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How to respond when asked to furnish the sefira count
What if someone who has not yet counted sefira is asked what the sefira - count is for that day?  The Shulchan Aruch warns against answering "today is ___ ", because, according to some opinions, one may unintentionally fulfill the mitzvah that way. Even when he counts again later, as required, he will still have forfeited the beracha. If this happened before shkia (and he provided that evening's count), he may count again later (after tzeis) with a beracha. The Shulhan Aruch Harav cautions against answering with the sefira - count for the evening in the time after plag, since, according to some, the mitzvah can be fulfilled even when counting after plag.
( סעיף ד, ס"ק יט ו-כב וביה"ל ד"ה אינו; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 55 )

 Hilchos Tefilla 128 (page 14)
 מסעיף כט עד סעיף לג

Choosing Between the Blessing and Other Segments of Davening
A Disfigured Kohein
If a Kohein needs the Bathroom

Choosing between the blessing and other segments of davening
A kohein who has not yet recited Shema and is faced with a choice between reciting birkas kohanim and missing zman tefilla should exit the shul and recite Shema. If he was already called to recite the blessing, he should say the first pasuk of Shema [including Baruch Shem] and recite the blessing. As in the case of Shema, if he has not yet davened Shemoneh Esrei and the zman will soon elapse, he should recite the prayer outside of the shul. If he was called to recite the blessing, he should go up even at the expense of missing zman tefilla. If he has not yet recited birkas haTorah, he should try to recite them before the blessing.
( ס"ק קז; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 115-116; וראה שעה"צ ס"ק פא)
A disfigured kohein
When the kohanim recited the blessing in ancient times, their hands, faces and (sometimes) feet were visible. If a kohein had a blemish on his hands, face or feet, it was liable to divert the people's attention from the beracha. To prevent this problem, Chazal did not permit disfigured kohanim to bless the people unless they lived in the area for more than thirty days, long enough for the local people to become familiar with their blemishes. Since today's kohanim cover their hands and faces with a tallis and wear stockings on their feet, a disfigured kohein may recite the blessing without concern of distracting the people.
( סעיף ל-לב, ס"ק קט-קיד, ושעה"צ ס"ק פט; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 119 ו־124)
If a kohein needs the bathroom
A kohein with a stomach ailment that prevents him from reciting the beracha should leave the shul before Retzei. According to some poskim, a kohein who feels he will need to use the bathroom but thinks he can wait the 'span of a parsa' (72 minutes) is permitted to recite the blessing. He can still recite the blessing even if he cannot wait that long and even if he has reached the stage where he is in violation of bal tishaktzu, provided that the urge came after the chazan began Retzei and he is embarrassed to leave the shul.
( ס"ק קיא; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 121; וראה שעה"צ ס"ק פא)

  • According to some poskim, a kohein who is still davening Shemoneh Esrei at the time of birkas kohanim should not recite the blessing unless he is instructed to do so by the congregation or there is no other kohein available.   (In either of these circumstances, he may recite the blessing only if the interruption will not confuse him and prevent him from resuming his tefilla afterwards).  According to a second opinion, the kohein should not recite the blessing unless he concludes the beracha of Modim together with the chazan and, in addition, meets the previous conditions.
  • If a kohein was reciting pesukei d'zimra when he was instructed to pronounce the beracha [and, according to one opinion, even if he was not specifically instructed], he should do so even if other kohanim are present.
  • It is forbidden for a kohein to add a beracha to, or detract a beracha from, the three berachos of birkas kohanim. If a kohein adds a beracha he violates bal tosif, and if he eliminates one he violates bal tigra.



  • Mispronounced words

  • An underage kohein

  • A kohein who killed someone



PLEASE NOTE:  The information in this email is for learning purposes only. Please review the Mishna Berura and Biurim U'Musafim before making a halachic decision. Hebrew words are occasionally transliterated to enable a smoother reading of the text. Common Ashkenazi pronunciation is generally used in these cases.