Torah Riddles #107

Question: What is the reason behind why counting the Omer, according to the opinion that holds that you must count it yourself and you can’t have in mind for someone to do it for you, be any different than any other mitzvah done through speaking like Kiddush, megilla reading and Torah reading etc. where one person can perform the mitzvah for many?


  1. The Torah does say “Usfartem lachem” meaning that you should count for yourself in terms of counting the omer but why is it different than any other mitzvah where we can apply the halachic axiom of “listening is like answering” (shmiah ki’onah)?
  2. Beis HaLevi on the Torah in the end of his Kuntrus on Chanukah says that a kohen can’t perform birkas kohanim by just going through the motions with everyone else without speaking out the blessing by using this axiom of “listening is like answering” because birkas kohanim does not just need a speech it has to be done out loud.
  3. The Magen Avraham says that one can’t count the omer in Hebrew if he does not understand what he is saying.
  4. You have to count.

Answer: Shomea ki’ona, listening is like answering won’t help for the omer because all that does is make it as if you said the words of counting but you need to be doing an actual counting, verbally, each night, just like the Kohen has to say birkas kohanim out loud it is not enough to be considered as if he said them, therefore one has to do his own counting even if someone else is allowed to say the blessing on the omer for him.