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Our current practice is that if you forget to count one day of the omer (morning and night), it is still incumbent upon you to count, but you can't say a bracha.

As far as I understand, the reason for this is that there is a makhlokhet about what the mitzvah is. One opinion holds that counting each day is a mitzvah (so there are 49 mitzvot in the sefirah), while the other opinion holds that there is one mitzvah to count the whole sefirah.

Then Rav Soleveitchik comes along and says that the reason for not making a bracha on the omer if you forget a day is that counting, per se, must be sequential. Otherwise, you're just saying a number. I like this answer a lot.

But before Soleveitchik, how did we justify not making a bracha without shem u'malkhut ("atah hashem elokeinu melekh ha'olam") as we do for most disputed mitzvot?

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can you give examples of a bracha on a mitzvah said withou shem umalchus, in a case of safek? – josh waxman May 10 '13 at 21:36
@joshwaxman I know of only 5 such instances in Shulchan Aruch: birkot hashachar if you didn't do that action, hagomel, miracle location, chalitza, and shepterani. (OC 46:8 218:9 219:3 225:2 EH Chalitza 57). Also check out R A Lichtenstein's article on hagomel, part I II – Double AA May 10 '13 at 21:37
Charles, I think R' Josh is correct. Saying brachot without shem umalchut for all instances of safek is a relatively recent phenomenon. Without shem umalchut is not a bracha, so there isn't much point in saying it. – Double AA May 10 '13 at 21:37
@joshwaxman There's also discussion somewhere early about redoing kiddushin at the chuppah (in a case where kiddushin originally happened earlier) for show and saying a bracha without shem umalchut. Also a teshuva of R Avraham b Harambam who tells the people of yemen (who don't have any grains) to make kiddush and bentch without shem umalchut on sorghum so that people don't forget how. it's a cool teshuva. These two aren't because of doubt though – Double AA May 10 '13 at 21:47
What about those who have a custom to say "Boruch Shepetrani" at their son's bar mitzvah without Shem HaMalchut?" I dont have time to look it up now, but my understanding is that some say it without G-d's name because there is a doubt whether they discharged there obligation completely. – Menachem May 10 '13 at 22:40

We are saying that since according to one opinion you are still obligated to say the Beracha properly it follows that you should hear the Beracha from the Chazzan (or someone else) so that it will be a fully valid Beracha (שומע כעונה) without even a doubt of a ברכה לבטלה.

To say the Beracha without Shem Umalchus is not an option if you could hear it from someone else (and perhaps one should go out of his way to do this correctly).

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But shouldn't you still be told to say it without Shem Umalchus if you happen to be by yourself for whatever reason and can't hear the bracha from another? – Double AA May 12 '13 at 19:55
No, because many people would get the wrong impression that it's a valid Beracha. – Meir Zirkind May 12 '13 at 20:38
That's a novel explanation. Where else are we afraid someone might confuse an unreal bracha for a real one? – Double AA May 13 '13 at 3:41
When forgetting Yaale Veyovo in Bentching on Rosh Chodesh we don't say it by Horachamon as we do if we forget Al Hanissim. – Meir Zirkind May 13 '13 at 3:55
That's a machloket achronim I thought, but the Rama's concern there is shem shamayim levatalla IIRC not that it will be confused with a real bracha. (Why haven't you been pinging me DoubleAA in your comments so I am notified? Please do so in the future so I don't miss any and don't have to check manually for responses.) – Double AA May 13 '13 at 4:03

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