1; Levush 17/2]

Other opinions: Some Poskim hold that the Mitzvah of Sefiras HaOmer is not considered a time dependent command, and women are hence obligated in the Mitzvah. [Ramban Kiddushin 34a; See Avnei Nezer 384] The reason for this is because the Mitzvah is dependent on the Omer offering and not on a specific time. [Shitas Hakamonim Baba Kama p. 334]

Slaves: Slaves are exempt from the Mitzvah just like women. [Admur 489/2]

[3] M”A ibid based on Zohar and so writes also the Birkeiy Yosef 489/22; Daas Torah 489/1; Kaf Hachaim 489/9

[4] So writes Admur ibid; However see M”A ibid who writes “Although women are exempt the women have already accepted the Mitzvah upon themselves as an obligation.” He does not distinguish between provinces, and certainly does not limit it to certain provinces as writes Admur ibid. The M”B 489/3 writes that in these provinces women are not accustomed to count Sefirah at all.

[5] Admur ibid; M”A ibid; Chok Yaakov 489/3; Elya Raba 489/2

[6] See regarding Shofar and Lulav: Admur 17/3; Shut Rav Akiva Eiger 1 Hashmatos; Ashel Avraham Butchach 689 and Mahadurah Tinyana 592

[7] Admur ibid

The reason: There is no worry of prohibition involved for women to recite a blessing on Sefiras Haomer despite the fact that they are exempt, as explained in 17/3. [Admur ibid] The reason for this is because men are commanded in this Mitzvah and when a woman performs a command that she is exempt from fulfilling, although she is not rewarded as much as one who was commanded, nevertheless she does receive some reward. For this reason they are permitted to recite a blessing over all the Mitzvos that they are exempt from, if the Mitzvah is performed properly, in a way that a man would fulfill his obligation. [Admur 17/3]

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that women are not to count with a blessing. [Shulchan Shlomo brought in M”B 489/3; Kaf Hachaim 489/9] As they will certainly miss a certain night and hence even initially we know their counting is incomplete. [Shulchan Shlomo ibid] According to the Sefaradic custom, women are not to say the blessing. [Kaf Hachaim ibid]

[8] Hiskashrus; Otzer Minhagei Chabad Nissan p. 254

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