[Avodah] Counting in ASL

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Sun Jun 2 06:16:35 PDT 2024

Here's the scene, which grew out of something that happened to me last
night, but extended.

A person who can hear and speak (BH and ba"h) was asked in the middle of
Maariv about what night of the omer it was.

Because he associate "speaking during davening" with actual speaking and
both parties know American Sign Language, without thinking, he replies in
ASL, "40 days -- 5 weeks, 5 days". (In actuality, I just signed "40". But
if it's after day 6, you aren't yotzei without counting weeks too, so I
extended the case.)

Can the person now count with a berakhah?

And if he can, what about someone who can only communicate by signing?

As for responding during davening in ASL... Since the problem is hefseiq
and hesekh hadaas, I presume that ASL is not significantly better than
talking. Admittedly, I wasn't inserting words in the same communication
channel that you're supposed to be davening, but I still went off topic.
But I learned as a kid not to talk during davening, and ASL doesn't feel
like talking, so reflexes are reflexes. Weirder is switching to ASL to
ask for salt between washing and HaMotzi, as though asking with speach
weren't okay. Or as though this were any better, if you were saying
something that was off-topic.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 Today is the 40th day, which is
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   5 weeks and 5 days in/toward the omer.
Author: Widen Your Tent      Hod sheb'Yesod: When does
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF    reliability/self-control mean submitting to others?

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