Torah Riddles Test #100

  Question: Why do we not wait for a Tallis to come if one only has tefillin but we do wait until Motzei Shabbos, Saturday night to say Kiddush Levana?


A.      The Shulchan Aruch and Rema (Orach Chaim 25:1) says that you should put your Tallis on before your tefillin in order to go up in levels of holiness in this way beautifying the mitzvah. However if one doesn’t have the Tallis with him at the time but knows its coming he should not wait to put it on but rather put the tefillin on first and then the Tallis later. The Magen Avraham (2) explains that though one is sacrificing the beautification of the mitzvah but one shouldn’t push off the mitzvah of tefillin lest he loses out on putting it on in a timely fashion, for a mitzvah done at the right time is more beloved by Hashem.

B.        The Rema (Orach Chaim 426:1) says we should push off the mitzvah of Kiddush Levana until Motzei Shabbos (as long as there is no prolonged concern of overcast) in order to beautify the mitzvah by doing it at a time when we are feeling more joyous, dressed in fancy clothing. (Truth is the Mishna Berura (20) brings many Achronim who say one shouldn’t delay the mitzvah of Kiddush Levana, but there seems to be a contradiction in the Rema that must be resolved!)

C.       What aspect of the mitzvah is being beautified in each case?

Answer: By kiddush levana the beautification is on the mitzvah itself to dress nicely when saying it but by tefillin and tallis it is only a side issue of what comes first to treat the holier one with more respect.

Torah Riddles Test #99

1.       Question: Why does Rebbe Akiva Aiger hold you would have to say a blessing on a mezuzah that is already on the doorpost when you move into a house you are newly renting but would not have to say a blessing on the fence that was put around the roof?

Background: A. Rabbi Akiva Aiger holds you have to say a blessing on the mezuzah when moving into the house because it is a new mitzvah for him in this house.

B. There is a mitzvah to put up a fence around the roof or porch if you are able to walk on it so that people won’t fall off.

C. The Birkay Yosef and others who argue on Rabbi Akiva Aiger say that you only make a blessing upon putting on the mezuzah just like upon building the fence.

D. According to Rabbi Akiva Aiger why don’t you say a blessing on the fence since it is a new mitzvah for him in his new house?

 E. Hint: What is the motor that sparks the obligation for each mitzvah?

Answer: By mezuzah what sparks the obligation is the person living in the house so when he moves to a new house he has a new mitzvah which prompts him to make another blessing but by the fence what prompts the obligation is the danger and the previous people living there took care of the obligation so there is no mitzvah taking place right now when he moves in.

Torah Riddles Test #98

Question: Why if you were about to eat a fruit and it fell from your hands and got ruined right after you made a blessing on it, do you have to make another blessing on another fruit that was in front of you at the time of the blessing, according to the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 206:6) but if you said a blessing upon shechting a cow and it is found to be a treifa and therefore inedible, the Kreisi Upleisi (19:6) is in doubt whether you have to make another blessing on the next one he was going to shecht?


A. Hint: What is the reason for each blessing?

 Answer: The blessing over the fruit was to eat it and now you can’t do the blessing was for not but the blessing over slaughtering the cow was to slaughter the cow and you did that, it just happened to be a treifa and inedible but he still did the mitzvah of shechting so it might be enough for the blessing to count for other cows you were planning on slaughtering.

Torah Riddles Test #97

1.       Question: Why is the blessing Kiddish Levana considered a time bound mitzvah which women are exempt from but the blessing of shehecheyanu on a new fruit is not (See Magen Avraham in the name of the Shelah Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 426:1)


A. The Chochmas Shlomo there actually argues and holds Kiddush Levana is not time bound because only mitzvos that could technically be done all year around, at all times like shofar, Sukkah, tefillin, tzitzis etc. but the Torah gives them a specific time to fulfill the mitzvos are considered time bound but kiddush Levana is dependent on the cycle of the moon, it can’t be said on the second half of the month because it is waning then and the Rabbis enacted it should only be said when it is waxing, so you can’t technically say it whenever you want like all other time bound mitzvos.

 B. Kiddush Levana which is based on the waning and waxing of the moon sounds like a similar concept as saying a shehecheyanu on a new fruit which is limited in time based on when the fruit is in bloom which means they can’t really be done all year around technically.

  Answer: Really kiddush Levana could be done the whole month but the rabbi enacted that it should be done on the first half of the month therefore it is time bound. Whereas the happiness you get out of seeing a new fruit could only be had once the fruit is in bloom therefore it is not halachically time bound.  

Torah Riddles Test #96

  1. Question: What does Rebbe Akiva Aiger hold is the difference between stoking the coals under a pot of meat stew that belongs to a non-Jew (during the week) and dragging a chair or light piece of furniture across a dirt yard on Shabbos in terms of psik reisha?


A. Psik reisha is when something is guaranteed to happen even if it is not your intention.

B. The Rema in Yoreh Deah 87:6 says one shouldn’t stoke coals under a fire cooking a non-Jews meat stew because maybe there is milk and meat mixed into the walls of the pot and inevitably you will be cooking meat and milk together even though you have no intention of cooking them together.

C. When one is dragging a light piece of furniture across the yard he certainly doesn’t intend to plow his dirt, there is that possibility but it won’t necessarily inevitably happen.

D. Why can’t you make the same argument that there is not necessarily any milk in the walls of the pot so you wouldn’t be cooking meat and milk together?

Answer: A doubt which is in the PRESENT like in the case of the dragging the chair is not considered inevitably going to happen but a doubt of what happened in the PAST is considered inevitable that you will transgress the sin even if it is not guaranteed that it is there therefore it is forbidden to take the risk. When there is a possible guarantee of a problem then you can’t take a chance but if there isn’t even a possible guarantee then you can take the chance even if something wrong might happen but since you have no intention of doing it, it is permissible.

Torah Riddles Test #95

  1. Question: Why can a drunk or blind man take challah from dough but cannot take Teruma from fruit?


A. One is not allowed to take teruma from bad quality fruit for good quality fruit.

B. One takes challah from a whole bowl of dough made from five pounds of flour.

Answer: There is no such thing as taking from the bad for the good by challah it is all the same dough so you can be drunk or blind when performing that mitzvah but by teruma you have to be cognizant enough to differentiate so they can’t do it. See Shach Yoreh Deah 328:2:4.

Torah Riddles Test #94

Question: Why can a non-Jewish maid sew her own clothes in a Jew’s house on Shabbos but she cannot write her own personal letter?


A.      A maid cannot do melacha, forbidden work for her Jewish boss on Shabbos and the Mishna Berura 244:5:30 says that even for her to do work for herself is forbidden in his home so that people who see her shouldn’t say she is doing work for a Jew, I.e a maaris ayin issue.

Answer: When fixing her clothes everyone would agree it is obvious she is doing it for herself but when writing a letter it is not so obvious it is for herself.

Torah Riddles Test #93

Question: Why is there an issue of mar’is ayin by a certain case in the laws of Shabbos but not in a certain case by the laws of Kashrus?


A. Mar’is ayin is causing others to think you are doing something wrong when you really aren’t. You can’t put yourself into that situation, for example walking into a McDonald’s to ask for a coke and people might think you are buying non-kosher food.

B. The Rema in the Mishna Berura (244:1) says one cannot hire a non-Jew as a contractor to build a wall around your house if he is going to be also working on Shabbos because people with think he is being paid a daily wage which is certainly forbidden to do on Shabbos rabbinicly. And even if one lives in the middle of nowhere only among non-Jews there is concern that a guest who comes or one of your household members will suspect you of hiring him as a daily wager on Shabbos.

C. A contractor can technically get something done for you on Shabbos because you are not paying him by the hour or day, rather to just get the job done so working on Shabbos is for his own convenience not for your benefit it is just forbidden because of mar’is ayin since people will say he was hired by the hour to work for you even on Shabbos and the rabbis forbade non-Jews to work for or give benefit to a Jew if it will be doing something a Jew cannot do on Shabbos.

 D. The Nachalas Tzvi in Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah (87:3) said that we are allowed to cook chicken in almond milk because milk and chicken is only rabbinically forbidden and though the Shach and Maharshal argue on the Rema and says there is an issue of maaris ayin even for rabbinic matters so it should apply in this case too however the Rema holds that surely maaris ayin applies in rabbinic cases but only in cases which is for sure maaris ayin but here in this case where chicken is being cooked in almond milk inside the house there is no concern of a prohibition accept for what the rabbis enacted that whenever there is an issue of maaris ayin that’s even privately in the house but that’s only for Torah level mitzvos but here even if he is making it in front of his household it is considered private because they for sure know what he is doing.

Answer: By the Chicken in almond milk they can see what he is doing so there is no room to be mistaken but by the shabbos case not everyone knows the business of the head of the household so there might be what to be suspect.

Torah Riddles Test #92

2.       Question: Why does the Chesed Avraham hold you can use an electric machine to make tzitzis but not to shecht an animal?


A. The Har Tzvi brings those that are strict who say that both tzitzis making and shechting must be done by hand and not machine because the Torah says by shechting “and you shall slaughter” which sounds like “you,” it needs human power to kosherly slaughter an animal. By tzitzis the Torah instructs “you shall make for you” which also implies human power is needed to make tzitzis.

B. Why doesn’t the Chesed Avraham understand the verse by tzitzis in the same manner as he understands the verse by shechita?

C. By twirling and knotting the strings you are transforming them into tzitzis. Whereas by a live kosher animal all you are doing is killing it in a specific way the Torah tells you to do it.

A2. In terms of tzitzis the action is just the means of transforming strings into an object called tzitzis so you don’t necessarily need a person to do that as long as the transformation took place it is now a kosher pair of tzitzis. Whereas by shechita there is no transformation into a new entity taking place so the action of slaughtering isn’t just a means it is an act in of itself therefore it will require special halachos like a person’s own power doing the action as the Torah indicates and therefore a machine doing it, no matter how precise will not halachically be able to do the job.                Result vs. Process

Torah Riddles Test #91

1.       Question: If in terms of making a vow mushroom are included within things that grow from the ground then why don’t you make a “borei pri ha’adama”, the blessing you make over vegetables that grow from the ground?


A. The blessing you make on mushrooms is a “shehakol”.

B. Mushroom get nourishment from the air.

C. The understanding of a vow is based on how people talk.

 Answer: The Ra”n explaining the Gemara in Nedarim daf 55b explains that because one sees mushroom scatter about throughout the ground then when one says he vows to not get any benefit from anything that grows on the ground then mushrooms are included but since the main way a mushroom grows is through nourishment from the air then the blessing when eating it is Shehakol since anything which does not grow from the ground gets that blessing.