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From: rhendel@king.mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Mon, 13 May 1996 12:41:38 -0400 Subject: hecheyanu on Sefirah I am responding to [Sukenic, V23#70] regarding lack of shechiyanu on the counting of the sefirah. I heard the following thought from the Rav, Rabbi Joseph B Soloveitchick. The Rav noted that the primary source of mourning on Sefirah is attributed to the death of Rabbi Akibah's students. However, said the Rav, many of the crusades started around the summer months and their were large casualties in the Jewish community. The Rav suggested that these large casualties are responsible for three responses (that are expressions of grief or mourning) Saying Kadish Yathom originated from the crusades Cancelling of "lesason vesimcha" in the Rosh Hashana Shmoneh Esray (even though it occurs on other Yom Tov shmoneh esrays...The rav said he had personally seen Machzorim before and after the crusade period and this difference was blatant) Heighthened mourning during Sefirah. Since the crusades happened in the summer the presummer (Shavuoth) and post summer months (Rosh Hashana) were affected. The Rav also said that when people seek hetayrim to do things during the sefirah they are very often insensitive to this source of mourning and were there a heightened awareness perhaps people would be less anxious to find heterim (he did not single any one practice in particular) Although the Rav did not connect the crusades with not saying shecheyanu it appears to me that such a connection may give an added insight. Needless to say if Siddurim with changed texts could be found then this would be a primary reason. Russell Jay Hendel, Ph.d. ASA, rhendel @ mcs . drexel . edu