Apr 212014

A customer by the name of Nir was getting ready to buy a Beit Yosef Talit from our webstore before Pesach, but, like many noble plans during that time of year, he wasn’t able to make the purchase as planned. After Pesach, when he had more time on his hands, he was ready to go ahead with the talit purchase, when suddenly a new issue came up: Was it permitted to buy a new talit during Sefirat Ha’omer?

That’s a good question, and I’m not the right person to ask for two reasons: 1) I have a vested interested in allowing talit sales and 2) I’m not a rabbi and am not qualified to answer halachic questions.

But obviously this type of question is bound to pique the interest of any tallit seller, so I opened up the Shulchan Aruch to siman 493 to look up the topic of buying clothes during Sefirat Ha’omer. After searching in vain for about 10 minutes I was starting to feel a bit stupid, then realized that it isn’t mentioned there at all — which in itself is an important piece of information. Rabbi Eli Mansour writes that the Shulchan Aruch does not prohibit buying new clothes during Sefirat Ha’omer at all, and Rabbi Abba Shaul Ben Tzion ruled accordingly.

Some Ashkenazi poskim concur (see also Yeshiva.org.il), but according to Rabbi Dovid Horwitz the consensus among contemporary halachic authorities is that buying new clothing should be avoided, because of the issue of Shehechiyanu. The custom to avoid reciting Shehechiyanu seems to be a stringency taken from the Three Weeks and applied to the Sefira, when the prohibitions are much more lenient. According to the Maamar Mordechai, the custom was mistakenly carried over from the Three Weeks.

The Mishnah Berurah (493:2) writes that it’s best not to buy a new garment that brings a person joy, but if one does, the Shehechiyanu blessing should be recited.

According to the above references, there is definitely room to permit buying clothes or a new tallit during Sefirat Ha’omer, but it might be a good idea to ask your own rabbi, based on the circumstances. The mitzvah of tzitzit is very important and would clearly override the issue of Shehechiyanu during the Sefira in many situations.

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