- Question: Why is saying Shema with the congregation
derech eretz, a cordial thing to do even if you are not praying with them but
there is an obligation to say Kedusha with the congregation even if you are not
praying with them?
Background: A. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 65:2 and Mishna Berura 9) says that if you already read the Shema and you enter the shul and find them reading the Shema you must read the first verse so that you don’t look like as if you don’t want to accept the yoke of Heaven with your friends. This applies to other things that the congregation says together, for example “Ashrei” or “Aleinu,” you should read with them because it is derech eretz, proper manners. B. The Rema (125:2) says there is an obligation to say kedusha with the congregation and Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe Orach Chaim 3:89) says that this is a halachic obligation, not just proper manners. C. There is a set obligation to say the Shema twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. D. The concept of saying Kedusha is to sanctify the name of Hashem within a congregation.
Answer: Since the obligation is to say Shema twice at some point in the day and at night then to say it when everyone else is saying it and you already said it is only proper manners, derech eretz, to not look like you don’t want to accept the yoke of Heaven. But to sanctify Hashem’s name with the congregation potentially really could be even a hundred times a day, there is no limit, therefore every opportunity is a real obligation.
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?
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.
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.
Why are you liable for eating on Yom Kippur the forbidden designated amount of
food in a scenario where the first half is permissible?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
The Gemara in Yoma 84b says we don’t rely on majority in life threatening
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.
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)
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.
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.
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
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.)
- 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?
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
B. Two pubic hairs is a sign of bar or bat
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.
- 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”?
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
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.