Torah Riddles Test #35

  1. Question: Why can’t a woman ideally get married (though if she does she can stay married) if there is one witness who says her husband dies and another witness comes and says he did not die?


  1. The Gemara in Kesubos 22b concludes in the name of Rebbe Yochanan that if one witness says he is dead and another witness says he is not dead she should not get married but if she does she need not divorce the second guy. The gemara adds that this is based on a ruling by Ulla that whenever the Torah believes one witness he is treated as two witnesses. So the one who says he did not die is one witness verses two witnesses, (for only the one who says he did die is treated as two witnesses leniently.)
  2. Rashi says we treat him as two witnesses to say he died, as we say in the beginning of the tenth chapter of Yevamos, because we are so strict with her in the end, by punishing her very much if she does not cross check that her husband is really dead, as enumerated in the Mishna there, therefore we are lenient on her in the beginning to accept one witness.
  3. The Gemara then asks why she can’t ideally get remarried if one witness has the same status as two. The gemara concludes with a verse in Mishlei (Proverbs 4:24): “Take crooked speech away from yourself, and put devious lips far away from you.”

Answer: She wouldn’t be careful enough to checkout if her husband really is dead before getting remarried, if she would have been permitted to remarry ideally.

Torah Riddles Test #34

  1. Question: Why do two sets of witnesses combine to testify about what happened in the middle even if they saw it from opposite side windows and the public domain is in the middle but a group of people on either side of a public domain who can even see each other cannot combine for a zimun of Birkas hamazon?


 A. The testimony case is a Mishna in Makkos daf 6b and the question is asked by the Responsa Hilchos Ketanos volume 2 chapter 147 based on a Beis Yosef in Orah Chaim chapter 195 in the name of the R”I.

B. The answer is not like the Aruch Laner who said the case in Makkos is not dealing with a public domain in the middle.

C. What is the “combine” factor that is by testimony but is not there by a zimun?

Answer: By a zimun if the public domain is in between the group they are not considered together and there is nothing to combine them. However by testimony where they in fact come together in court to testify that is considered a form of combining, it is just that in order to be considered one group some of them have to see each other as well when they witness what they are testifying about.

Torah Riddles Test #33

  1. Question: How can you rely on a posek to poskin if we don’t rely on one witness?


 A. A single witness is not believed against a chazaka/ halachically presumed assumption to testify about something in reality. An example is a person saying a certain animal or bird is of the permitted species even though it has a chazaka of not being from the permitted species.

 B. The rabbi who is clarifying an issue (not one which is explicitly verifiable in sources) and using his own reasoning to resolve the issue might decide something which is going against the prevailing chazaka. How can he do that?

C. Why would one person deciding something in halacha against a chazaka be any different than one person testifying about the reality of something against the prevalent chazaka?

Answer: The witness is testifying head on directly against the chazaka therefore he isn’t believed against it. But the rabbi is clarifying an issue which might affect other things in Halacha but also affects this very chazaka so since he is not directly going up against the chazaka he is believed to clarify the Halacha which happens to contradict the chazaka. Or you can say that the witness is trying to make up something new which is against what was originally thought but the rabbi is just uncovering something that was unclear before.

Torah Riddles Test #32

Question: Why does the concept of “toch kidei dibur” work to correct oneself if he says the wrong day of the Omer but not if he mentions Shabbos instead of Yom Tov in his shemone esray?


 A. “Toch kidei dibur” is the concept of realizing one made a mistake and immediately correcting himself within a certain short amount of time which is the amount of time it takes for a student to greet his rebbe saying, “Shalom aleichem rebbe umoreh.”

B. The Mishna Berura (Orach Chaim 488:6:32) says “they further write that if one makes a mistake and says ‘today is the fourth day of the omer’ and toch kidei dibur remembers it is the fifth day, it is enough to just finish ‘fifth of the Omer’ and he fulfills the mitzvah even if he didn’t say ‘today is the fifth day’ since it was still within the allotted time of correction.

C. If one on Yom Tov says “mikadesh hashabbos” instead of “mikadesh Yisrael vihazmanim,” the Mishna Berura (487:3) says one must go back and say “mikadesh Yisrael vihazmanim” and it’s not enough just to correct oneself toch kidei dibur and say “Yisrael vihazmanim” after concluding “mikadesh hashabbos.”

D. When Yom Tov falls out on Shabbos we say in our shemone esray “mikadesh hashabbos Yisrael vihazmanim.”

Answer: Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach explains that it is not recognizable that you are correcting the mistake you made since that is just what you say on Shabbos Yom Tov but by the Omer it does look like he is correcting himself since one does not count twice in one day. (See Dirshu Mishna Berura there note 68.) [/exapnd]

Torah Riddles Test #31

  1. Question: Why in England and places similar to it can they rely on the leniency that in 3 days wheat seeds will take root before the counting of the Omer in regards to yoshon?


 A. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 489:10) says it is forbidden to eat from the new grain even nowadays…until the beginning of the night of the 18th of Nissan, and in Israel until the beginning of the night of the 17th of Nissan. (The Mishna Berura and Beur Halacha there explain at length how people nowadays are lenient in this halacha.)

 B. The Mishna Berura in note 44 says that which is forbidden from the new grain to eat is grain that took root after the 16th of Nissan which is when they used to bring the Omer offering. If the grains took root before the Omer, the Omer made them permissible to eat. This mitzvah only applies to the five types of grain, wheat, barley, spelt, rye, and oats.

C. There is an argument between the Sha”ch and Terumas Hadeshen whether it takes two weeks for these grains to take root or 3 days. (See Shach in Yoreh Deah 293:2 and Nekudas HaKesef there.)

D. The Responsa of the Minchas Yitzchok (Volume 6, chapter 43) says places like England can rely on the Terumas Hadeshen that it takes 3 days for the grain to take root, why?

Answer: It rains a lot in England so roots take root quicker.

Torah Riddles Test #30

Question: Why can’t you say the blessing over challah for others at any Shabbos meal if you aren’t eating challah yourself but you could say the blessing for vegetables at the Seder on Pesach for karpas even if you aren’t participating in it, for others?


A. The Mishna Berura says in (167:92) that the reason why one can say a blessing for someone else even to do a mitzva even if he himself already fulfilled the mitzvah is because “kol Yisrael areivim ze la’ze” we are all responsible for each other to do mitzvos so if one didn’t do a mitzva it is as if you yourself didn’t do the mitzva yet. However when just eating to eat, though one is obligated to say a blessing in order to eat and one cannot get pleasure from the world without a blessing but one can always choose to not eat and not need a blessing so the one who is not eating but would say a blessing for you is not considered obligated to say the blessing.

 B. The Mishna Berura (273:19) says it’s not an obligation as a mitzva to eat challah at the 3 meals of Shabbos, rather if one wants to enjoy food on Shabbos he has an obligation to say a blessing on lechem mishna, two loaves of challah, but technically if he enjoys fasting he does not have to eat.

C. Karpas is only eaten to make the children ask questions and is not an obligation to be eaten.

Answer: The Dirshu Mishna Berura (484:1:4:4) quoting Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach says karpas is different because its main purpose is for a mitzva, of telling over the story of the Exodus and not for any enjoyment but lechem Mishna which is mainly for one to eat on Shabbos is considered for the sake of enjoying one’s food.

Torah Riddles Test #29

  1. Question: What is the Chazon Ish’s psak about one who swears: “I will not eat matzo on the night of Pesach and the seven days of the holiday “?


A. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim siman 485) says that if one in general swears “I will not eat matzo” he is forbidden to eat matzo on the night of Pesach. If he swears “I will not eat matzo on the first night of Pesach” he gets lashes and must eat matzo on the night of Pesach.

B. The Mishna Berura there says that as a rule if one includes in his oath something that applies to a mitzva and also does not apply to a mitzva, the oath works and he can’t even do the mitzva like in this case if he swears in general to not eat matzo even if he says this on the night of Pesach, since it includes eating matzo in general which is not a mitzva and the night of Pesach which is a mitzva, he still cannot eat matzo even for the mitzva. But in the other case since he specified not eating on the night of Pesach then we can assume he was referring specifically to not wanting to fulfill the mitzva and an oath to not fulfill a mitzva or to transgress a mitzva does not work.

 C. The Be’ur Halacha says that if one swears “I will not eat matzo the whole week of Pesach” the oath works according to most poskim, even though Pesach is mentioned explicitly because the oath is inclusive of both matzo to be eaten for non-mitzva and mitzva purposes.

Answer: The Chazon Ish (Orach Chaim 123:2) says that since he separately mentioned the night of Pesach, it is not considered an oath inclusive of permissible (non-mitzva) things, rather it is two separate oaths, one for the night of Pesach and the other for the rest of the holiday and therefore the oath does not work for the night of Pesach and he must eat matzo then for the mitzvah.

Torah Riddles Test #28

  1. Question: Rabbi Akiva Aiger asks and answers in his Responsa, first version, siman 30: Why do you make a blessing on separating Terumah even if done in one’s mind but a blessing is not said over bitul chometz, which can also be done in one’s mind?


A. The Mishna Berura 432:1:3 says that you don’t say the blessing of “al bitul chometz “ upon nullifying the chometz since the main part of the bitul is dependent on the heart and we don’t say blessings on matters that pertain to one’s heart or thoughts.

 B. After teruma is separated from fruit it is given to the kohen but in this case the teruma is separated in one’s mind and the blessing is goes on separating teruma, not the giving.

C. What is Rebbe Akiva Aiger’s answer?

Answer: The purpose of separating teruma is to give it to the kohen so even if it was separated in one’s thoughts it is as if he did something which has an action since in the end it will lead to an action, i.e. giving it to the kohen. But nullifying the chometz is completely done in one’s heart even if he verbally announces it to the world.

Torah Riddles Test #27

  1. Question: Why does one make a blessing of “al biur chometz” at the time of burning when he found chometz on Yom Tov but before Pesach we say the blessing by the checking, bedikas chometz?


 A. The Magen HaAlef (2) poskins that if one realizes on Yom Tov that he did not check for chometz before Pesach then he should check for chometz and cover it if he finds any because it is muktzah on Yom Tov and then on chol hamoed he should burn it with a blessing.

B.Normally we say the blessing and check for chometz the night before the eve of Pesach, then burn it in the morning, which is the proper time to burn the chometz, before chatzos, noonish. By chatzos all chometz is forbidden and automatically made ownerless by the Torah if you have not done it yourself by then.

 C. In normal circumstances the checking at night is considered the beginning of the mitzvah of burning and that is why the blessing is said then.

D. In both cases the checking and burning are on different days so why is the blessing said at different times?

Answer: As long as the time for burning hadn’t come yet then the checking is considered the beginning of the process of burning but once the time of burning already past and you found chometz on Yom Tov but you can’t just burn it until chol hamoed then the checking isn’t considered the beginning of the mitzvah since the time you burn has already past, so finding it is just one action and burning it is another action which just couldn’t be done earlier since it was muktzah. (See footnote 4 in Dirshu Mishna Berura 435:1:3)

Torah Riddles Test #26

  1. Question: Why do we apply the rule of “Trei mashehu lo amrinan” that little bits don’t transfer twice when it comes to foods but not when it comes to vessels like a stirring spoon?


 A. The Mishna Berura (467:9:37) says, If a ladle stirred soup that had a cracked kernel of barley found inside it on Pesach while piping hot then you use the ladle to stir another boiling hot pot it ruins all the food in the pot and the pot because since it can prohibit with even a little bit then we assume even that little bit of taste went out of the spoon and into the next pot of soup.

B. The Shaar Hatzion (67) says this only applies by a spoon transferring from liquid to liquid but if that cracked barley kernel fell on a piece of hot meat and then that hot meat got mixed up with other hot solid foods like vegetables and there is a majority to nullify its taste, then as long as you can see and take out that solid piece of meat which had the chometz absorbed in it, then everything else is permitted at least to get benefit from and even to eat if not eating it would detract from the joy of Yom Tov.

C. The Taz (17) asks why the rule that little bits of taste don’t transfer twice apply to the spoon mixing two pots of soup just as it applies to the food.

D. Food has their own tastes absorbed in it but spoons don’t have their own tastes absorbed in them.

Answer: The Dirshu Mishna Berura note 41 quotes the Elya Rabba (447:1) saying that a little bit [of taste] absorbed in a spoon is different from a little bit absorbed in a solid food substance, for when it is absorbed in food the [foreign taste] clings to it and does not get spit out again from it and therefore we can apply the rule of “trei mashehu lo amrinan” but when absorbed in a spoon, since the spoon does not have its own taste, then the [chometz taste that was absorbed] does not cling to it so it then gets spit out into the other pot [the spoon was mixing.]