Torah Riddles #217

Question: Why doesn’t a person go blind after taking 500 big steps?


 A. The Mishna Berura (301:1:1) Says , based on a pasuk, “And he shall honor it from what he does on your ways” refers to the fact that the way you walk on Shabbos should not be the way you walk during the week, for it is the way of people to rush and run to their business. And even during the week one shouldn’t take big steps because it takes 1/500th away of one’s eyesight. It just that on Shabbos there is also a prohibition dating back from the times of the prophets.

B. Tosfos in Taanis 10b “p’sia” says that only the first step will take away eyesight because it’s only 1/500 each big step.

 Answer: Either you can say he gets used to taking big steps so the eyes adjust or every beginning if something is harsh but after continuing then each steps gets weaker and weaker and only takes 1/500 of the previous 1/500th that was lost.

Torah Riddles #216

1.       Question: Why do friends of the Chosson put on tefillin now a days (from time of the Rema) throughout sheva brachos even though it’s possible they might get drunk and are then forbidden to don tefillin?


A. In the Mishna Berura (38:7) the Mechaber writes that a chosson and his friends who are joyous with him and all those connected to the chupa are exempt from tefillin because it’s possible that it will lead to drunkenness and lightheaded atmosphere.

B. The Chofetz Chaim in Mishna Berura (23) says that the Teshuvas Rema (132) poskins that now a days where even the chosson is required to say krias Shema and shemone esray (see siman 70), then automatically the chosson and anyone associated with the chupa are obligated in putting on tefillin. The Olas Tamid and Birkay Yosef poskin like this Rema.

C. Concept in halacha that if you are involved with one mitzvah you are exempt from the other. D. The Shulcham Aruch says 70:3 that if one marries a virgin, he is exempt from saying krias shema the first 3 days of marriage because he is too busy being involved with the mitzva of marriage. But that was originally, but now a days where people normally do not have proper intent in the davening any ways then even a chosson says the shema.

  Answer: The level of fulfilling a mitzvah is lower now a days so just as the chosson cannot fulfill his mitzvah to the biggest capacity so too his friends don’t have the heter to drink since they are expected to fulfill their mitzvah to the highest capacity.

Torah Riddles Question #215

1.       Question: Why does Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe Orach Chaim 2:77) poskin that if a Jew purposefully carries keys in the public domain in order to open the shul then the congregants may not enter the shul until it is relocked and opened by a non-Jew, since the congregants walking in are benefiting from the door being opened, however he says in (1:126:3-4) that one is only forbidden to benefit from the prohibition of Shabbos for his own benefit if transgressed but one may benefit if it is for the sake of a mitzvah, like here where they are going to daven in shul? (See Dirshu Mishna Berura 318 footnote 28 and page 39 footnote 9.)


A.      The Mishna Berura 318:1 says there is a rabbinic fine that one may not ever get any benefit from a Torah prohibition that he himself purposefully transgressed and others must wait until after Shabbos to benefit from it.

B.      The Be’ur halacha (2nd one in the siman) quotes a Chaye Adam that though this fine only applies to prohibitions which caused the actual object to change like by cooking or planting, or lighting a fire but, for example carrying in the public domain doesn’t change the object carried at all, but still you should be strict and not benefit from the object carried, at least until after Shabbos.

 Answer: Because there is an easy solution of ow to fix the problem by getting a non-Jew to reopen it then it’s considered benefit for yourself to walk through the do that was opened by the Jew and not for the sake of a mitzva.

Torah Riddles #214

Question: Why when you forget to say Birkas haTorah ahava rabba can count as saying Birkas haTorah only if you learn immediately after davening but let say you slept the whole entire day and didn’t say Birkas haTorah but davened mincha/maariv early with a minyan before it was dark, then the Shema counts as learning after Ahavas olam? 


A. The Mishna Berura 47:7:13 says the blessing of ‘Ahavas Olam’ takes care of birkas haTorah if you learn immediately after davening without any interruptions. This applies in the morning (for Ashkenazim we say ‘ahava rabba’) or in the evening, for example if someone took a few hour nap in tbe day according to the opinion you have to birkas HaTorah and even those that are lenient it does not hurt to have in mind birkas haTorah when saying ‘ahavas olam’ during maariv.

B. The Mishna Berura (17) says that the reason why you have to learn right after davening is because it’s not apparent you are saying ahava rabba for the mitzva of learning Torah since it’s being said during another mitzvah, of davening. Rav Elyashiv adds that even though Shema can be considered Torah learning but because it’s being said for another mitzvah of krias Shema, which is a mitzva to be recited in the morning and at night once it is dark and the stars are out, and the bracha at the end of ahava rabba does not talk about learning Torah rather the love of Hashem for the Jews then without learning right after davening it’s not apparent it was said for Birkas haTorah.

 Answer: The Dirshu (note 22) quotes a Teshuvas Hisorirus that because you recited Shema of maariv too early and it would have to be repeated once it got dark then it is apparent that the paragraph of Ahavas olam was said for Birkas haTorah and the Shema was used for learning.

Torah Riddles #213

Question: Why can you hold your lulav and esrog during davening, including shema and shemone esray but you can’t hold your tefillin in your hands, or a knife , plate full of stuff, or bread, neither can you hold your lulav and esrog while learning Torah, what is the difference?


A. Rashi in Sukkah 41b says you’ll be afraid the knife will fall on your foot, the plate full of stuff will spill, and if the bread falls it will become disgusting. But if the lulav and especially esrog falls it might become unkosher?

B. Love for the mitzvah not a burden

C.תלמוד תורה כנגד כולם

  Answer: The taking and holding of the lulav and esrog is the mitzvah and because of the love to perform the mitzvah it is not considered a burden therefore you won’t be distracted during davening but holding tefillin or the knife, bread and plate is a burden and will be a weight and distraction during davening which will not allow him to concentrate properly. By Torah learning since he will get so involved in his learning and will get distracted from the mitzvah of lulav and esrog and they might fall out of his hands therefore he should give it to someone else to hold while learning. (See Rashis there.)

Torah Riddles #212

Question: Why can you fix an esrog by just peeling off the place a mouse bit from, though it was disgusting yet you can’t just take out the mouse even if the oil is 60 times more than the mouse that fell into it, in order to use the oil for Chanukah candles since it is disgusting?


  1. The Rema (549:5) says if mice made holes in the esrog one should not use even on other days beside yom tov because it is disgusting, until you remove the spots the mice punctured. The Mishna Berura (37) adds that we are lenient because an incomplete esrog is technically kosher to be used on other days, but just ideally we are stringent here because it was disgusting, therefore when the area that was disgusting is removed it is kosher again. The Sfas Emes brought in the Dirshu (footnote 64 found in the back, page 85) adds that being disgusting only applies to something which is potentially edible and therefore it is considered disgusting to be used for the mitzva but if mice would have nibbled on hadasim or aravos they could still be used.
  2. The Mishna Berura (573:1:3) says if one finds a mouse in the oil, it is disgusting and forbidden to be used for Chanukah light. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah siman 104) says one must remove the mouse if found whole or in parts before eating or drinking the item it fell into like wine, or oil in this case, which means it would be kosher to eat, but only if its taste was nullified in 60 times the liquid it fell into before being taken out. Yet the Mishna Berura still says it’s disgusting and can’t be used for Chanukah oil without mentioning that if taken out it is permitted so the oil must still be forbidden to use to light for Chanukah.

Answer: The oil that the mouse was in is still there even if the mouse was nullified in 60 and then removed so that is still disgusting and cannot be used for the mitzvah. But the area where the mouse took a bite from on the esrog is now gone if shaven off so the esrog is not disgusting anymore and can be used for the mitzvah on all other days besides the first.

Torah Riddles #211

Question: What’s the difference between rinsing off fruit which is forbidden on Shabbos according to the Chazon Ish and rinsing dishes on Shabbos which is permitted on Shabbos according to the Chazon Ish?


A. The Mishna Berura (319:8:28) says that one cannot soak fruits or vegetables in water to get off dirt on shabbos because it is borer (choosing bad from the good, using the water as a utensil).

B. The gemara in Shabbos 118b says you are allowed to rinse your dishes in running water or dip then in and out to clean the dishes because it’s cleaning not borer. Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach and Rav Elyashiv all have a side to say that one can also rinse fruit and vegetables for the same reason as the dishes that it’s just cleaning not borer, if you do it right before you eat it. But Rav Elyashiv says it’s better to rinse fruit and vegetables before shabbos.

C. Hint: Borer is fixing the object being chosen.

Answer: Dirshu footnote 32: Rav Nissim Karelitz explains the Chazon Ish’s view that since borer is fixing the object being chosen, but vessels, since the way of using vessels is to use them, wash them and clean them off after each usage, then rinsing the vessel from its dirt is not considered fixing the vessel. But removing the dirt from fruits and vegetables is fixing the fruit and is considered borer. Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach adds that vessels last a while, so even if there is dirt or food stuck to it, it’s not a mixture and removing it isn’t considered washing or borer, however food, since it’s nature is to rot and go bad, therefore if dirt or the like is mixed in with it, then removing it is considered borer.

Torah Riddles #210

Question: Why does the Eshel Avraham hold that drinking coffee with milk in the morning is enough sustenance, the same as having bread for breakfast?


 A. The Mishna Berura (155:2:11) says that before going to the Beis medrish one can eat bread for breakfast if that is what he is use too, and it’s good to make it a habit, as it says in the gemara: There are 83 types of sicknesses caused by bile in the gall bladder and a kibeitzah (egg measurement as per the pri megadim) of bread with salt and cup of water in the morning can prevent it. And it’s a mitzvah to act with good attributes and in good measure to protect one’s health in order to be strong so that one can serve Hashem. (Parenthetically Rav Rav Shmuel Wasner zt”l says that if one doesn’t eat breakfast properly he is not a sinner because this wasn’t enacted by the Rabbis as a mitzvah but rather only as good advice and the proper thing to do, like a queasy mitzvah.

B. The Pri Megadim says that it doesn’t have to be specifically bread but any mezonos, cakes, cookies, crackers, pizza (pas haba bikisnen) will suffice, however a cooked dish even something like pasta, oatmeal or cream of wheat would not suffice.

Answer: Since the milk in the coffee has enough vitamins and minerals in it that suffices to sustain the person for this purpose. (See Dirshu Mishna Berura footnote 8.)

Torah Riddles #209


Question: What’s the difference between eating and drinking in regards to feeding your animal first where there is a mitzvah to give food to your animal before you eat but you don’t have to give a drink to your animal before you drink?


 A. The Mishna Berura (167:6:40) says that if a person says a bracha, before taking a bite, besides being allowed to ask for the salt, or telling someone to pass a piece to someone, he can also say please feed the pet because there is a mitzvah to feed animals before you eat so if you forgot and said a bracha and about to eat then you can tell someone to feed the animals before he takes a bite. But in terms of drinking a person has the right to drink before his animals as we see that Rivka first gave water to Eliezer then the camels at the well.

B. There can be issues of getting too busy or suffering.

Answer: Footnote 31 in the Dirshu says in the name of the Ksav Sofer and Har Tzvi that a person will more easily get distracted while eating and forget to feed his animals then while drinking. Or a person is in more pain over thirst than over hunger so he has a right to drink first. The Ohr Hachaim adds that if he has a lot of hunger pains then he can eat first then feed animals.

Torah Riddles Test #209

 2.      Question: Why does the prohibition of mechamer only apply to animals but not to slaves?


A. The melacha of Mechamer is the prohibition to command or lead your animal to do a melacha for you, for example instructing your donkey to walk while it has packages on it’s back or while a hoe is attached to it and inevitably the ground will be plowed.

B. There is a positive mitzvah on the owner to rest one’s animal and slave on Shabbos. The question is why doesn’t the negative mitzvah also apply for the slave?

C. A slave has free choice but an animal doesn’t, however when a slave does listen to the master it should be no different than the animal?

 D. The Ra”n and Rashba, arguing on the Minchas Chinuch hold that the prohibition of mechamer also applies to an animal which does not belong to you since it is doing a melacha on your command, you caused it to moved and it’s as if you did the melacha. But the Minchas Chinuch holds this only applies to your own animal because the verse says “and your animal”.

 Answer: Since a slave has free choice, even though he will do work on the owner’s command but it’s not like the owner itself is doing it, because the slave decides to listen to the command. But by an animal doing work on command of it’s owner or anyone’s command then it’s as if the person himself did the action because he caused the animal to do it without any other outside factors like a decision by the listener, so he transgressed the prohibition.