Hilchos Sifiras Haomer
⁃ Sefira should be counted as early in the night as possible but one shouldn’t say it early if it means not counting with a minyan.
⁃ Although sefira can be counted starting after sunset, it’s preferable to wait until nightfall.
⁃ Nightfall for counting Sefira preferably is forty minutes after shkiah.
⁃ If you counted before nightfall, it’s best to count again after nightfall without a bracha.
⁃ Sefira can be counted the entire night.
⁃ If you forgot to count at night then you can count during the day without a bracha.
⁃ If you miss counting at night and also forgot to count during the day then you can no longer count with a bracha. However, you’re still required to count every night even though it’s without a bracha.
⁃ In this situation, it’s best to have someone that counts with a bracha to say the bracha out loud and have you in mind.
⁃ If you remembered to count the previous nights’ counting during bein hashmashos then you can continue to count with a bracha.
⁃ If you’re not sure if you counted the previous night at all or if you’re not sure if you counted correctly, you can continue counting with a bracha.
⁃ You have to understand what you’re counting and if you don’t then you’re not yotzei. Therefore you can count in any language.
⁃ Sefira should be said standing up. If it was said sitting down then it’s fine.
⁃ After the first week, both days and weeks are counted.
⁃ If days were counted and not weeks then it’s fine.
⁃ If weeks were counted and not days then it’s not good and you can’t continue to count with a bracha.
⁃ After the bracha “yhi ratzon” is said.
⁃ Before counting sefira at night with a bracha, don’t say “tonight is…..” because then you’ve already counted and therefore you can no longer make a bracha that night.
⁃ This applies to counting in any language.
⁃ If all you said was a number then that’s not considered counting and you can still count that night with a bracha. For ex. If you’re asked what night is tonight? You can answer for ex. “3” and that’s not called counting and you’d still be able to count that night with a bracha.
⁃ Asking someone as a question is not considered counting. For ex. Asking “is tonight the third night?”
⁃ If you feel that you have to spell out the exact night of sefira and you haven’t yet counted with a bracha then you can say the exact counting but have in your mind that you’re not being yotzi with what you’re saying.
⁃ Since the earlier counting wasn’t done intentionally, even if you can no longer count that night with a bracha, you still have to count that night without a bracha.
⁃ Make sure to know the correct night before starting the bracha.
⁃ you’re not allowed to start eating from a half-hour before the proper time to count, unless you appoint someone to remind you.
⁃ If you have a set time to daven maariv then you’re allowed to start eating even though you haven’t yet counted.
Aveilus of sefira
⁃ The minhag in klal yisroel has been to keep aveilus for thirty-three days between Pesach and Shavuos.
⁃ There are two basic minhagim: 1) aveilus starts on the second day of pesach and ends on Lag Beomer. 2) aveilus starts on Rosh Chodesh Iyar and ends on the third day of Sivan.
⁃ There are slight variations to the above.
⁃ There are no restrictions on buying new clothes.
⁃ Some have a minhag not to buy anything that would require the bracha of Shechayanu.
⁃ Haircuts are not allowed for men or for women.
⁃ Shaving and trimming beards are not allowed.
⁃ Electrolysis, waxing, etc. for women is allowed.
⁃ If one is going to take a loss then shaving/haircuts are allowed until the week of tisha bav.
⁃ Mustache that prevents you from eating can be cut.
⁃ Wigs can be cut if necessary.
⁃ No music or dancing even at a seudas mitzva. Singing is fine.
⁃ Music tapes are not allowed.
⁃ Music lessons are fine.
⁃ If necessary, slow inspirational or classical music is fine.
⁃ Music for exercise is allowed.
⁃ Music to keep you up while you drive is allowed.
⁃ Accepela is not preferred but it’s definitely better than listening to the radio.