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The Taz O.C. 494:1 says that one shouldn't daven Maariv early on the night of Shavuos, because otherwise you're shortening the sefira from having 49 complete days. The Pri Megadim there explains the Taz understands when you daven Maariv it's considered the next day, so the previous day was shortened.

While I realize this approach or minhag isn't unanimous (the Magen Avraham there only says to wait to say kiddush, but no problem to daven early), this sounds like it should be a problem the entire sefira period, not just the night of Shavuos.

Why then is it permitted (for example) to do early shabbos during sefira? Many communities avoid early Maariv on Shavuos but don't avoid it during sefira. I'm assuming the Taz has no problem with doing this since he only says this halacha by Shavuos night.

  • In the middle, when you shorten one day you're lengthening another. So it evens out. – Double AA Jun 25 '17 at 23:02
  • I thought of this, but it makes you have 49 complete 24 hour periods, but each day isn't complete. Although the pasuk says שבע שבתות תמימות, so maybe each day doesn't need to be תמים, only the total? – robev Jun 25 '17 at 23:05
  • Indeed maybe only the whole sum. You could look closely at his wording for hints perhaps. In the end of the day though this whole business was made up after the rishonim, so there's only so much we can say about it that's rigorously based in any sources. – Double AA Jun 25 '17 at 23:09
  • @DoubleAA By that logic, we begin the second day of Pesach at tzeis; by beginning Shavuos at Shekiah, we're losing out on that hour or so. That is, if days are counted by when we light, not by when they actually begin. – DonielF Jun 26 '17 at 2:06
  • @DonielF "when we light" ? Huh? What does lighting [candles?] have to do with anything? There's no need to begin the second day of Pesach at Tzeis even in Chu"l. Indeed while some people count the first night after the second seder, some count specifically before because of Temimot. – Double AA Jun 26 '17 at 2:09
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Technically, one can accept Shabbos early, but must still wait to say sefiras haomer until it has become full night. The reason is that we start Shabbos earlier than the time that the new day has started as far as the halachos of sefirah is concerned. Thus, during the sefirah period, we actually do not say the sefiras haomer in shul. It is similar to repeating the krias shmah after the appropriate zman when one has gone home.

In fact, one can still count for Thursday after davening Friday night and accepting Shabbos, while saying the count for Friday with a bracha after the correct time has passed.

The reason that this is done, is that Sefira is based on the 24 hour period, starting after nightfall.

Your mention of waiting to start Ma'ariv for Shavuos, is because once Shavuos has started, the Sefirah period has been ended. Thus, one must wait until one would have been able to count day 50 having completed all 49 days in order for Shavuos to start.

Catching Up On Sefirah On Shabbat Eve

Question: What if someone forgot to count sefirah Thursday evening but only realized after he finished davening Friday evening? The catch is that he accepted Shabbos early so that it is still light outside. Can he still count for Thursday evening and then count for Friday night with a berachah once it gets dark?

Pesach Bernstein

Answer

The short answer to your question is that a person may still count the Omer for Thursday evening after Friday night davening if it is still light outside and continue counting that night and subsequent nights with a berachah (HaGaon Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Responsa Iggrot Moshe, Vol. 6; Orach Chayyim, Part 4, 99:3).

The halacha is similar to a niddah counting seven clean days.

The Taz writes that Sefirat HaOmer serves as a proof for the Agur’s view since we know that even though tosefet Shabbat – adding time to Shabbat – is a biblical concept, we can’t count Friday evening’s sefirah until it is actually dark.

We see that the counting of the Omer is comparable to the counting of the niddah, and what applies to one therefore applies to the other (in regards to the counting itself, not the blessing). The actual time for counting in both situations begins at nightfall.

  • If sefira is based on a 24 hour period, why would starting Shavuos end the sefira period. Why is it worse than accepting Shabbos early, it's now shabbos and not chol, yet it's still the previous day for sefira concerns. – robev Jun 25 '17 at 23:57
  • @robev On the contrary. You have started Shabbos early, but you have not started the next sefirah day. On the other hand, as I explain, starting Ma'ariv for Shavuos is an explicit statement that in is now day 50. Every other night, even when you daven Ma'ariv early, you must still wait until night to count the next sefirah. – sabbahillel Jun 25 '17 at 23:58
  • Is the difference because each day of sefira isn't connected to a particular day of the week? For example, one year day 24 falls on shabbos, so by accepting shabbos early on the 23rd, it's not now the 24th, not until nightfall. Unlike Shavuos, which is defined as day 50. – robev Jun 26 '17 at 0:00
  • @robev That seems a nice way of explaining it. – sabbahillel Jun 26 '17 at 0:02
  • @robev that doesn't work because it would imply that the 7th day of Pesach is the same as Shavuos, which as far as I know it's not according to anyone. – Heshy Jun 23 at 19:24

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