Torah Riddles Test #68

  1. Question: Why can you fulfill the mitzvah of pidyon haben by giving the five coins one coin at a time to the kohen but you can’t fulfill the mitzvah of lulav and esrog by picking up each of the four species one at a time?

Background:

A. Rav Algazi In Bechoros daf 51 says based on a Tosfos in Sukkah 34b which talks about picking up the lulav and esrog to do the mitzvah that Tosfos holds that anything which is one mitzvah cannot be done one after the other even if you had in mind originally to pick up each item one at a time.

B. The main mitzvah that pidyon haben dependent on giving money (to the kohen).

C. The main mitzvah of lulav and esrog is taking them.

Answer: By lulav and esrog all 4 species must be taken if each one was picked up separately you can’t say they add up to taking all of them a daled minim. But as long as the kohen gets his money in the end it doesn’t matter how that happens the mitzvah is fulfilled so you can give each coin one at a time.

Torah Riddles Test #67

  1. Question: Why are you liable for eating on Yom Kippur the forbidden designated amount of food in a scenario where the first half is permissible?

Background:

A. For example if a person is dangerously sick and was told he must eat half an amount of a thick date of food every 9 minutes. If he eats the full date amount he is liable though the first half was permissible for him to eat.

B. A thick date is the amount considered to be enough to compose and settle one’s mind if he is hungry, which is why it is the amount of liability.

C. The Torah says one should cause himself to suffer on Yom Kippur.

D. The Kesser Sofer (responsa 31) says that even if a person ate half a date size right before Yom Kippur and another half right after Yom Kippur started he is still liable.

Answer: Even though he was only not allowed to have half of what he ate but because the combo combined to create a state of composer and settling of the mind it then created a liability since that is the exact issue which the Torah forbade. The exact measurement is just the amount designated which causes composer.

Torah Riddles Test #66

Question: Why would Rav Yisrael Salanter paskin that one can fulfill the mitzvah of lulav upon taking his friend’s lulav from his hands but can’t fulfill the mitzvah if he picked it up before dawn and was holding it after dawn, but rather he has to put it down and pick it up again?

Background:

 A. Rav Yisrael Salanter poskined that if one picked up a lulav before dawn (alos hashachar) and it is still in his hands after dawn he still hasn’t fulfilled his mitzvah because the mitzvah is picking it up (or taking it) and the taking was at a time which one cannot fulfill the mitzvah yet.

B. The Binyan Shlomo (hilchos lulav, siman 48) is initially in doubt whether one can fulfill the mitzvah of lulav upon accepting it from his friend or whether he has to put it down and pick it up again. The question being whether the taking is the mitzvah and upon taking it was not his yet until it is in his hands or whether it being in his hands is the mitzvah and taking it is just the means of it getting into his hands. The Binyan Shlomo decided that even if the mitzvah is taking it one can still fulfill the mitzvah because upon taking it the transference of ownership and mitzvah happened at the same time.

C. Rav Yisrael Salanter does not hold of this logic which comes from a case by a “get” that a slave goes free as soon as he receive his freedom document in his hands though normally whatever a slave picks up automatically belongs to the owner but the logic of “the ‘get’ and the control of his hand come at the same time” prevents the owner from getting it. This logic is that really a slave can take whatever he picks up but it then goes to the owner but in this case the owner is not taking what should automatically come to him because he is showing he doesn’t want it.

D. In the case of the lulav this logic shouldn’t apply because one cannot start taking something which is not his so it is only given to him by the owner after it was taken so how could he fulfill the mitzvah?

E. Rav Yisrael Salanter really holds of a two part system of fulfilling this mitzvah, that the taking in part one of the mitzvah is in order to set up the main mitzvah of holding it.

Answer: Rav Yisrael Salanter really holds that the holding is the mitzvah but the means of holding it is the taking which is a step in the mitzvah so if it was taken before dawn it was not taken in order to fulfill the mitzvah since it was not at the time of the mitzvah but when being given the lulav to have, he is taking it as part of preparing to fulfill the mitzvah and when he has it in his hands and it is now his the main part of the mitzvah can be and is being fulfilled.

Torah Riddles Test #65

  1. Question: Why does the Rambam rely on the majority in this case of Yom Kippur when the doctors say he does not have to fast but in all other life and death situations the rule is we don’t rely on majority?

Background:

A. The Rambam (Hilchos shvisas ishur 2:8) poskins that if some doctors say one has to eat on Yom Kippur because of a life threatening situation and others say he can fast we go by the majority.

 B. The Rambam (Hilchos Shabbos 2:20) says if there was an apartment building with 1000 non-Jews and 1 Jew and one of them left the building on Shabbos and went next door to a building that then collapsed . The halacha is we must go through the building to see if the person survived since it might be a Jew even if it means profaning Shabbos.

C. The Gemara in Yoma 84b says we don’t rely on majority in life threatening circumstances.

D. For the sake of the severity of Shabbos one can only break Shabbos if a Jew, who has the potential to keep future Shabboses, is in life threatening danger.

Answer: By the Yom Kippur case the doctors are making a decision if it is a life threatening case or not therefore one must rely on a majority but by the Shabbos there is clear and present danger therefore we are not allowed to rely on a majority.

Torah Riddles Test #64

  1. Question: Why can a half slave half free man get married misafek (at least in doubt, see Avnei Miluim 44:3) but he definitely can’t blow shofar for himself or anyone on Rosh HaShana (See Gemara Rosh HaShana 29a)

Background:

A. The Avnei Miluim gives a difference between a half maid servant half free woman and a half slave half free man in that she can definitely accept marriage  because she’s doing nothing, just nullifying her will and knowledge to her would be husband and he is doing the act of marriage. Whereas a half slave half free man since he is doing the action and his half slave side isn’t able to perform a Halachic marriage for his free man side therefore it is questionable whether he can get married.

B. By blowing a shofar since the half slave side isn’t obligated in blowing shofar it can’t help it’s free side blow shofar but if he heard someone else blow shofar then his free side can accept the blow he heard and fulfill the mitzvah.

C. A half slave half free man is one body with two sides or parts to him (or more like two men.)

Answer: Blowing the shofar is dependent on the body since the body is blowing. So since he is one body then both sides are blowing. But marriage doesn’t happen through the body but by the person with his knowledge to get married so now that we are saying they are like two guys inside one body and granted they are both doing the marriage but the slave side doesn’t take away from the free man’s side so the free man’s side might possibly work to create a marriage.

Torah Riddles Test #63

  1. Question: Why is Birkas HaTorah different than all other blessings according to the Shulchan Aruch in that even if you don’t fulfill the mitzvah of learning Torah immediately the blessing made on Torah learning will work for whenever you do learn later?

Background:

A: Normally one has to fulfill the mitzvah as soon as one says a blessing so that there will not be a hefsek/separation between the blessing and the mitzvah which causes a hesech hadaas (One’s mind to lose concentration connecting the mitzvah to the blessing). If he doesn’t then he must make the blessing again and immediately do the mitzvah. (Siman 206)

B. There is a mitzvah to learn Torah 24/7 as it says “vihigisa bo yomam valaila” (You shall toil in it day and night.)

Answer: Because only the mitzvah of Torah learning is 24/7 then there is no hesech hadaas/disconnect of the mind for the entire day, where as any other mitzvah which is not constant then as soon as a distraction happens he loses connection between the blessing and the mitzvah. (See Mishna Berura 47:9:19.)

Torah Riddles Test #62

  1. Question: If two witnesses saw one hair and the other two witnesses saw another hair why don’t they combine to be complete testimony that a boy or girl has come of age but 3 sets of witnesses, one for each year a person has lived on a certain property do combine to prove that someone has the required amount of years needed to assume they are owners of that piece of property?

Background:

 A. The issue mentioned in Choshen Mishpat 30:13 is that a witness can’t testify on a half a matter, only on a whole matter.

 B. Two pubic hairs is a sign of bar or bat mitzvah.

C. 3 years of living or working the land is a chazaka or assumed status of ownership over a piece of land.

Answer: The Be’er Heitiv (24) says that each year is a complete unit by itself. That is all they can testify for that year, so it can be testified about by itself and then combined to equal 3 years of chazaka. But one hair isn’t a unit of measurement at all since both can be seen at once so it is only considered part of the unit of two hairs which is a sign of adulthood and a partial testimony isn’t testimony.

Torah Riddles Test #61

  1. Question: If you aren’t sure if you recited the Birkas Hamazon why do you have to repeat the entire blessing but if you are unsure if you said Birkas HaTorah you should only say the second blessing of “Asher bachar banu”?

Background:

A. Both Birkas Hamazon and Birkas HaTorah are Torah level blessings and though the fifth paragraph of Birkas Hamazon is rabbinic it is said with the rest though by Birkas HaTorah only the second blessing is said to take care of the Torah level blessing because it is considered the better of the two blessings as the Mishna Berura 47:1:1 says.

B. Mishna Berura 184:13 says that the reason why you say the entire Birkas Hamazon including the last blessing paragraph is in order to not denigrate that last blessing and start to always skip it since it would not be taken seriously.

C. Birkas Hamazon is a blessing of praise and Birkas HaTorah is a blessing over a mitzvah.

Answer: Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe Orach Chaim 2:3) says that a person would put the same weight of a blessing on a mitzvah as if it is a mitzvah and would never be lax in the matter and stop saying it but by bentching because it’s just a praise then the seemingly less important praises they would stop saying if skipped at times.

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.