Torah Riddles Test #60

  1. Question: What is the difference between a Kohen contaminating himself with the dead and anyone breaking Shabbos in terms of the concept of “adding on to the count”?

Background:

  1. The Minchas Chinuch (mitzvah 264) says in the name of Tosfos in Brachos 20a that even though a kohen can be spiritually contaminated by the dead body of his close relative but if there are other dead bodies in that house he cannot get out his relative because burial of a relative only pushes off the prohibition of contact with the dead by a kohen. However Rashi holds that the prohibition being in contact with the dead is totally permitted in terms of taking care of a close relative so even if there are other dead bodies in the room it is permitted.
  2. Tosfos said it is forbidden just like cutting off a branch of figs where only one fig is needed to heal a sick person and three are on the branch so you get a prohibition of breaking Shabbos for the other two figs even though they were all on the same branch. Why is Shabbos any different than contact with the dead by a Kohen according to Rashi?
  3. By Shabbos one is liable for each object one does a forbidden act with.

Answer: By Shabbos even though it is one action of cutting off the branch but because it was for 3 different object then the prohibition is attributed to each object as if you did the prohibition 3 times. But once you are tamei, spiritually unclean, that is that, and there is nothing more to add therefore it would make no difference if he came into contact with one or more dead person, so once it is permitted for one it is permitted for all. Parenthetically if a kohen is already in a state of tamei and then later on before being purified he comes in contact again then he does get another sin it is just that at one time since nothing is added when becoming tamei then once it is permitted for his relative then everything else becomes permitted and it is not considered adding unneeded amounts.

Torah Riddles Test #59

  1. Question: Why isn’t it an issue of being forced into a situation of making an unneeded blessing (bracha she’eino tzricha) in terms of washing in the morning or by tefillin but there is an issue of making an unneeded blessing by tzitzis?

Background:

  1. The Mishna Berura (4:13:30) says if one was up all night, for example on Shavuos, or even if he got up before alos hashachar (dawn) and washed his hands(see Mishna Berura 33), then there is a question whether he has to wash his hands in the morning and make a blessing, based on the question in halacha of why we wash, is it because of touching impure places while sleeping, sleeping itself, or just the nighttime which brings a bad spirit onto one’s hands. In any event the suggested practice is to go to the bathroom and then everyone agrees that he would be obligated to make a blessing after washing for washing his hands and going to the bathroom.
  2. The Beur Halacha (25:5 “vitov”) explains the reason why this is fine is because since one is forced to do this because of the doubt it is does not fall into the category of an unneeded blessing. Similarly by tefillin there is a question whether a blessing is needed by the tefillin shel rosh or whether it counts with the blessing over the tefillin shel yad. The Shulchan Aruch and the Vilna Gaon both agree like the view of Rashi that one only makes one blessing for both but the Rema says two blessings should be said like the view of the Rosh. Rebbe Akiva Aiger suggests that one should have in mind to not use the first blessing on the arm tefillin for the head tefillin in order so that he is forced to make the second blessing just in case the halacha is like Rashi that the blessing on the hand tefillin can also count for the head and this is not considered making an unneeded blessing because one is forced to do this to get out of the doubt of who we poskin like.
  3. However the Mishna Berura (8:16:42) says that if one slept in his tzitzis the entire night there is a question whether he can make a blessing on the tzitzis in the morning since there is a doubt whether there is a mitzvah of tzitzis at night or just that pajamas are exempt from tzitzis but day garments are still obligated even at night therefore the Mishna Berura says safek brachos lihakel (when in doubt by a blessing one should be lenient and not say it) however he can have in mind for the tzitzis when making a blessing on his tallis. He then says that this is as long as he doesn’t take it off but if he takes off the tzitzis with having no intention of putting it back on immediately then he would need a new blessing according to everyone but one shouldn’t do this on purpose to create a situation of an unneeded blessing.

Answer: . By washing one is just doing something which he would have to do at some point anyways so he isn’t doing anything extra to force himself to make an unneeded blessing and by tefillin too, the Beur Halacha says that having in mind to not use the blessing on the arm is like talking in the middles of doing the mitzvah which warrants a new blessing so there isn’t a superfluous step which forces a need of a new blessing. But by tzitzis, the garment is already on, and there is no need to take it off, it is totally extra and repetitive so going through the motions of taking it off just to put it on again is more like a loop hole which just creates an unneeded blessing.

Torah Riddles Test #58

1.     Question: Why would tefillin that a child wrote be invalid because since he can’t put on tefillin yet the Torah says he can’t write them either but if a child shechts an animal it is kosher on a Torah level? 
Background: 
A. The Achiezer (3:82:12) pointed out that Tefillin is a new obligation everyday but the prohibition of eating a carcass which obligates one to shecht properly is one obligation per animal that can last for a long time, even after the child grows up. 
B. By tefillin the sofer makes the tefillin kosher by following all the halachas of making tefillin. But by kosher meat the shechting isn’t what makes it kosher, it is the Torah permitting the animal and the shochet is just doing the action of shechting. 

Answer:

A2a. A child isn’t able to put on tefillin today so he can’t be a scribe for that mitzvah which is renewed every day but a child who shechted has ramification for the future since the meat can be eaten after he is bar mitzvah therefore the slaughtering is a good slaughtering since the same mitzvah can be used for when he is bar mitzvah. 
A2b. By tefillin since the whole mitzvah is dependent on the person than if the scribe is a child then the mitzvah was not created since he is obligated in mitvos yet but since the Torah is what makes the animal kosher and the slaughtering is just an act to allow the Torah to make the meat kosher then it makes no difference if a child did it as long as it was done kosherly. 

Torah Riddles Test #57

  1. Question: Why if 2 or 3 people are putting on their Tallis at the same time they can each make their own blessing but if they would bring a havdala candle into the Beis Medrish or shul then one should say a blessing over the candle for everyone for havdala because b’rov am hadras melech, the more people doing something together is a greater honor to the King?

Background:

A. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim, siman 8) says that if 2 or 3 people are putting on their Tallis at the same time all of them should make their own blessing and if they want one of them can make the blessing for them and the rest just answer amen.

B. The Gemara in Brachos 53a brings a case of people sitting in the Beis Medrish and a candle is brought before them. Beis Shammai poskins that each one should make their own blessing in order not to disturb the learning in the Beis Medrish and Beis Hillel poskins that one person should make a blessing for everyone because of b’rov am hadras Melech. We poskin like Beis Hillel as the Shulchan Aruch himself says in 298:14.

C. The concept of b’rov am hadras Melech applies when people do things all together like when one person blows shofar or reads Megillah and everyone else is listening.

Answer: This concept applies when people are doing the same thing all together like in the case of the candle saying a blessing on one havdala candle but not when each person is doing their own thing even if it is the same kind of thing all at once like by a group of people, each one putting on their own Tallis all at once.

Torah Riddles Test #56

1.  Question: Why does the borrower have to pay $200 and not $100 or $300 in the following case? 
Background: 
A. The Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 30:3) brings a case of Reuvain who claims Shimon owes him $1500. He has five witnesses, one says he borrowed $100 another said $200, another said $300, another says $400 and the last one said he borrowed $500. If they all claim the loan took place on the same day but with different amounts Shimon only owes $200 because if you are trying to extract money from someone you have to bring proof. (Hamotzi mechavero alav hara’aya.) 
B. The Sm”a (17) says the number $200 is based on the fact that there are two witnesses who said he owes no more than $200 even though there are 3 witnesses that say he owes at least $300. 
C. There is a rule in Shas that two witnesses and even 100 witnesses are all the same, meaning more witnesses on one side does not create a majority to beat out witnesses on the other side if there are at least 2.
 D. There is a logic in Shas that within $200 is $100. (Bichlal masayim manah.) 

Answer: They certainly don’t pay no more than 200 because the 3 witnesses who say he should pay more are no better than the ones who say they owe the most 200 and they also admit he at least owes $200. Shimon won’t only owe $100 because the one who says he borrowed $100 could add up and combine with the other to $200, though not more than that because the $200 witness only said he owes no more than $200.

Torah Riddles Test #55

  1. Question: Why are those listening to the bracha seem to be more lenient in terms of if they spoke before eating then one who actually said the blessing?

Background:

A. The Rema (Orach Chaim 167:6) says that when one speaks unneeded words before they take a bite they have to make a new blessing, is only if they spoke before the one who said the blessing for them took a bite, but if they spoke after he took a bite it is not considered a separation between the blessing and them eating even though they didn’t eat yet, but they all fulfilled their obligation with the blesser eating his piece. Not everyone needs to eat from the bread he said the blessing they just do that to show a love for the mitzvah.

B. The Magen Avrohom and Taz both ask how it is possible that the listeners are better than the blesser, for by the blesser we say that if he talks before he takes a bite he has to say a new blessing because he made a separation between the blessing and eating. But by the listeners even if they make a separation between the blessing and eating they don’t need to make another blessing?

C. The commentaries’ question is based on the assumption that the concept of “listening is like answering” means that it is as if the listener said the blessing.

D. The Rema seems to hold that the explanation of “listening is like answering” is that really only the blesser is blessing but the blessing counts for those listening as well by just listening.

Answer:Once the blesser eats the blessing is put into play for everyone and really nothing more has to be done for everyone to eat so the ones listening can’t ruin it but as long as the blesser didn’t eat yet then the blessing doesn’t work so if he says something in between the blessing doesn’t connect to the food for anyone. (Whereas if you would say that it is as if each person makes the blessing then the blessing actually wouldn’t go into play and work until everyone ate without interruption.)

Torah Riddles Test #54

  1. Question: According to the Pri Megadim what is the difference between a half slave half free person who can’t blow shofar or read megilla himself but could have someone do it for him and he fulfills those mitzvahs through the messenger but the Pri Megadim does not understand why a person can light Chanukah candles for another person who took on Shabbos early and forgot to light Chanukah candles?

Background:

A. The Pri Megadim did not understand how you can have someone else light Chanukah candles for you if you accidentally first lit Shabbos candles because there is a rule that whatever you can’t do your messenger can’t do for you. This is because the messenger of a person is like himself so if you can’t do it he can’t do it either.

B. The Mahara”m Shick (chelek 1, Even HaEzer, teshuva 129) answers the Pri Megadim’s difficulty by saying this rule that a messenger can’t do something the sender can’t do only applies if the job and the problem is the same, (for example someone asking a messenger to marry him to a relative like his own daughter or mother.) But in this case there are two different factors, Chanukah and Shabbos. The fact that it is Shabbos for this person now is a technicality so the messenger can act on his behalf.

C. This technicality concept is exactly why a half slave half free person can fulfill the mitzvah through others according to the Mahara”m Shick, meaning the only reason why he can’t do the mitzvos himself is because he is a half slave otherwise there is nothing wrong with him doing the mitzvah therefore someone else can do it for him.

The Pri Megadim obviously does not hold of this technical logic so why could others be a messenger for the half slave half free person but it does not make sense in his eyes why a messenger can light Chanukah candles after the sender took on Shabbos?

Answer: By the Chanukah candles case, granted it is a technicality which doesn’t allow him to light but he still can’t light because it is Shabbos and a technicality is no excuse according to the Pri Megadim. But the half free person side really can fulfill any mitzvah it is just that the half slave side is stopping him so a messenger can do the mitzvah for the half free side.

Torah Riddles Test #52

Question: Why aren’t raisins which the owner thought were not ready by twilight of Shabbos (bein hashmashos) muktzah just like a hammer or rock which one has no use for is muktzah as soon as Shabbos comes in?

Background:

A. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 310:4) says that if dates or grapes are being dried and the owner puts them out of his mind as Shabbos comes in but by twilight (bein hashmashos) they were already fully dried and edible, even though the owner didn’t know at the time that it dried but after Shabbos started he was informed it was ready to be eaten at twilight. The Halacha is that it is permitted to be eaten and it is not muktzah though he seemingly mistakenly put them out of his mind as Shabbos came in.

B. Why not say a mistake is a mistake and it can’t be fixed just like any other muktzah item that you thought you had no use for as Shabbos came in and you might change your mind during Shabbos?

Answer: Look at Mishna Berura (17): Really he made no mistake in his mind, rather his mindset was that if as long as they are not ready they are out of his mind and once they are ready then he has them in mind to eat, he just wasn’t informed they were ready until after shabbos started but they were ready to be eaten as Shabbos started so they were never muktzah.

Torah Riddles Test #51

  1. Question: According to the view that you are allowed to say shehecheyanu on just seeing a new fruit why won’t the blessing work on any new fruit you have in mind that you will be seeing even after a few seconds (achar kdei dibur) just like the blessing on eating a fruit works for whatever you have in mind even if it comes out much later in the same meal?

Background:

A. The Ashel Avraham (siman 225) says that if the fruit was not in the house and you cannot see it when saying shehecheyanu, even if you had both fruits in mind only the one at the table is exempted but the one not within eyesight would not be exempted even if it came a few seconds later but after kdei dibur.

B. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 206:5 and Yoreh Deah 19:7) says that the blessing made on one food or one shechting can exempt many others that come afterwards.

C. What obligates one to say a blessing on eating the fruit is the actual eating. So to what obligates the blessing by shechita is the mitzvah of shechita.

D. What obligates the blessing of shehecheyanu upon seeing a new fruit is the joy upon seeing it.

Answer: Since the obligation of the blessing on the food or shechita is in the food or animal itself then it is already ready and in existence even if it is not here yet but the joy over the fruit which sparks an obligation of shehecheyanu only comes when the person sees the fruit so if it is not here in front of him the obligation of the blessing has not started yet for the next fruit so the blessing doesn’t extend to the next one if it isn’t toch kdei dibur.

Torah Riddles Test #50

  1. Question: Why should the sheliach tzibur not say his silent devotion when a minor holding a sefer Torah makes up the tenth man of the minyan and he only recites the repetition out loud?

Background:

A. The Mishna Berura (55:4:24) Brings a view that in emergency purposes one can use one child below bar mitzvah to make a minyan for barchu, kaddish, and kedusha. But not Mourners Kaddish for after Aleinu. He brings down that now a days they used this leniency if the child is holding a sefer Torah but he says many later poskim are stringent even for emergency purposes.

B. Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l (Igros Moshe, Orach Chaim volume 2, chapter 18) ruled that if one does use this leniency the one leading the service should not say the Shemone esray twice, once to himself and once out loud.

Answer: In order to avoid saying brachos levatala, unneeded blessings, according to the view that this leniency does not work. So he just says the shemone esray once which counts for his personal obligation as well.