Torah Riddles Test #115

Question: If a bris falls out on a Sunday during the mourning time of the Omer, the Chasam Sofer says one cannot shave Erev Shabbos but if Lag B’omer falls out on Sunday then the Rema says one can shave on Erev Shabbos. What is the difference between a bris and Lag B’omer?


A.      The Rema (Orach Chaim 493:2) says that one should not cut his hair until Lag B’omer itself, but not by evening, however if it falls out on Sunday there is a custom to cut hair on Friday in honor of Shabbos. And one who is making a bris for his son can cut his hair during sefira in honor of the bris. The Mishna Berura (13) adds that the father, sandek and mohel can get a haircut the night before he goes to shul between mincha and maariv. If the bris is on Shabbos he is permitted to get a haircut the day before even before chatzos, midday.   

Answer: See Dirshu footnote 27 that the difference between a bris and Lag B’omer is that a bris is only a yom tov, joyous occasion for the individual whereas Lag B’omer is a yom tov for everyone.

Torah Riddles Test #114

  Question: Why does the Magen Avraham (Orach Chaim 494:1) and others say you cannot fast on Shavuos a taanis chalom, fast after a bad dream, but can fast on other yom tovim and Shabbos?       


A.      A taanis chalom is fasted by an individual if he is so unsettled about a dream one has that he feels he must fast as an atonement to relieve his anguish. He is even allowed to do so on Shabbos and Yom Tov, though he has a mitzvah to delight on these days and is forbidden to fast, but in this case fasting is what brings this anguished person to delight so he is permitted to do so.

B.      The Gemara in Pesachim 68b says that everyone agrees that on Shavuos one must dedicate part of the day to “lachem” to oneself, in delighting in the day and not just learning and praying the whole day. Rashi there explains that one should be joyous with food and drink to show how one is satisfied and accepts the day the Torah was given. Even learning Torah the whole day would not suffice.   


Answer: On Shavuos one is obligated to share with others your enjoyment over accepting the Torah which is  clearly seen by having a meal, it is not enough to learn Torah the whole day, or to fast even though they both bring delight for the person.     (See Dirshu Mishna Berura 594:3:11:17.)   

Torah Riddles Test #113

  1. Question: Why should you bury the dead and then eat the yom tov meal on second day yom tov if he or she died the night before, or everything was ready quickly if the person died in the morning but on the eve of Pesach you should first eat then bury the dead?


  1. Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 526:12) says when a person dies on the night of the second day of yom tov they should get up early and bury the person before they daven. If the person dies in the morning they should bury the person after they eat the yom tov meal. The Mishna Berura (52) adds that nevertheless if everything is ready, the hole is dug and the rags he is buried in are ready so it’s possible to bury the person before eating without stopping the joy of yom tov, then it is better to bury before eating because a Medrish on the verse “don’t eat on the blood” says that it is forbidden to eat a set meal before burying the dead.
  2. The Mishna Berura (443:6) points out that on Erev Pesach it says it is not appropriate to eat a meal and then bury the dead. It does not say it is forbidden, and if there is no time to eat chometz before the time it becomes forbidden then certainly, they can eat before burying the dead. The Shaar Hatzion (9) explains there that it is not a disgrace to the dead person if they eat before burial, why not?

Answer: . There is no disgrace to eat chometz before erev Pesach before burying the dead because if they bury the dead first they might be in more of a rush because they would be concerned about eating chometz too late, or it might actually happen that they eat chometz when they aren’t supposed to because they buried the dead first which is more of a disgrace. This problem does not exist on yom tov itself, even if they might rush to finish in order to enjoy there meal, that isn’t a concern because they have the whole day to eat, they aren’t timebound as by chometz on erev Pesach.

Torah Riddles Test #112

  1. Question: Why does the Shulchan Aruch hold on the second day of yom tov one can cut a branch off a myrtle tree to place the branch on a coffin for a burial but one cannot tear his shirt over the dead until after yom tov?


  1. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 526:4) holds that on the second day of yom tov which is only rabbinic, Jews can bury the dead because the rabbis didn’t enact the yom tov when the mitzvah and respect of burying the dead is required. The Rema holds that if at all possible, the burial should be done by non-Jews, whatever they can do, with Jews just directing what should be done, anything else the non-Jew can’t do the Jews can do.
  2. The Mishna Berura (18) in regard to the myrtle branch says that in places where there is a custom to place a myrtle branch on the coffin, even though it is not part of the main mitzvah of burial, but because it is an honor to the dead it’s allowed.
  3. The Shulchan Aruch says in 526:11 that one should not tear kriah over the dead on the second day of yom tov, even his relatives.

Answer: The Mishna Berura (50) says that tearing clothes over the dead is not for the need of the dead. It is for the mourners to grieve whereas breaking off the myrtle branch to place on the coffin is an honor for the dead and therefore can be done as part of the burial.

Torah Riddles Test #111

2.    Question: Why does the Kaf HaChaim say in one halacha that if one asks, is today the 8th of the Omer and it really is then he can still say a blessing and count the Omer but if he was learning the halacha in the evening before he counted and reads “on the eighth day one should say ‘today is the 8th day which is one week and one day of the omer’” then there is an argument whether you fulfilled the mitzvah at that point and you should count without a blessing?


A. The Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 489:4 says that if one asks you by twilight what is tonight’s count of the Omer, tell him yesterday’s count, for if you say today is so and so you will not be able to count with a blessing. The Mishna Berura (20) adds that even if you say it in your own language. But if you don’t say “today is” rather just the number that is fine because the main mitzvah of counting is to say, “today is so and so”.

B. The Kaf HaChaim says that if on the night of Lag B’omer one tells his friend ‘Do not say tachanun the next day because today is Lag B’omer’ he has no intention of saying the day’s count, rather he is just saying that today is a day we don’t say tachanun, therefore he has not fulfilled his mitzvah yet and he can declare the 33rd day of the Omer with a blessing.

 Answer: It is not the way to count by asking a question therefore it doesn’t count and you can definitely still count with a blessing but when you read the count of the day in your learning then there is a question of whether you did the mitzvah because you read it the normal way you would declare that day. (See Dirshu Mishna Berura 489:4:20:56)

Torah Riddles Test #110

1.    Question: Why are there some poskim who hold that if one isn’t sure whether he fulfilled the mitzvah of Omer or not he should still say a blessing and count the Omer for that night but they would also hold that a tumtum should not say a blessing upon putting on tzitzis?


A. A tumtum is a person born without clear signs of genitalia, it might be the person has to much fat or skin in the area to make a judgment whether it is female or male therefore there is a halachic doubt whether it is obligated in the mitzvah of tzitzis, so he should wear the tzitzis in doubt but should not say a blessing because, safek brachos lihakel, we are lenient to not say a blessing when in doubt lest we might say Hashem’s name in vain.

B. Shouldn’t this opinion, also be concerned that the person might have said the Omer already and saying a blessing potentially again might constitute saying Hashem’s name in vain so when in doubt don’t make the blessing?

Answer: This opinion holds that when there is a doubt of whether there is a mitzvah to begin with then one should not say a blessing but by this case of the Omer there was a definite obligation the only question is whether it was fulfilled yet or not therefore he holds a blessing should still be said since a definite obligation exists.(See Dirshu Mishna Berura footnote 41 on Be’ur Halacha 489:1 “moneh viholech”)

Torah Riddles Test #109

  1. Question: Why isn’t it a disruption between the blessing and the mitzvah if he said the wrong number then corrected himself?


  1. The Be’ur Halacha (25:9 “Vi’im hifsik”) says that even if one speaks one word between the blessing and mitzvah it is considered a disruption and you must say another blessing before performing the mitzvah, normally.
  2. You don’t have to say the blessing over again only if you realized immediately, toch kidei dibur, your mistake but if you realized a few seconds too late it is as if you finished the mitzvah (albeit in the wrong way) and what you said is a disruption so even in this case you would have to say another blessing and count correctly.

Answer: . As long as you are within toch kidei dibur you are trying to fulfill the mitzvah so you verbal action is still attached to the blessing you are just stumbling to say it correctly, that is not considered a disruption because you ae still involved in trying to perform the mitzvah.

Torah Riddles Test #108

  1. Question:  If a person counted correctly but then immediately thought he counted wrong and “corrected” himself within toch kidei dibur, why does his counting still count?


  1. Toch kidei dibur is a halachic axiom that if one immediately corrects himself it is as if the first statement he says was never said and we go with the second statement. This is as long as the correction was made within the time it takes to say “shalom aleichem rebbe umoreh”.
  2. There is an argument between Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach zt”l and Rav Elyashiv zt”l whether toch kidei dibur could be applied to ruin something, or it just works to fix a mistake one said by accident. But in this case they will both agree for the same reason that switching the number immediately after one said the correct number of the omer will not erase what he originally said.
  3. The correction was a mistake, though if you did it you can still continue counting with a blessing the next night since the mistake does not count but Rav Elyashiv said you should count again without a blessing when you realize the mistake you made, though you don’t have to.

Answer: When you say the wrong number by the omer after you say the correct number it’s a complete mistake which you didn’t intend because you want to do the right count but according to Rav Aurbach when he says you can ruin something toch kidei dibur that is when there is some level of intent. It is not a complete mistake.

Torah Riddles #107

Question: What is the reason behind why counting the Omer, according to the opinion that holds that you must count it yourself and you can’t have in mind for someone to do it for you, be any different than any other mitzvah done through speaking like Kiddush, megilla reading and Torah reading etc. where one person can perform the mitzvah for many?


  1. The Torah does say “Usfartem lachem” meaning that you should count for yourself in terms of counting the omer but why is it different than any other mitzvah where we can apply the halachic axiom of “listening is like answering” (shmiah ki’onah)?
  2. Beis HaLevi on the Torah in the end of his Kuntrus on Chanukah says that a kohen can’t perform birkas kohanim by just going through the motions with everyone else without speaking out the blessing by using this axiom of “listening is like answering” because birkas kohanim does not just need a speech it has to be done out loud.
  3. The Magen Avraham says that one can’t count the omer in Hebrew if he does not understand what he is saying.
  4. You have to count.

Answer: Shomea ki’ona, listening is like answering won’t help for the omer because all that does is make it as if you said the words of counting but you need to be doing an actual counting, verbally, each night, just like the Kohen has to say birkas kohanim out loud it is not enough to be considered as if he said them, therefore one has to do his own counting even if someone else is allowed to say the blessing on the omer for him.

Torah Riddles Test #106

  1. Question: How does the Noda B’Yehuda differentiate between inheritance and a sale in regards to the mitzvah of not owning chometz?


A. Noda B’Yehuda (Mahadura Kamma Orach Chaim 20) writes that if one dies after the sixth hour and he did not sell or nullify his chometz, his inheritors don’t need to destroy it and it is permissible after Pesach since chometz is not property inherited by his children.

B. The Noda B’Yehuda (Mahadura Kamma 19) writes to answer for a Rambam in the first chapter of hilchos chometz and matzah that if it would not have been chometz it would belong to him therefore the pasuk of “bal yeraeh” should put it back into his possession on Pesach for the asking of attaining a prohibition, in a case of where a person buys chometz, which the halacha is he gets lashes, even though zechia, positive acquisition does not apply to object which are forbidden to get benefit from, but since the Torah reveals that it is his through the verse of “bal yeraeh” then it is considered money/property in regards to zechiah.

 C. Acquisitions work even when not yours like by stealing.

Answer: Chametz on Pesach is only yours in regards to prohibition so it cannot work to inherit because it’s not monetarily yours, and Hashem won’t automatically put it in your possession if you didn’t play any role to get it. But in regards to a sale since you can acquire things illegally like by stealing then you can acquire it in regards to only having a prohibition as well, since you actively tried getting it.