If someone who is chayav in mitzvot does not have the ability to speak, (say, for example, he lost his tongue in a freak tennis accident,) can he count the Omer non-verbally, through sign language, writing, or by thinking it?

This question would apply to all mitzvot deorayta (biblical commandments) that require speech.

  • There is an interesting parallel discussion around a woman counting 7 clean days after she finishes menstruating. There are some who pasken there that you have to count verbally and some say that all you need is Mudaut HaMinyan knowledge of the count. This is different but it would be interesting to compare. – Eytan Yammer Apr 17 '12 at 13:28
  • I had a similar question. I normally make a bracha with my family, but wanted to text a reminder to my wife who was not available to be there at the time- would I blow my bracha? – YDK Apr 17 '12 at 17:09
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    @YDK You could always just have negative kavana and avoid the issue. – Double AA Apr 17 '12 at 18:04
  • @YDK Send it earlier with a delay. – Seth J Apr 17 '12 at 19:00

Shaalos U'Teshuvos Rabbi Akiva Eiger 29 says that someone who wrote the number of the day of Sefira he must count still with a Bracha והדבר ברור שצריך לחזור ולספור בברכה.

Birchei Yosef 489:14 discusses someone who wrote a letter and in the letter wrote the number of the day in Sefira - that he has to count with a Bracha לאו כמספר בפיו ולא עלתה לו.

However the Kaf HaChaim 489:84 says that if someone wrote the day in Sefira and forgot to day it he may continue saying it with a Bracha on the following days. This indicates that there is some value to writing.

  • All three sources refer to healthy individuals. It would be interesting to know what the first two sources would say when writing was the only available method because of ill-health. – Avrohom Yitzchok Apr 15 '15 at 19:24

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