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Negative Commandments #101, 102, 103

Sefer Ha’mitzvos Ha’Katzar (The concise book of mitzvos)
By the Chofetz Chaim

This book lists the Torah mitzvos that can be observed today

Second Section – the Negative Commandments

101, 102, 103. The following are negative commandments: “do not eat bread from ‘new’ grains before the Omer is brought”, “do not eat kali (which is grains of the five species that was roasted in fire) from ‘new’ grains before the Omer is brought”, and “do not eat carmel (which is crushed by hand and not roasted in fire) from ‘new’ grains before the Omer is brought.”

As it is stated in Vayikra (Leviticus) 23:14, “Bread, kali, and carmel should not be eaten until that very day.” This negative commandment applies to the five grains only and they are: wheat, barley, spelt, oats, and rye. A person who eats an olive size amount of bread, kali, and carmel, has transgressed three different commandments. During the time when the Temple stood in Jerusalem, it was forbidden to eat from the ‘new’ grain from 16 Nissan until the Omer was brought. During times when the Temple does not stand, all day of the 16th of Nissan is forbidden according to Torah law. Outside of the Land of Israel, where two days of Festivals is kept, it is forbidden until the 17th of Nissan according to the Law of the Sages. Grains which took root before the Omer was brought, even though they did not finish growing until after the Omer was brought, are made permissible by the Omer.

This prohibition of ‘new’ grain applies in all places and at all times, for men and for women.

There are early authorities that rule the laws of ‘new’ grain are only a Rabbinic law outside the Land of Israel because it was only ordained on lands next to the Land of Israel. Therefore, most people are not careful about ‘new’ grains. Even though it is not in our hands to go against those who are lenient, in any case, everyone who is meticulous should be strict in this matter as much as he can, because according to many great early authorities, it is forbidden according to Torah law.