Torah Riddles Test #68

  1. Question: 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?

Background:

A. 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.

B. 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.

Torah Riddles Test #67

  1. Question: Why are you liable for eating on Yom Kippur the forbidden designated amount of food in a scenario where the first half is permissible?

Background:

A. 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.

B. 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.

C. 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.

Torah Riddles Test #66

Question: 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?

Background:

 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 mitzvah yet.

B. 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.

C. 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.

Torah Riddles Test #65

  1. Question: 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?

Background:

A. 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.

C. The Gemara in Yoma 84b says we don’t rely on majority in life threatening circumstances.

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.

Torah Riddles Test #62

  1. 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?

Background:

 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 matter.

 B. Two pubic hairs is a sign of bar or bat mitzvah.

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.

Torah Riddles Test #60

  1. Question: What is the difference between a Kohen contaminating himself with the dead and anyone breaking Shabbos in terms of the concept of “adding on to the count”?

Background:

  1. The Minchas Chinuch (mitzvah 264) says in the name of Tosfos in Brachos 20a that even though a kohen can be spiritually contaminated by the dead body of his close relative but if there are other dead bodies in that house he cannot get out his relative because burial of a relative only pushes off the prohibition of contact with the dead by a kohen. However Rashi holds that the prohibition being in contact with the dead is totally permitted in terms of taking care of a close relative so even if there are other dead bodies in the room it is permitted.
  2. Tosfos said it is forbidden just like cutting off a branch of figs where only one fig is needed to heal a sick person and three are on the branch so you get a prohibition of breaking Shabbos for the other two figs even though they were all on the same branch. Why is Shabbos any different than contact with the dead by a Kohen according to Rashi?
  3. By Shabbos one is liable for each object one does a forbidden act with.

Answer: By Shabbos even though it is one action of cutting off the branch but because it was for 3 different object then the prohibition is attributed to each object as if you did the prohibition 3 times. But once you are tamei, spiritually unclean, that is that, and there is nothing more to add therefore it would make no difference if he came into contact with one or more dead person, so once it is permitted for one it is permitted for all. Parenthetically if a kohen is already in a state of tamei and then later on before being purified he comes in contact again then he does get another sin it is just that at one time since nothing is added when becoming tamei then once it is permitted for his relative then everything else becomes permitted and it is not considered adding unneeded amounts.

Torah Riddles Test #59

  1. Question: Why isn’t it an issue of being forced into a situation of making an unneeded blessing (bracha she’eino tzricha) in terms of washing in the morning or by tefillin but there is an issue of making an unneeded blessing by tzitzis?

Background:

  1. The Mishna Berura (4:13:30) says if one was up all night, for example on Shavuos, or even if he got up before alos hashachar (dawn) and washed his hands(see Mishna Berura 33), then there is a question whether he has to wash his hands in the morning and make a blessing, based on the question in halacha of why we wash, is it because of touching impure places while sleeping, sleeping itself, or just the nighttime which brings a bad spirit onto one’s hands. In any event the suggested practice is to go to the bathroom and then everyone agrees that he would be obligated to make a blessing after washing for washing his hands and going to the bathroom.
  2. The Beur Halacha (25:5 “vitov”) explains the reason why this is fine is because since one is forced to do this because of the doubt it is does not fall into the category of an unneeded blessing. Similarly by tefillin there is a question whether a blessing is needed by the tefillin shel rosh or whether it counts with the blessing over the tefillin shel yad. The Shulchan Aruch and the Vilna Gaon both agree like the view of Rashi that one only makes one blessing for both but the Rema says two blessings should be said like the view of the Rosh. Rebbe Akiva Aiger suggests that one should have in mind to not use the first blessing on the arm tefillin for the head tefillin in order so that he is forced to make the second blessing just in case the halacha is like Rashi that the blessing on the hand tefillin can also count for the head and this is not considered making an unneeded blessing because one is forced to do this to get out of the doubt of who we poskin like.
  3. However the Mishna Berura (8:16:42) says that if one slept in his tzitzis the entire night there is a question whether he can make a blessing on the tzitzis in the morning since there is a doubt whether there is a mitzvah of tzitzis at night or just that pajamas are exempt from tzitzis but day garments are still obligated even at night therefore the Mishna Berura says safek brachos lihakel (when in doubt by a blessing one should be lenient and not say it) however he can have in mind for the tzitzis when making a blessing on his tallis. He then says that this is as long as he doesn’t take it off but if he takes off the tzitzis with having no intention of putting it back on immediately then he would need a new blessing according to everyone but one shouldn’t do this on purpose to create a situation of an unneeded blessing.

Answer: . By washing one is just doing something which he would have to do at some point anyways so he isn’t doing anything extra to force himself to make an unneeded blessing and by tefillin too, the Beur Halacha says that having in mind to not use the blessing on the arm is like talking in the middles of doing the mitzvah which warrants a new blessing so there isn’t a superfluous step which forces a need of a new blessing. But by tzitzis, the garment is already on, and there is no need to take it off, it is totally extra and repetitive so going through the motions of taking it off just to put it on again is more like a loop hole which just creates an unneeded blessing.

Torah Riddles Test #58

1.     Question: Why would tefillin that a child wrote be invalid because since he can’t put on tefillin yet the Torah says he can’t write them either but if a child shechts an animal it is kosher on a Torah level? 
Background: 
A. The Achiezer (3:82:12) pointed out that Tefillin is a new obligation everyday but the prohibition of eating a carcass which obligates one to shecht properly is one obligation per animal that can last for a long time, even after the child grows up. 
B. By tefillin the sofer makes the tefillin kosher by following all the halachas of making tefillin. But by kosher meat the shechting isn’t what makes it kosher, it is the Torah permitting the animal and the shochet is just doing the action of shechting. 

Answer:

A2a. A child isn’t able to put on tefillin today so he can’t be a scribe for that mitzvah which is renewed every day but a child who shechted has ramification for the future since the meat can be eaten after he is bar mitzvah therefore the slaughtering is a good slaughtering since the same mitzvah can be used for when he is bar mitzvah. 
A2b. By tefillin since the whole mitzvah is dependent on the person than if the scribe is a child then the mitzvah was not created since he is obligated in mitvos yet but since the Torah is what makes the animal kosher and the slaughtering is just an act to allow the Torah to make the meat kosher then it makes no difference if a child did it as long as it was done kosherly. 

Torah Riddles Test #57

  1. Question: Why if 2 or 3 people are putting on their Tallis at the same time they can each make their own blessing but if they would bring a havdala candle into the Beis Medrish or shul then one should say a blessing over the candle for everyone for havdala because b’rov am hadras melech, the more people doing something together is a greater honor to the King?

Background:

A. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim, siman 8) says that if 2 or 3 people are putting on their Tallis at the same time all of them should make their own blessing and if they want one of them can make the blessing for them and the rest just answer amen.

B. The Gemara in Brachos 53a brings a case of people sitting in the Beis Medrish and a candle is brought before them. Beis Shammai poskins that each one should make their own blessing in order not to disturb the learning in the Beis Medrish and Beis Hillel poskins that one person should make a blessing for everyone because of b’rov am hadras Melech. We poskin like Beis Hillel as the Shulchan Aruch himself says in 298:14.

C. The concept of b’rov am hadras Melech applies when people do things all together like when one person blows shofar or reads Megillah and everyone else is listening.

Answer: This concept applies when people are doing the same thing all together like in the case of the candle saying a blessing on one havdala candle but not when each person is doing their own thing even if it is the same kind of thing all at once like by a group of people, each one putting on their own Tallis all at once.

Torah Riddles Test #56

1.  Question: Why does the borrower have to pay $200 and not $100 or $300 in the following case? 
Background: 
A. The Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 30:3) brings a case of Reuvain who claims Shimon owes him $1500. He has five witnesses, one says he borrowed $100 another said $200, another said $300, another says $400 and the last one said he borrowed $500. If they all claim the loan took place on the same day but with different amounts Shimon only owes $200 because if you are trying to extract money from someone you have to bring proof. (Hamotzi mechavero alav hara’aya.) 
B. The Sm”a (17) says the number $200 is based on the fact that there are two witnesses who said he owes no more than $200 even though there are 3 witnesses that say he owes at least $300. 
C. There is a rule in Shas that two witnesses and even 100 witnesses are all the same, meaning more witnesses on one side does not create a majority to beat out witnesses on the other side if there are at least 2.
 D. There is a logic in Shas that within $200 is $100. (Bichlal masayim manah.) 

Answer: They certainly don’t pay no more than 200 because the 3 witnesses who say he should pay more are no better than the ones who say they owe the most 200 and they also admit he at least owes $200. Shimon won’t only owe $100 because the one who says he borrowed $100 could add up and combine with the other to $200, though not more than that because the $200 witness only said he owes no more than $200.