Torah Riddles Test #152

1.       Question: Why can a blind person say Kiddush Levana with others outside but a sick person stuck in bed cannot say Kiddush Levana if he only sees the shine from the moon through his window according to the Responsa Zera Emes (volume 3 chapter 43)?


 A. If the sick person can see the moon itself from his window he can technically make Kiddush Levana because being outside is only better because it’s like going out to greet the king (Hashem) which shows more respect.

B. In the Mishna Berura (426:1) the Rema says one should not say Kiddush Levana unless it is night and he can benefit from the moon’s light. This means that this blessing is a blessing over getting satisfaction like by food, not a blessing over a mitzvah.

Answer: The blind person got as much benefit from the moon as he can get by the person next to him informing him that the moon is out but the sick person has the ability to get the full benefit of the moon he is just incapacitated at the moment so he cannot make the blessing if he does not actually get the full benefit of seeing the moon.

Torah Riddles Test 148

1.       Question: Why does the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 426:2) hold we should wait until Shabbos to say Kiddush Levana in order to beautify the mitzvah but one should not wait to get his tallis if he only has his tefillin even though wearing the tefillin with the tallis beautifies the mitzvah?


A. There is a debate whether you should do a mitzvah sooner than later without pushing it off or if you delay and you do it in a better way than it is worth pushing it off. The Mishna Berura (25:1:7) by this tefillin case says a mitzvah done in a timely fashion is more beloved.

B. The reason to push off saying Kiddush Levana from the earliest possible moment, assuming you will have a good chance to do it later, is to say it while feeling fresh and nicely clothed.

Answer: By Kiddush Levana delaying to right after shabbos gives praise to the mitzvah of Kiddush Levana itself. But by tefillin, wearing it with the tallis doesn’t bring praise to the mitzvah itself of tefillin.

Torah Riddles Test #100

  Question: Why do we not wait for a Tallis to come if one only has tefillin but we do wait until Motzei Shabbos, Saturday night to say Kiddush Levana?


A.      The Shulchan Aruch and Rema (Orach Chaim 25:1) says that you should put your Tallis on before your tefillin in order to go up in levels of holiness in this way beautifying the mitzvah. However if one doesn’t have the Tallis with him at the time but knows its coming he should not wait to put it on but rather put the tefillin on first and then the Tallis later. The Magen Avraham (2) explains that though one is sacrificing the beautification of the mitzvah but one shouldn’t push off the mitzvah of tefillin lest he loses out on putting it on in a timely fashion, for a mitzvah done at the right time is more beloved by Hashem.

B.        The Rema (Orach Chaim 426:1) says we should push off the mitzvah of Kiddush Levana until Motzei Shabbos (as long as there is no prolonged concern of overcast) in order to beautify the mitzvah by doing it at a time when we are feeling more joyous, dressed in fancy clothing. (Truth is the Mishna Berura (20) brings many Achronim who say one shouldn’t delay the mitzvah of Kiddush Levana, but there seems to be a contradiction in the Rema that must be resolved!)

C.       What aspect of the mitzvah is being beautified in each case?

Answer: By kiddush levana the beautification is on the mitzvah itself to dress nicely when saying it but by tefillin and tallis it is only a side issue of what comes first to treat the holier one with more respect.

Torah Riddles Test #97

1.       Question: Why is the blessing Kiddish Levana considered a time bound mitzvah which women are exempt from but the blessing of shehecheyanu on a new fruit is not (See Magen Avraham in the name of the Shelah Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 426:1)


A. The Chochmas Shlomo there actually argues and holds Kiddush Levana is not time bound because only mitzvos that could technically be done all year around, at all times like shofar, Sukkah, tefillin, tzitzis etc. but the Torah gives them a specific time to fulfill the mitzvos are considered time bound but kiddush Levana is dependent on the cycle of the moon, it can’t be said on the second half of the month because it is waning then and the Rabbis enacted it should only be said when it is waxing, so you can’t technically say it whenever you want like all other time bound mitzvos.

 B. Kiddush Levana which is based on the waning and waxing of the moon sounds like a similar concept as saying a shehecheyanu on a new fruit which is limited in time based on when the fruit is in bloom which means they can’t really be done all year around technically.

  Answer: Really kiddush Levana could be done the whole month but the rabbi enacted that it should be done on the first half of the month therefore it is time bound. Whereas the happiness you get out of seeing a new fruit could only be had once the fruit is in bloom therefore it is not halachically time bound.