Torah Riddles Test #145

2.    Question: Why are you allowed to put yourself into a position where you would have to make a blessing for washing but shouldn’t put yourself into a position where you would have to say a blessing for tzitzis?


A. There is a general rule that one should not make a blessing if he does not have to for it is saying Hashem’s name in vain.

 B. Tzitzis scenario: If one wore his tzitzis overnight the Mishna Berura (8:16:42) brings an argument of whether one has to make a blessing on them in the morning and when in doubt by blessings one should be lenient and not say it. However, the Mishna Berura says if he took off the tzitzis in the morning with in mind not to put them back on immediately then everyone agrees he should make a blessing upon putting it back on but ideally it is not right to take this advice because he will be saying an unneeded blessing according to those who say you do fulfill the mitzvah of tzitzis at night.

C. The washing hands scenario is where one is unsure whether he said the blessing upon washing in the morning or if he washed his hands unintentionally before a meal with bread, the Mishna Berura (4:30, 33) says one should ideally put himself in a position where he would definitely have to make a blessing. In the Be’ur Halacha (159:12 “lichatchila”) he says about someone who unintentionally washed for a meal, that though according to most Rishonim he doesn’t have to wash again but if he can get more water he should wash again and it is better to sully his hands so that he will be obliged to say a blessing according to everyone.

 Answer: In the Be’ur Halacha (25:5 “vitov”) the Chofetz Chaim explains by washing that since it must be done because of the doubt then it is not considered an unneeded blessing but by the tzitzis just don’t take them off and it won’t prompt a need to say another blessing. Anyway, it is better to exempt the tzitzis with the blessing over a tallis either you put on or if someone else puts on with their blessing. 


Torah Riddles Test #144

1.    Question: If what a mourner during shiva can and can’t do for work is based on what one can and can’t do on chol hamoed then why is he allowed to have a non-Jew do work for him if he is a mourner which will otherwise be lost but a Jew cannot have a non-Jew do work for him which will otherwise be lost on chol hamoed?


A. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 380:5) says it is forbidden for a mourner to do any work through someone else even a non-Jew unless it is something which will be lost which is permitted to be done through others, even if it is forbidden to be done on chol hamoed because it is too much of a hassle, it is still permitted for a mourner and even if it is something of craftmanship.

B. A mourner should not be doing any work in order to focus on the loss of his loved one.

C. The Taz (4) says that on Chol hamoed it is forbidden for others to do things which are a hassle, for you because of the honor of the holiday.

Answer: The honor of the holiday will be desecrated whether done by you or someone else since you are showing your work is more important than the day. But by the mourner the honor towards the dead is solely on the mourner which he has to focus on so it makes no difference if people are doing things for him, it allows his focus to be on his lost relative.

Torah Riddles Test #143

Question: Why has one fulfilled his or her mitzvah of tearing if he or she tears one’s garment over the dead even if done on Shabbos but not if one tears a stolen garment?


A.      The issue here is a mitzvah haba b’aveira, a mitzvah accomplished in a sin. It should be no different whether the sin is stealing or transgressing Shabbos.

B.      If one was eating matza on the night of Pesach which fell out on Shabbos, while walking from the private domain into the public domain thus transgressing the prohibition of carrying on Shabbos, he would not fulfill the mitzva of eating matzah since it was a mitzvah done in a sin. (See Be’ur HaGra note 48 in Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 340:29.)

 Answer: The Taz and Shach (Yoreh Deah 340:28, 28: 16 in Taz and 42 in shach) say that the difference is that if the garment was stolen then the garment itself is in sin  (It’s a stolen object, just like the matza was a carried object) whereas if you just transgressed Shabbos with the shirt then the action is the problem but the garment itself isn’t part of the problem therefore it is not a mitzvah done through a sin.

Torah Riddles Test #142

1.       Question: Why must a doctor who accidentally kills a patient run to the city of refuge but not a rebbe who strikes his student and accidentally kills him neither the court executioner, who gives the proper amount of lashes and accidentally kills the sinner?


A.      The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 336:1) says that the Torah gave permission for a doctor to cure and it is a mtzvah, it’s part of pikuach nefesh, saving a person’s life… If he heals people without the permission of the courts and mistakenly hurts someone he must pay for damages, but if he got permission, he is exempt. However, if he accidentally killed someone he must go into exile in the city of refuge.

B.      The Rambam in the laws of a Rotzeach/Murderer says that since the court executioner or rebbe accidentally killed the litigant or student while performing a mitzvah then he is exempt from escaping to the city of refuge.

  Answer: The Yad Avraham answers that a doctor is different because he did not do any mitzvah if the patient dies but the rebbe was performing a mitzvah of teaching his student and the executioner was performing a mitzvah of following the court ruling, the person just happen to have died in the process of performing that mitzvah therefore they are exempt from running to the city of refuge.  

Torah Riddles Test #141

Question 2: Why does the Vilna Gaon hold that you should pick up the lulav and esrog normally, the way the mitzvah is done and then say the blessing? You technically don’t even have to have in mind to not perform the mitzvah until after the blessing is said.


A. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 651:1) says the mitzvah of lulav and esrog is to take them into your hands.

B. Normally we say the blessing before doing the mitzvah.

C. The language of the blessing on the mitzvah of lulav and esrog is blessing Hashem “on the lulav being taken,” not blessed is Hashem “for taking the lulav.”

 Answer: The Rabbis specifically enacted the blessing to be past tense and not future tense so that it’s inclusive of already having the lulav and esrog already in one’s hands instead needing to pick it up immediately upon saying the blessing, since blessing are usually said with item in hand and then the action is done whereas here the action is done by putting it in his hand so the. Lessing is worded in a fashion where you could say the blessing in a matter which makes sense while still having the mitzvah in your hands (See footnote 42 on page 89 of Dirshum Mishna Berura.)

Torah Riddles Test #140

1.    Question: Why can one even hire a carpenter i.e. a professional, to build a Sukkah on chol hamoed sukkos but cannot build a fence, even by yourself, on chol hamoed according to the Be’ur Halacha?


1. The first Be’ur Halacha in siman 540 begins by quoting a Ritva that only by rooftops that are usually not used but the person wants to be extra careful is one forbidden to build a fence around it on chol hamoed but he concludes that other poskim hold that even if the roof top is normally used and there is a definite mitzvah to build the fence still it should not be done on chol hamoed.

 2. The first Be’ur Halacha clearly and unequivocally concludes that no matter if the prohibition of doing expert and craftsman work on chol hamoed is rabbinic or on a Torah level it is permissible to have the sukkah built or fixed because it is for a mitzvah. It can even be fixed at the very end of chol hamoed when you don’t have to potentially use it because the Torah says “The holiday of sukkos you shall make for yourself seven days.” This implies for the entire seven days there is a mitzvah to have the sukkah so you can fix it and build it by anyone at any time of chol hamoed. He also compares building a sukkah to writing a mezuzah or tefillin to be used on chol hamoed which is needed for the need of the mitzvah at that time.

Answer: A fence does not have to be needed on Chol hamoed even if it is a mitzvah to make  because you can just close off the roof for the holiday whereas you need the Sukkah on throughout the holiday and the scenario of the refilling and mezuzah is also where you need them right now during chol hamoed. (Look in footnote 6 of be’ur halacha 540 in Dirshu Mishna Berura and Page 68 footnote 4 on the first Be’ur Halacha of siman 637.)

Torah Riddles Test #139

 2.       Question: Why on Yom Kippur are you allowed to talk about what you are going to eat after the fast but one cannot talk about business on Shabbos?


A.      Both things are forbidden on that day. One cannot eat on Yom Kippur, and one cannot do business on Shabbos (or Yom Kippur).

B.      The Mishna Berura (307:1:1) says that the prohibition from the days of the Prophets against speaking about mundane things on Shabbos is that one is not allowed to speak on Shabbos about things he is forbidden to do on Shabbos since one has to feel as if all his work was completed by Shabbos, therefore the Rabbis enacted that one also cannot even talk about work which is forbidden to be done on Shabbos.

Answer: This prohibition just doesn’t apply to eating on Yom Kippur because one has no obligation to view himself as if he is satiated and has no need to eat on Yom Kippur, neither does fasting have anything to do with work, therefore there was no Rabbinic enactment on Yom Kippur prohibiting talking about eating after Yom Kippur (See Dirshu Mishna Berura 611:2:5:6, in back page 49).

Torah Riddles Test #138

1.       Question: Why don’t we discontinue reading from the Torah or Megilas Koheles or Shir Hashirim on Shabbos just as we don’t blow shofar or read Megilas Esther on Shabbos?


A.      The reason why we don’t blow shofar or read megillah on Shabbos is because of a rabbinic enactment that if there is no eruv one might carry his shofar or megila four amos or more in the public domain in order to practice in front of a sage, who is an expert in the field.

B.      The obligation of reading the Torah on every Shabbos, as well as reading the Megilla of Koheles on the Shabbos of Sukkos and Shir Hashirim on the Shabbos of Pesach is an obligation on the tzibur, the entire community.

C.      Reading Megillas Esther and blowing shofar is an obligation on the individual.

Answer: If the obligation is incumbent on the congregation then there was no decree to discontinue the mitzva on Shabbos since the person doing it is probably and expert or trained enough to be sure not to carry the items in the public domain to practice. But an obligation on an individual, even if most of the time is done for them in a group, might still have various individuals try to fulfill the mitzvah themselves and therefore might practice in front of a rabbi beforehand to be sure they know what they are doing and so might come o care in the public domain on Shabbos (See Dirshu Mishna Berura 588:5:13:17).

Torah Riddles Test #137

  Question: Why does the Machatzis Hashekel hold one can medicinally wash out his eye on Shabbos to prevent his whole body from aching but cannot do so on Yom Kippur?


A.      One may do something for severe medical purposes on Shabbos as long as it does not look like it is being done medically. For example, sucking on a hard candy if you have a sore throat.

B.      One of the prohibitions on Yom Kippur besides eating and drinking is washing or anointing for pleasure.

C.      In regards to melacha things aren’t prohibited on Yom Kippur any more than on Shabbos for the most part.

Answer: Since one cannot washout out his eye on Yom Kippur then even though it is permitted on Shabbos even for medicinal purposes in certain circumstances because it looks like it’s not for healing, nevertheless since you can’t do it for pleasure on Yom Kippur then it looks like you are doing it for healing, therefore it is prohibited (See Dirshu Mishna Berura 614:1:2:4).

Torah Riddles Test #136

1.       Question: According to Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach, why can one say Shehecheyanu for himself and for others when blowing shofar or if everyone is eating the same new fruit, however when a group of people are putting on a new tallis on themselves, though one can make the blessing on the tallis for everyone, each one has to make their own shehecheyanu, so too, if people are sitting around the table eating different new fruits each one has to make their own shehecheyanu. What’s the difference?


A.      The Shehecheyanu on the shofar and tallis is on the joy of the mitzvah.

B.      The Shehecheyanu for the new fruits are for the joy upon reaching the time where they can eat that type of a fruit.

Answer: Everyone is equal when it comes to the joy of performing the mitzvah of listening to the shofar where as everyone who got a new tallis has his own personal joy of getting a new tallis so he has to make his own shehecheyanu blessing. Similarly, if a group of people are sitting around the table eating the same new fruit then they are getting the same enjoyment out of the new fruit where as if there was more than one new fruit on the table then each type would need its own shechecheyanu blessing to be said on it so one cannot say it for the other (See Dirshu Mishna Berura 585:2:5:13).