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?

Background:

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?

Background:

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?

 Background:

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?

Background:

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?

Background:

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?

Background:

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.

Torah Riddles Test #90

2.       Question: Why is one allowed to enter a bathroom or bathhouse without a halachic question fully answered but cannot start Shemone esray if he did not finalize an answer to the halachic question he was thinking about?

Background:

 A. In both cases one cannot think about the question, in the bathroom or bathhouse because it is forbidden to think Torah in dirty places and by shemone esray because it will ruin his concentration.

 Answer: The Shach says in Yoreh Deah 246:28 that the more one tries not to concentrate or to remove the question from him mind while davening then the more distracted he will be from davening. Meaning trying to distract oneself from the question so that you can Daven with more concentration will cause you to have less concentration on your davening and more concentration on distracting yourself so it is counterproductive. But when walking into a dirty place you just have to distract yourself and everything is fine. See Dirshu Mishna Berura 85:2:8:4.

Torah Riddles Test #89

1.       Question: What is the difference between a bathroom and a chicken pen or barn?

Background:

A. The Mishna Berura 84:3 says if you make a difference in the body of the bathroom to make it not a bathroom then it is permissible to place a mezuzah on the door and to make blessings inside it, as well as to learn and Daven inside it. But without a change in the body of the room, then its name is not uprooted, meaning it is still a bathroom even if not in use any more and cleaned out.

B. But a barn, the Be’ur Halacha (79:7 “Aval”) says, only needs a cleaning of all waste to be able to learn or pray inside it. The Levushei Mordechai says this is also true for a chicken pen.

C. The Torah requires “your camp to be holy” to do Holy matters like making blessings, learning and praying. The question is what’s the difference?

  Answer: Since the chicken pen or barn is not set aside specifically for excrement rather it is to guard the chickens and animals, it is just that they also take care of their needs in that place then all you need is to clean it out but as long as the room is considered a bathroom even if it’s not in use it is still not “holy” and a disgrace to do Holy matters in that area. See Dirshu Mishna Berura 83:1 footnote 4.   [/exapnd]

Torah Riddles Test #88

Question: Why is the Pischey Teshuva (Yoreh Deah 289:1) unsure if you have to say a blessing if you take off your mezuzah to check it having in mind to put it back on but if you take off your Tallis or tefillin within mind to put it back on you don’t have to say another blessing?

Background:

 A. You could answer that it’s possible one might not think he’s putting the mezuzah back on if when checking it, it’s found unkosher. But besides that there is another reason to be in doubt, based on where the mitzvah is done which even if he took it down for some other reason like repairing the door and would put it right back onto the doorpost, still there would be a doubt whether you still need to make another blessing.

 A2. Tefillin and Tallis are put onto one’s body so the need of the blessing is based on what the person has in mind so if he plans on putting it back on no other blessing is needed but the mezuzah is put onto the door of the house so it is as if there is nothing to have the mezuzah in mind when being put back on so it’s possible to say that you always need a blessing when putting the mezuzah on the door post in whatever circumstance. Or you can say that the mezuzah belongs to the person and the person is in charge of the mitzvah so if he has in mind to put it back up he does not need to make a new blessing and that is the doubt.

Torah Riddles Test #87

1.      Question: Why does the Shaagos Aryeh hold that saying Shema in the morning and night are two separate mitzvos but honoring your father and mother is one mitzvah but two parts to it?

Background:

A. The Maharatz Chiyos (Sanhedrin 56b) proves that honoring your parents is one mitzvah with two parts because there are only Ten Commandments not 11.

B. What is “michayev,” meaning what creates the obligation of each mitzvah?      

A1. By honoring one’s parents the obligation is because you are their child so the source of obligation is that you by yourself have to honor your mother and father. This is why it is one mitzvah with two parts to it. But what obligates one to say Shema is the time of day and night so it is two separate mitzvos.