Torah Riddles Test #48

  1. Question: Why is there a difference between the prohibitions of don’t steal and don’t covet in terms of land?

Background:

 A. Tosfos holds one cannot transgress the prohibition of don’t steal if he steals land (See Minchas Chinuch, mitzva 38).

 B. Everyone agrees one can transgress the prohibition of don’t covet by land as it says “Don’t covet the house of your friend.”

C. Haghos HaMaimoni (Rambam chapter 1, hilchos Gezel viAveida, halacha 11) says that the problem with the prohibition of don’t covet is not the action of taking from your friend but rather the exceeding effort of urging your friend until he gives it to you.

Answer: Since the prohibition of stealing is taking it, the Torah only limited the prohibition to movable objects. Whereas by “don’t covet” where the actual sin is the coveting, meaning the concerted effort put in is the real problem and taking what you want is only a condition or just revealing to what extent one desires it, then there is no difference between land or movable objects.

Torah Riddles Test #47

  1. Question:  Why does the litigant (lender) have to be in court in order to accept witnesses that a debt was paid in a case where the defender (borrower) says he paid a debt of his deceased father’s and there is a receipt that it was already paid?

Background:

  1. The Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 28:18) says that the only time the rule that a litigant must be present when accepting witnesses in court applies is when he is the one claiming money, (meaning he is trying to extract money from the other party) but one can bring witnesses to court even if he isn’t there in order to exempt himself from needing to pay anything.
  2. The Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 108:16) says that children who inherited a document of debt for a loan from their father and then a receipt was found after the father’s death that the borrower had paid the debt, one shouldn’t rip up the document of loan or try to collect the debt until the orphans grow up since this receipt might have been forged which is why the borrower did not reveal it until after the father died. Even if there are witnesses who can testify that they remember the payment, there testimony is not valid testimony because we don’t accept testimony if the litigants aren’t present (and as children they are not considered present even if they show up to court.)
  3. Aren’t the witnesses used to exempt the borrower from making the payment so the litigant does not have to be there?
  4. Once a debt is paid the loan document is usually ripped up.

Answer: Ripping up the loan document is considered taking away from the litigant so the children must be adults and present in court in order to do that.

Torah Riddles Test #46

  1. Question: If someone stole an esrog on Sukkos and returns a different one of lesser value during Sukkos why is that ok but if one stole a garment with tzitzis on it and he returns a garment with tzitzis on it of lesser value it is not good enough? Background:
  2. The Mishna LiMelech (Hilchos Maaseh Korbanos 16:7) questioned whether the owner can claim I want to perform the mitzvah in the best possible way which is why I bought this expensive esrog, or can the thief claim back that since you already fulfilled the mitzvah at least once, the first time being the Torah level mitzvah and the rest rabbinic then he isn’t obligated in giving him back the nicest esrog. The Mishna LiMelech brought down the Maharam Mintz who proved from the 7th chapter of Bava Metzia that the owner has no right to claim that he wanted to perform the mitzvah in the best possible way.

Answer: The esrog itself is really not worth anymore that a few dollars but because of the holiday it is worth a lot more so one cannot claim the full amount he bought it for since it is inflated he just is entitled to a kosher esrog that can be used on Sukkos. However the garment has an intrinsic value and the tzitzis tied onto it just adds to its intrinsic beauty and value so the full value has to be paid back.

Torah Riddles Test #45

  1. Question: What is the difference between taking out shaatnez from the collar of a four cornered garment after one has already tied tzitzis on it and removing an oath from the garment you swore you wouldn’t wear after you put tzitzis on it, according to the Pri Megadim?

Background:

A. The Pri Megadim (Mishbetzos Zahav 18:1) says that if one first put on tzitzis onto the garment and then removed the shaatnez one has to restring the tzitzis because the Torah says that one has to put on tzitzis on a garment ready to be worn, not make it obligated in tzitzis once the strings are already on, therefore if it has shaatnez on it, it is not wearable yet.

B. The Imray Binah mentions the case of a garment that one has sworn not to wear and then gets his oath annulled after putting on tzitzis. Why wouldn’t that be an issue of making it wearable after tzitzis is tied on it just like the shaatnez case?

Answer: The garment with shaatnez is forbidden to everyone so it is totally unwearable until fixed but the garment he swore not to wear is only forbidden to the one who made the oath but is permited to anyone else so it is considered ready to have tzitzis put on even before the owner is  able to wear it. You can also say that even if it was forbidden by an oath to the entire world it is different because it was a side issue which did not make it wearable but shaatnez is a fundamental issue in the garment itself so you must first take care of the issue then tie on the tzitzis.

Torah Riddles Test #44

Question: When creating a habit why would the fact that you made a mistake and said morid hageshem in your shemone esray after Pesach not disrupt and force you to start all over again the 30 day count of creating a habit but if an ox gores a cow one day then stops when he sees other cows for a couple of days then gores two more cows on consecutive days that does not create a habit of a muad, a habitual goring cow?

Background:

 A. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 114:8) says that after 30 days of not saying morid hageshem in the summer or vice versa in the winter then one can assume that he said it if he is unsure but within 30 days he must go back and repeat shemone esray if he is unsure because he hasn’t yet created a habit to say or ignore morid hageshem.

 B. The Machatzis Hashekel is wondering why if one makes a mistake he doesn’t have to start the 30 days all over again in order to create the habit.

 C. The Gemara in Bava Kama daf 36 says that if an ox gores one day and the next day does not gore then gores for another two consecutive days it is not habitual because the first goring doesn’t combine with the other two (3 are needed to create a habit) since in between he saw cows and didn’t gore them.

Answer: The ox has to show that he formed a consistent pattern of an assumption that it will constantly gore if faced with the situation to gore if it doesn’t create the pattern it does not become a muad, habitual. Whereas the 30 days one needs to get use to saying morid hageshem or vice versa is creating a habit one is not used to so each time one does it correctly it compounded and combines with the previous time to create an amplifying affect which turns into a habit after 30 days so if one missed one or two days it is alright because he is not used to it yet but the cumulative effect is still building up until he is use to it after 30 days. (It has nothing to do with a pattern.)

Torah Riddles Test # 43

1. Question: Why does the Gemara in Yevamos find fault in nullifying the mitzvah of Yibum if one creates a situation where it is forbidden for it to be done but if that is the case it should be forbidden to take off your four corner garment because one is nullifying the mitzvah of tzitzis?

Background:

 A. The Gemara in Yevamos says that there is a view who holds that it is forbidden to nullify the mitzvah of yibum for example: If there are four brothers, two of them married two sisters and died and we say that the other two brothers should do chalitza not yibum for if one of the remaining brothers do yibum and then dies then the last brother cannot do yibum or chalitza after he die yibum to one of the sisters before because the Yevama would be the sister of his wife.

B. The mitzvah of tzitzis is to don tzitzis on a four cornered garment one is wearing or wrapped in.

C. The mitzvah of yibum is to marry the wife of your childless brother with the intention of upholding his name by having a child through his widowed wife.

Answer: The mitzvah of yibum is still there his brother still died childless it is just that he can’t fulfill it because it would be his wife’s sister who is forbidden to him, so there would be an overriding exemption. The Gemara is saying that one is not allowed to put in himself into a position that he would be forced to be exempt from the mitzvah. Whereas when one takes off his garment the entire mitzvah is gone it’s not like it is there but there is an exemption therefore it is not considered nullifying the mitzvah to take off one’s tzitzis garment.

Torah Riddles Test #42

Question: Why does Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach say that we do say Tachanun on the 13th of Sivan even if living outside of Israel even according to the opinion that one does not say Tachanun for six days after Shavuos which was the make up time of when they would bring their Yom Tov offering in the beis hamikdash since not everyone could do it on Shavuos itself?

Background:

A. The Mishna Berura (131:7:36) writes that there are places who have the custom to not say Tachanun all six days after Shavuos since they used to make up the sacrifices of the holiday during those days.

 B. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach holds the count of those days does not start after the second day of Shavuos outside of Israel, rather after the first day which is the sixth of Sivan so there would be no Tachanun until the 12th and they would start back saying it on the 13th.

Answer: The sacrifices were only brought in the Beis Hamikdash in Israel which only keeps one day so that is why we don’t start counting from the day after Shavuos ends outside of Israel. (See Dirshu note 14 in Mishna Berura 494:3:8).

Torah Riddles Test #41

  1. Question: Why doesn’t Tosefes Yom Tov, taking on Yom Tov early in regards to prohibiting yourself from doing melacha before sunset, not contradict the 49 complete days of the Omer but saying kiddush and maariv before nighttime does?

Background:

A. The Mishna Berura (494:1:1) says that maariv should be pushed off to later on the first night of Shavuos until the stars come and it is completely night so that the days of the counting of Omer will be 49 complete days.

B. The Pri Megadim says this applies to saying kiddush also, if one would eat first then Daven maariv in a set minyan or for a woman who is alone and is not davening maariv.

 C. Rav Nosson Karelitz says one can accept upon himself “Tosefes Yom Tov” because that doesn’t take away from the completeness of 49 full days it is just that one cannot do any melacha because he took upon himself Tosefes Yom Tov.

Answer: Davening maariv or saying kiddush is an action which actively shows they are moving on to the next day so if done earlier they are not completing the 49 days of counting. Whereas refraining from doing malacha is passive, all it is taking a vow not to do any work for a certain time period for the sake of honoring the Yom Tov but it does not show that they are ready to move on to the next day. (See footnote 1 and 2 in Dirshu there.)

Torah Riddles Test #40

  1. Question: Why can a single Jewish witness absolve himself from paying for what he forced his fellow Jew to pay in non-Jewish court by claiming he was just telling the truth but if a person forcefully takes away something from one person in front of two witnesses which supposedly belongs to his friend and his friend skips town, he must pay back the guy he “stole” from because he is only one witness that says it belongs to his friend even if he claims he is telling the truth?

Background:

A. The Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 28:3) presents a case where a non-Jew brings a Jew to non-Jewish court claiming he is owed money and a single Jewish witness testifies against his fellow Jew. The Shulchan Aruch says that the witness is excommunicated for testifying by himself against a fellow Jew and it is in fact forbidden to do. However the Rema adds that he would not have to pay for the loss of money he caused his fellow Jew to receive because he can claim “I was just telling the truth,” and in fact the Rema says in si’if 4 that if it were two witnesses that testified against the Jew in non-Jewish court that would be fine because they can do the same in Jewish court. Of course if the witness was lying he’d have to pay.

B. The Ketzos in footnote 4 adds that if the one witness was a relative of the Jew or invalid to testify in Jewish court then he feels he should have to pay for the loss he caused to his fellow Jew even if he claims he was telling the truth because he is an invalid witness whereas the single kosher witness is still a witness he just can’t testify without someone else in Jewish court.

Answer: . The person who grabbed from his fellow for his friend has no proof that he is telling the truth and he lost his credentials of being honest by looking like he is stealing from the person he grabbed from, whereas the single witness in non-Jewish wasn’t acting the way things should be done in Jewish court but there is no reason to think he lost his credentials of being a trustworthy honest Jew.

Torah Riddles Test #39

  1. Question: Why can a Jew make a deal with a non-Jew to take care of his vineyard and eat its grapes in exchange for the non-Jew working on his vineyard and eating those grapes during the 3 years of orlah but if they were partners in one field the non-Jew cannot just work on it the first 3 years and eat from its fruit and then the Jew eat for the next 3 years and eat the same amount of fruit as his non-Jewish partner ate the first 3 years?

Background:

 A. Orlah is the Halacha that for the first 3 years after a Jew plants a tree he cannot eat from its fruits.

B. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 294:13) poskins like the Rambam that by a partnership of a Jew and non-Jew, none of them can eat fruit from the tree for the first 3 years after planting unless a specific condition was made for the non-Jew to eat the fruits for the first 3 years and the Jew for the next 3 years. But the condition cannot be conditional on each one getting the same and equal amount of fruit because that would be trading orlah fruit for regular fruit.

C. In si’if 14 the Shulchan Aruch allows one to ask a non-Jew to work his vineyard and eat the fruits produce during the years of orlah while the Jew works on the non-Jews vineyard during those 3 years and eats the same amount of fruit.

 D. Everyone agrees that one can sell his orlah fruit for money when one first plants his tree (See si’if 15.)

Answer: Trading one’s land for the non-Jew’s land to work the land along with eating his fruits is more like a sale than a trade because he is selling his field in exchange for working and taking care of his field. This is totally permissible, unlike just a trade of fruit for fruit. (See Taz there note 22.)