According to what Halichipedia states:

  1. According to most poskim, it is correct to wait until Tzet Hakochavim in order to count sefirat haomer; however, one fulfills his obligation by counting after sunset. [9]
  2. If one is praying in a minyan that finishes maariv after sunset and one wants to count after Tzet Hakochavim, he should count then without a Bracha and mentally stipulate, "if I don't remember to count with a bracha then this counting should fulfill my obligation, however, if I remember later then I have intent not to fulfill my obligation with this counting." If one in fact remembers, he should count after Tzet Hakochavim with a Bracha. [10]

This past Sunday, my shul got a minyan for mincha after sunset, so they davenend mincha during twi-light. They then, davened Ma'ariv, and said Sefirat Ha'omer before Tzeit Hakochavim (stars come out.)

Just prior to the counting, a fellow congregant says to me, "I would count with the minyan, normally, even without making this condition (as mentioned in #7). However, the mere fact that they davened mincha late (after sunset) is a contradiction to the notion that they can do sefira early, before nightfall. They can't do both!"

I've never heard of this stipulation. Is the co-congregant correct? Is there any halacha or opinion agreeing with his claim?

  • 2
    Was he ok with Maariv just not Sefirah?
    – Double AA
    May 10, 2016 at 19:51
  • @DoubleAA Heck. Not only was he OK with it; He was the shat"z! In our shul, BTW, the rabbi always says sefirat ha'omer, not the shat"z. That's even if the shat"z is qualified to say the bracha. I assume the reason is to avoid embarrassment if they were to ask him and he had to decline.
    – DanF
    May 10, 2016 at 19:57
  • My understanding is that somewhere in the halakhic literature there is a leniency that allows shuls (as opposed to individuals) to daven both mincha and ma'ariv between plag hamincha and tzeit hakochavim. I'm not sure exactly who rules this way or why but perhaps the reasoning for allowing this doesn't apply to sefirat haomer
    – Daniel
    May 10, 2016 at 23:11
  • Hey @Daniel. I'd be puzzled as to why sefira has different rules regarding this. I'll see if I can ask the rav tonight or tomorrow. Better yet, perhaps, I can get some details on the congregant's reasoning. Just a hunch that what he said doesn't make much sense.
    – DanF
    May 10, 2016 at 23:14
  • 1
    @DanF Well sefira is a completely different mitzvah from maariv
    – Daniel
    May 10, 2016 at 23:15

1 Answer 1


This question is good. The study of this topic begin with a Mishna in Brachot.

  1. Time for Mincha and time for Arvit

    תְּפִלַּת הַמִּנְחָה עַד הָעֶרֶב. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, עַד פְּלַג הַמִּנְחָה. תְּפִלַּת הָעֶרֶב אֵין לָהּ קֶבַע

    The Mishna shows that the end of the Mincha prayer for Rabbi Yehuda, comes before the night (1.1/4 hours before the night).
    [ר"ע מברטנורה] תתְּפִלַּת הַמִּנְחָה עַד הָעֶרֶב. עַד שֶׁתֶּחְשַׁךְ: עַד פְּלַג הַמִּנְחָה. זְמַן מִנְחָה קְטַנָּה הוּא מִתֵּשַׁע שָׁעוֹת וּמֶחֱצָה עַד הַלַּיְלָה, שֶׁהֵם שְׁתֵּי שָׁעוֹת וּמֶחֱצָה, נִמְצָא פְּלַג הַמִּנְחָה שֶׁהוּא חֲצִי שִׁעוּר זֶה שָׁעָה וּרְבִיעַ.‏
    וּפְסַק הַהֲלָכָה בָּזֶה, דְּעָבַד כְּמַר עָבַד וּדְעָבַד כְּמַר עָבַד,‏
    Who made as Mar has made, who made as Mar has made.
    וְהָרוֹצֶה לַעֲשׂוֹת כְּדִבְרֵי חֲכָמִים וּלְהִתְפַּלֵּל תְּפִלַּת הַמִּנְחָה עַד הָעֶרֶב יַעֲשֶׂה, וּבִלְבָד שֶׁלֹּא יִתְפַּלֵּל עַרְבִית בִּזְמָן זֶה,‏
    Who want to pray Mincha up to the night is allowed, but he can not pray Arvit immediately after.
    שֶׁכֵּיוָן שֶׁמַּחֲשִׁיב אוֹתוֹ יוֹם לְעִנְיָן שֶׁמִּתְפַּלֵּל בּוֹ מִנְחָה אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהַחְשִׁיבוֹ לַיְלָה וּלְהִתְפַּלֵּל בּוֹ עַרְבִית.‏
    If he regarded this time as day for Mincha, he can not regard it as night for Arvit
    וְאִם בָּא לַעֲשׂוֹת כְּדִבְרֵי רַבִּי יְהוּדָה שֶׁלֹּא לְהִתְפַּלֵּל מִנְחָה אֶלָּא עַד פְּלַג הַמִּנְחָה שֶׁהוּא שָׁעָה וּרְבִיעַ קֹדֶם הַלַּיְלָה עוֹשֶׂה וּמִשָּׁם וְאֵילָךְ יוּכַל לְהִתְפַּלֵּל עַרְבִית:

    But, opting to Rabbi Yehuda and praying Mincha before plag allows to pray Arvit after plag (i.e. even before night)
    The Bartenura leads us to the hour of Tefilat Arvit according to Rabbi Yehuda. 11/4 hours before the night. He seems not preoccupied with the hour of Kriat Shema of night.
    It summarizes Gemara 27a that concludes: "Seeing then that it has not been stated definitely that the law follows either one or the other, if one follows the one he is right and if one follows the other he is right."
    I am not going to go through detail about others times between plag and night, that some Rishonim affords (Rabenu Yona says that after shkia Arvit is allowed (for Rabenu Yona Arvit and birkot KS, not KS itself)) following Rabanan but not Kriat Shema)
  2. Time for Kriat Shema and Sefirat Haomer

    We see that the topic of the evening prayer before the night is treated in this Mishna. But the time of KS of night 11/4 before the night is not mentioned in Mishna and Gemara. KS is explicitly linked to night in Mishna 1,1. See a very length development of the topic in Tosfot Harosh on Gemara daf 2a here. He said in name of Rabenu Tam that if Arvit is allowed for Rabbi Yehuda after the plag, so KS also is allowed (see also the last tosfot on daf 2b, which think that Rabbi Yehuda do not agree with The mishnayot on first Chapter, that attach Arvit to bedtime). But most Rishnonim disagree. Clearly the majority of Rishonim do not validate KS after the plag an hour and a quarter before the night, despite that they validate Tefilat Arvit. We need to see if Sefirat haomer is like Tefila or like Kriat Shema.
    See Mishna Megila 1, 6
    כָּל הַלַּיְלָה כָּשֵׁר לִקְצִירַת הָעֹמֶר. ‏
    All night is lawful to seed the Omer.
    The mishna in Menachot speaks about how they was in korbanot times:
    כֵּיוָן שֶׁחֲשֵׁכָה, אוֹמֵר לָהֶם, בָּא הַשָּׁמֶשׁ, אוֹמְרִים, הֵן. בָּא הַשָּׁמֶשׁ, אוֹמְרִים הֵן.‏
    He asked if the sun went, before he seed the Omer.
    The Bet Yossef in OC 489 quotes Teshuvat Harashba I, 154, which says that Sfirat Haomer is only on night after the stars appear. It seems to be the same machloket between Rabenu Chanan'el and others Rishonim about KS and about Sfirat Haomer.
    Mincha after the sunset is a big problem. But some Rishonim allows "Tarte deSatre" ("two contradictory behaviors", Mincha after the time of Rabbi Yehuda and Arvit before the stars appear). An additional opinion is the opinion of Rabenu Yona as mentioned above. But you see the opinion of many Rishonim, as the opinion of the Bartenura, that "Tarte desatre" is not allowed. What is the din Bedieved if they recited on night KS and count Omer? We will learn about the opinion of Rabenu Tam.
  3. Validity ex-post

    See SA OC 233, 1:
    וְאַסִיקְנָא, דְּעָבַד כְּמַר, עָבַד; וּדְעָבַד כְּמַר, עָבַד; ‏

    Who made as Rabanan or as Rabbi Yehuda was right
    וְהוּא שֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂה לְעוֹלָם כְּחַד מִינַיְיהוּ, שֶׁאִם עוֹשֶׂה כְּרַבָּנָן וּמִתְפַּלֵּל מִנְחָה עַד הַלַּיְלָה, שׁוּב אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהִתְפַּלֵּל עַרְבִית מִפְּלַג הַמִּנְחָה וּלְמַעְלָה;‏
    If he prayed after the plag (according to Rabanan), he is not entitled to pray Arvit from plag (but from night only). ‏

    וְאִם עוֹשֶׂה כְּר' יְהוּדָה וּמִתְפַּלֵּל עַרְבִית מִפְּלַג הַמִּנְחָה וּלְמַעְלָה, צָרִיךְ לִזָּהֵר שֶׁלֹּא יִתְפַּלֵּל מִנְחָה בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה; וְעַכְשָׁו שֶׁנָּהֲגוּ לְהִתְפַּלֵּל תְּפִלַּת מִנְחָה עַד הַלַּיְלָה, אֵין לְהִתְפַּלֵּל תְּפִלַּת עַרְבִית קֹדֶם שְׁקִיעַת הַחַמָּה; וְאִם בְּדִיעֲבַד הִתְפַּלֵּל תְּפִלַּת עַרְבִית מִפְּלַג הַמִּנְחָה וּלְמַעְלָה, יָצָא. וּבִשְׁעַת הַדַּחַק, יָכוֹל לְהִתְפַּלֵּל תְּפִלַּת עַרְבִית מִפְּלַג הַמִּנְחָה וּלְמַעְלָה. הגה: וּלְדִידָן בִּמְדִינוֹת אֵלּוּ שֶׁנּוֹהֲגִין לְהִתְפַּלֵּל עַרְבִית מִפְּלַג הַמִּנְחָה, אֵין לוֹ לְהִתְפַּלֵּל מִנְחָה אַחַר כָּךְ; וּבְדִיעֲבַד אוֹ בִּשְׁעַת הַדַּחַק, יָצָא אִם מִתְפַּלֵּל מִנְחָה עַד הַלַּיְלָה, דְּהַיְנוּ צֵאת הַכּוֹכָבִים (בֵּית יוֹסֵף בְּשֵׁם אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד וְרַשְׁבָּ''א). ‏
    But subsequently it is lawful, and the SA said that there is the minhag (a kind of Lechatechilla). This is the opinion cited in Rabenu Yona I mentioned above. But Rabenu Yona mention this for Arvit and not for KS and Sefirat Haomer. And BediAvad, the Gaon explains that the opinion of Rabenu Tam is valid (and include KS and SH).
  4. The fact that they pray mincha after sunset is a "declaration" that it is still day. So they can not pray Arvit before night as Rabenu Yona. But Bediavad is an other problem.

    So the co-congregant is correct concerning Sefira, it is better to avoid this lechatechilla but bediavad, we have confidence in Rabenu Tam is good. The fact that the co-congregant linked the problem of Sefira before night to Tarte desatre is not fully right because lechatechilla we do not follow Rabenu Tam, despite than we can pray Mincha before the plag and Arvit immediately after Plag.

    Key words. Arvit, Kriat Shema, Sefirat Haomer, Rabbi Yehuda, Lechatechilla, Bediavad, Rabenu Yona-Arvit, Rabenu Tam - KS & SH
  • 1
    Is it not 1.25 hours not 2.5? (Plag 0.5 * hminha 2.5= 1.25)
    – hazoriz
    May 11, 2016 at 13:51
  • FYI, good researching on this. I have to digest this a few times before I can give this an educated upvote. It's a lot of info to just scan through hurriedly.
    – DanF
    May 11, 2016 at 17:08

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