Torah Riddles Test #12

  1. Question: What is the difference between putting a clay vessel in the oven right before Shabbos to finish hardening which Rashi in Shabbos 74b says does not constitute breaking Shabbos under the prohibition of makeh b’patish, i.e. giving the final blow to create an object, since the oven is doing it by itself and you are doing nothing to finish it, whereas the Even Ha’Ozer (Orach Chaim 328) says that putting in wheat kernels to be ground on Shabbos by a mill running on water does constitute breaking shabbos  and is forbidden (according to him on a Torah level and according to the Magen Avraham on a Rabbinic level) even though you aren’t directly grinding, the water is causing the machine to grind for you?

Background:

  1. The issue with the melacha of techina/grinding is the action of grinding.
  2. The issue with the melacha of makeh bipatish/doing the final blow is the result of a finished product.

Answer: You are responsible for causing the machine to grind by putting the kernels into the machine for it to be ground by the water since the issue is the action itself which you caused the machine to do so it is directly related to you since caused the water to start the process. Whereas by the clay vessel you just placed the vessel in the oven and the oven finished the job by itself, so since the issue is not the action the oven did but the results that it created then you aren’t directly responsible for what happened.

Torah Riddles Test #11

  1. Question: What is the difference between needing to reheat water for a baby who got a bris on Shabbos and the hot water prepared for a bath before Shabbos spilled before the bris, where the R”an permits doing the bris but he says one cannot shecht an animal on Yom Tov if he doesn’t have dirt prepared from before YomTov to fulfill the mitzvah of covering blood?

Background:

  1. The Raza”h says it is not permitted to do the bris on Shabbos if you know you are going to have to break Shabbos to heat up water once the baby is in a dangerous state and needs the hot water. Meaning you can’t put yourself in a position to be forced to break Shabbos in order to save some one’s life just to fulfill a mitzvah.
  2. The Ra”n in the name of the Ramban holds that there is a mitzvah right now in front of us which has to get done so take care of it and we’ll have to deal with the ramifications later, even if it means breaking Shabbos and heating water for a bath in order so that the baby will not becomes too weak.  At that point it is permissible to break Shabbos for the sake of the baby in order to avoid the situation of the baby becoming in danger.  When the bris was being done there was no immediate need to break Shabbos so it was not an immediate cause and effect.
  3. Why doesn’t the Ra”n say the same by the shechting case, that right now there is a mitzvah of shechting meat in order to eat for the sake of simchas Yom Tov and honoring the holiday with delicacies and after the mitzvah is done we’ll deal with the ramifications of needing to bring in some dirt from outside, which is muktzah on a rabbinic level, since it was not set aside from before yom tov, in order to cover the blood? But the Ra”n says the mitzvah of simchas Yom Tov is different than the mitzvah bris milah, why?

Answer: By the slaughtering you are directly causing the need of getting dirt from outside if it was not prepared before Yom Tov because the need to fulfill the mitzvah of covering blood is like the second part of the slaughtering. But need to heat up water in order to give the baby a bath so that he won’t be in danger is not a direct result of the bris, meaning it is not like the next step of a bris is to give a baby a hot bath, rather this is just an offshoot of what happens when the baby is in such trauma after having surgery, therefore the need to heat up water is indirectly caused by the bris and therefore is permissible.

Torah Riddles Test #10

  1. Question: If a person threw a glass vase off a roof and it was heading straight for a cushion which would save it from breaking but someone removed the cushion before it landed causing the vase break, why isn’t the guy who removed the cushion liable for opening a pit to break the vase?

Background:

  • The Steipler zt”l asked this question on the gemara in Bava Kama 26b in his Kehilos Yaakov 2:2 and brings the answer of Rav Avrohom Yaffin that he did create a pit but the Torah says one who creates a pit is not liable for damaged vessels.
  • Rashi on the gemara there says no one is liable because it was an indirect damage.
  • Creating or opening a pit doesn’t only apply to making a hole in the ground but creating or uncovering any stumbling block where someone or something like an animal can get hurt.
  • Rav Shainberg zt”l answers that this is not even considered opening a pit, why not?

Answer: One did not create or uncover a newly established stumbling block by removing the cushion, the ground is ground which G-D himself created, it is just that the force of gravity can cause the vase to break if it hits the ground, that is considered an indirect damage.

Torah Riddles Test #9

  1. Question: Why does the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 285:1) say if you only have enough money to buy only one item one should by tefillin and not a mezuzah?

Background:

  • The Shulchan Aruch says that one who is careful with fulfilling the mitzvah of mezuzah will merit long life for himself and his family.
  •  Mezuzah is a mitzvah that can be fulfilled every day of the year whereas tefillin are not adorned on Shabbos or Yom Tov.
  • If a person is a nomad living in tents in the desert or a sailor at sea, the mitzvah of mezuzah might never pertain to him just as a person who does not own a four cornered garment will never be required to don tzitzis.
  • As soon as a boy turns 13 he has an obligation to put on tefillin everyday besides Shabbos and Yom Tov.

Answer: Rebbe Akiva Aiger on the Shulchan Aruch says tefillin is an obligatory mitzvah in all circumstances except for its few exemptions on different parts of the year but mezuzah is only obligatory if you have a house with doorposts so it is possible a person might never need to fulfill that mitzvah just like tzitzis, therefore it is more important to buy tefillin then mezuzah even if currently you do have a house which is obligated in mezuzah.

Torah Riddles Test #8

  1. Question: Why can a judge help a litigant who is trying to say something but is having problems articulating but if he says he is owed a lesser amount then what he really is the judge cannot correct that?

Background:

 (A) The Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat siman 17) says in si’if 9: “If a judge sees a winning argument for one of the litigants and the litigant is trying to say it but does not know how to properly put his words together or they see he is having a hard time trying to save himself with truthful claims and because of anger and frustration he is forgetting things or mixing things up out of foolishness, then a judge can help him and prepare the beginning of his statements because of the concept of ‘opening the mouth for the mute’. But he has to be very careful not to act like a lawyer.

(B) In si’if 12 The Rema says that if a claimant has a claim on his friend over a smaller amount of money and the judge sees that he is actually owed more money technically than what he is asking for, the judge can’t poskin that he should get more than what he is asking for and if he does it is a mistake in judgment and the extra money must be given back.

(C) The Shach (15) says we are not dealing with a case where he explicitly forgoes part of what he is owed, neither does it make sense that we know for sure that he is unaware of his mistaken claim.

Answer: In the latter case we don’t know whether he purposely is asking for less or not so the judge can’t say anything. But in the first case it is obvious that he was trying to say something it was just not coming out correctly so the judge is allowed to help him.

Torah Riddles Test #7

  1. Question: Why is it forbidden to take a sefer and put it underneath the Sefer you are learning from to prop it up in order to learn better but if the Sefer is already on the table you can put your Sefer on it so you can see better?

Background:

(A) The Taz (Yoreh Deah 243:19:13) says it is a greater disgrace of a Sefer to take it and use it as a shtender to prop up the Sefer you are learning from then to hold it on your lap even while learning, as it says in the Rema si’if 7, but if the bottom Sefer was already on the table it is definitely permissible to place the second Sefer on top of it.

Answer: By actively taking the Sefer to use it as a shtender that is blatantly showing disrespect whereas just putting the Sefer down on one that is already on the table isn’t a show of disrespect and therefore is definitely permitted.

Torah Riddles Test #6

2. Question: What is the difference between nullifying chometz on the eve of Pesach and resting your animal on Shabbos in terms of being in different time zones of your property? By chometz the Oneg Yom Tov says it goes by which ever time zone it is in and by Shabbos there seems to be an argument whether it goes by the animal’s time zone or the owner’s time zone, so what would be the reason why they are different if we go by the owner’s time zone on Shabbos?

Background:

(A) The Oneg Yom Tov said that if you are in one time zone and your chometz is in a different time zone, for example 3 hours ahead then the chometz is automatically forbidden once the time where the chometz is, comes because since the chometz is in its place after the time of being forbidden it is forbidden to get any benefit from it and we don’t care about the time zone it’s owners are in. (B) On Shabbos a person has to rest including his animals as it says in the Ten Commandments of Va’eschanan: “you shall not do any work- you, your son, your daughter, your slave, your maid servant, your ox, your donkey, and your every animal, and your convert within your gates in order that…may rest like you.”

Answer: . The mitzva of resting on Shabbos is on the person or owner of the animal so wherever he is when his animal will have to start to rest. Whereas the ownerless state of chometz comes into play by the Torah wherever it is at the time the forbidden hour starts so if it is in a different time zone than where its owner is, it still loses its ownership.

Torah Riddles Test #5

  1. Question: If a pile of sefarim fall on the floor why should you first pick all of them up and then kiss all of them instead of kissing each one as you pick each one up?

 Background:

(A) The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 282:1) says that a person has to treat a Sefer Torah with the utmost respect.

(B) In si’if 5 he says one should not throw holy writings even Halacha and agadita sefarim.

(C) The Rema adds that it is forbidden for a Sefer to be upside down and if found upside down it should be turned over. The Beis Lechem Yehuda adds that the Mahari”l would kiss the Sefer when he turn it right side up.

Answer: The other sefarim left on the floor is left in a state of disgrace while you kiss the one you picked up.

Torah Riddles Test #4

Question: Why isn’t it a problem to put tzitzis onto a garment which has shaatnez and then take out the shaatnez?

Background:

A. The problem is that there is a rule that one can only put tzitzis on a garment which already requires tzitzis. For example if a garment has rounded corners which are not obligated in tzitzis and he tied tzitzis on each round corner and then cut the corner so it would be square which now makes the garment obligated in tzitzis, he must now untie the tzitzis and retie them to be allowed to wear the garment.

B. The main problem is that you can’t perform a mitzvah through doing a sin.

C. The prohibition of meat and milk has to do with a mixture this is the same prohibition of shaatnez, a mixture of wool and linen.

Answer: The issue of shaatnez and tzitzis do not cross paths for the prohibition of shaatnez is in the mixture whereas the mitzvah of tzitzis could be performed within the measurement of wool by itself, assuming most of the garment is wool and there are just a few strands of linen mixed in.

Torah Riddles Test #3

  1. Question: How would a rabbi teach a litigant to lie if before the court case he heard his side and not the other side and then wrote down his thoughts on the case although not writing a final decision (see Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 17:5 in the Rema)?

Background:

A. The Vilna Gaon (note 11) says this ruling is based on a Mishna in Pirkay Avos (1:9) “Shimon ben Shetach says: Interrogate the witnesses extensively; and be cautious with your words, lest they learn to lie.

 B. The Artscroll footnote in the siddur on this Mishna says: “Speak carefully to witnesses and litigants, lest the direction of your interrogation gives them a hint on how to fabricate their testimony to tell you what they think you are looking for.

C. The Rema say the same issue would be if the sage would tell the litigant after he explains his side of the case, “if so then this is how it should turn out…”

Answer: Because now this litigant can use what he heard from the rabbi or what the sage wrote up to strengthen his defense whether it is right or wrong since the rabbi only heard one side of the argument.