Torah Riddle Test #125

Question: The Mishna Achrona (Oholos 1:8) asks why in the Michilta it is taught on the verse “when you open a pit or dig a pit” if on the opening you are liable all the more so for digging it, so why need the verse, rather the verse must be teaching us that we don’t exact capital punishment or lashes from logic, it needs a verse. And Tosfos in the first chapter of Bava Kama says that it is obvious that opening is included in digging and still you need a verse. In Gemara Makkos it asks if testimony works with two witnesses then why does the Torah also mention 3? But what’s the question, we hold ein onshin min hadin, you can’t punish based on logic, and we would not enact a death penalty if 3 witnesses testified, for example someone killed someone else but because it is impossible to have 3 without two then obviously they should be able to make someone guilty of a capital crime, so why isn’t this any different then digging and opening a pit where each one needs a verse though once we know one then obviously we know the other?


A. Digging a pit entails opening something which was not there before whereas opening a pit entails opening a hole that was already opened before but currently is covered.

B. 3 witnesses are all separate who just happened to come together to testify about the same thing.

 Answer: Since opening and digging really are two different actions then it makes more sense to say a kal vachomer so therefore a verse is needed to punish but two out of three witnesses are the same as two witnesses therefore it makes more sense to say they are the same thing as that is why the Gemara asked why a verse is needed.

Torah Riddles Test #124

1.    Question: Rav Elchanan Wasserman (Kovetz Ha’aros 77, 78) asked why you are punished for each child when shechting a cow with its calves but you are only punished once for wearing a piece of wool clothing with shaatnez that has multiple linen threads intertwined in it?


A. Even though there is an argument between the Rabbanan and Sumchus (See Chullin 82a) whether the shochet gets one set of lashes or multiple sets for each calf just as Sumchus would say if you eat two forbidden fats in one setting you are liable for two sets of lashes but the Rabbanan still hold according to the Rambam in his commentary on Mishnayos Nazir (Chapter Shlosha Minim) that though you might only get one set of lashes but you still are liable in heaven for each calf. Why is this if what triggers the sin is really just one action of slaughtering the mother?

B. Same should apply to wearing shaatnez clothes, even though it is one action of wearing but if there are multiple threads of interwoven wool and linen you should at least be liable in heaven for each thread?

  Answer: By the slaughtering there is really two different issues here shechting the mother and her first child and then her second child the sin was just done in one action once the mother was slaughtered so it’s doing two prohibitions at once. But by shaatnez the prohibition is wearing clothing that has shaatnez in it so really there is only one prohibition and multiple reason of why he is liable. But he is only punished once for the one prohibition.  

Torah Riddles Test #123

Question: What’s the difference between putting on Tefillin which the Yeshuos Yaakov holds there is a Torah level mitzvah to wear the entire day but taking the lulav an esrog is only a one moment mitzvah on a Torah level, not the entire day?


A. The mitzvah by the lulav and esrog is to take them into your hands.

B. The mitzvah of tefillin is to have them on you.

 Answer: An action only takes a moment to do so by tefillin it’s only a moment but having them on can be continuous so the mitzvah by tefillin is the entire day.

Torah Riddles Test #122

1.       Question: According to the opinion brought down in the Minchas Chinuch (mitzvah 423) that if you fix tzitzis at night on a day time garment which one corner broke, it is invalid and must be restrung in the day because the night isn’t a time of performing the mitzvah of wearing tzitzis but why then can you bake matzah before Pesach or build a Sukkah before Sukkos?


A. The issue for not working is the concept of “ta’aseh vilo min ha’asui” which means that there has to be an obligation to do the mitzvah ready to be when you set it up, not set it up beforehand then the obligation comes in. For example you can’t take a rounded garment, which doesn’t have an obligation of tzitzis and put tzitzis on four sides and then cut out four corners so that it would now be obligated in tzitzis after the tzitzis was tied on.

B. What obligates a garment in tzitzis is a four-corner garment but the obligation is only during the day according to most opinions.

C. There is a difference between a passive exemption and an active exemption.

                   Answer: By tzitzis the exemption of night time is actively exempting one from a potentially preexisting obligation, therefore the concept of taaseh vilo min ha’asuy kicks in because there is an obligation that can be fixed so it has to be fixed when the time is appropriate but by shofar and sukkah there isn’t an obligation before the Yom Tov so passively time just happened to not cause the obligation to kick in but since it is not actively stopping it then preparations can be made to prepare for the mitzvah to take place when the time comes for the obligation to kick in.

Torah Riddles Test #121

2.       Question: If a person who isn’t sure whether he said birkas hamazon should say it again because this blessing comes from the Torah and when in doubt you have to be strict and say it again, yet the Shaarie Teshuva (Orach Chaim 184:4:1) says he cannot say birkas hamazon for others because we are only strict about fulfilling a Torah level doubt on a Rabbinic level so the person in doubt has a lower level obligation then the one who has a definite obligation to say birkas hamazon and can’t say it for the definite. However the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 197) says that one who ate a kazayis (olive bulk) of bread who has a rabbinic level obligation to say birkas hamazon can say birkas hamazon for a person who ate bread to satiation who has a Torah level obligation to say birkas hamazon, what’s the difference?


A.      The parameters for obligating oneself to say birkas hamazon is the same regardless whether it’s because he is satiated or he ate a kazayis, the eating obligates the blessing.

B.      The parameters that obligate a person to say bikas hamazon in doubt or definitely are different. Explain why and how that makes for a difference.

 Answer: The obligation of one who definitely needs to say birkas hamazon stems from the fact he ate whether it was a kazayis or to satiation it is all the same thing but the obligation to say birkas hamazon in doubt stems from the fact that the rabbis said you should still say birkas hamazon even if you are in doubt so it is a separate type of obligation therefore one cannot say it for the other since they have different obligations.

Torah Riddles Test #120

1.       Questions: What would be the difference between a Jew and non-Jew together tying tzitzis and them together shechting an animal?


A.      The case by shechting is where they are both holding onto the knife when slaughtering where the Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 2:11 says it is no good.

B.      You need an action of a kosher shechita done by a Jew but it does not transform the animal in any way but by tzitzis the four cornered garment is transformed into a tzitzis garment and the action required to be done by a Jew is just the means to transform it into a kosher tzitzis garment.

C.      Why then would it be alright if a non-Jew made the tzitzis with the Jew even if it would not work by shechting the animal?

 Answer: Since what is required by shechting is a kosher action then the whole action must be done only by a Jew according to the Shulchan Aruch. But by tzitzis you just need a garment of tzitzis made by a Jew and it was made by a Jew a non-Jew was just involved as well.

Torah Riddles Test #119

Question: What is the difference between a sefer Torah on Shabbos found to be invalid but fixable where the Beis Yosef in the name of Rashba (See Taz Orach Chaim 32:18) says one can still use it still since it is fixable it’s as if it’s already fixed but if one hears Kaddish or Kedusha while davening Shemone Esray and waits silently until it is over then it is not as if one said it according to many Rishonim as brought in the Ra”n in Sukkah 38b even though we should apply the same logic that if one has a problem and can potentially fix it it’s as if he did it even before fixing it?


A.      The Bach says that “Kol Ha raui libila ein bilah mi’akeves” applies by the sefer Torah even if you aren’t allowed to fix it on Shabbos because there is nothing stopping the Torah from being fixed just a scribe cannot violate Shabbos.

B.      Why not say the same by a person davening Shemone esray that the person can really say the kedusha or kaddish but his shemone esray is just stopping him from saying it so by being silent it is as if he said the kedusha or kaddish?

 A2. Only by sefer Torah where nothing is stopping the sefer Torah just the person can’t fix it on Shabbos do we say that it is as if it is fixed but the same person who can’t talk because something is stopping him from doing so can physically talk if he wanted to, so it is not as if he said it.

Torah Riddles Test #118

1.       Question: According to the Ra”n and Rema (Orach Chaim 38:8) who says if one is involved in a mitzvah he is exempt from another mitzvah even if you can fulfill both of them then why should one stop and say kedusha if he is in the middle of reciting the Shema?


A.      The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 66:1) poskins that one can pause in reciting the Shema to say shalom to a person passing by who he reveres, for example his father or rebbe.

Answer: If one has an obligation to say shalom to a person he fears all the more so he should recite kedusha if the minyan is up to there in order to give honor to Hashem. The Mishna Berura there (19) says that if one pauses to say hello to a person all the more so for the sake of honoring Hashem. Therefore it has nothing to do with the concept of being involved in one mitzvah exempts one from another mitzvah.

Torah Riddles Test #117

2.       Question: According to the opinion brought in the Magen Avraham (Orach Chaim 637) who says one is allowed to steal from a non-Jew but it is not considered yours, meaning the non-Jew still owns it, why would a lost object of a non-Jew which we poskin a Jew is allowed to keep be any different since the Divrei Chaim and Gilyon Maharsha both say the lost object of a non-Jew is considered ownerless even before he gives up on it. Why is the lost object of a non-Jew owned by the Jew if he finds and takes it but if a Jew steals from a non-Jew even if it is permissible why does it still belong to the non-Jew (as long as he does not give up on it)?


A. One small hint, but why does it make for a difference: When the non-Jew’s object got into the hands of the Jew by the lost object the non-Jew didn’t have it but when it got into the hands of Jew when stealing it was in the hands of the non-Jew.

 Answer: Because the object was in the non-Jew’s hands that gives him ownership and keeps it with him even after it is stolen since he had control over the object but the lost object, the non-Jew has no control over the object therefore there is nothing to link ownership to him.

Torah Riddles Test #116

1.       Question: It is explained in Bava Metzi’a 33a that if you can only save one lost object flowing down a stream or in a fire etc., either yours or your friend, yours comes first. For the verse “There shall not be a pauper among you” teaches us that your stuff comes before anyone else’s. But why is the mitzvah of returning a lost object different than any other mitzvah where we poskin that we must be willing to spend up to a fifth of our property to perform the mitzvah? The same thing should be true by the mitzvah of returning a lost object, that one should forgo his object if it’s value is less than a fifth of his entire property in order to save and give back his friends object to fulfill the mitzvah!? Why does what obligate the mitzvah of returning a lost object not trigger the obligation of spending up to a fifth but other mitzvos like tzedaka does?


A. The obligation of spending up to a fifth of one’s property to fulfill a positive mitzvah applies in a case like tzedaka where what obligates a person to give is the poverty of his friend.

B. What obligates the mitzvah of returning a lost object is the loss of Jewish money.

Answer: Loss of money is only an exemption from doing the mitzvah and by giving tzedaka for example that exemption is only applied by spending more than a fifth. But by returning a lost object which the Torah says your lost object is more important than your friends then what is obligating the mitzvah of returning the lost object is not there to require you to spend more than a fifth.