Torah Riddles Test #141

Question 2: Why does the Vilna Gaon hold that you should pick up the lulav and esrog normally, the way the mitzvah is done and then say the blessing? You technically don’t even have to have in mind to not perform the mitzvah until after the blessing is said.


A. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 651:1) says the mitzvah of lulav and esrog is to take them into your hands.

B. Normally we say the blessing before doing the mitzvah.

C. The language of the blessing on the mitzvah of lulav and esrog is blessing Hashem “on the lulav being taken,” not blessed is Hashem “for taking the lulav.”

 Answer: The Rabbis specifically enacted the blessing to be past tense and not future tense so that it’s inclusive of already having the lulav and esrog already in one’s hands instead needing to pick it up immediately upon saying the blessing, since blessing are usually said with item in hand and then the action is done whereas here the action is done by putting it in his hand so the. Lessing is worded in a fashion where you could say the blessing in a matter which makes sense while still having the mitzvah in your hands (See footnote 42 on page 89 of Dirshum Mishna Berura.)

Torah Riddles Test #140

1.    Question: Why can one even hire a carpenter i.e. a professional, to build a Sukkah on chol hamoed sukkos but cannot build a fence, even by yourself, on chol hamoed according to the Be’ur Halacha?


1. The first Be’ur Halacha in siman 540 begins by quoting a Ritva that only by rooftops that are usually not used but the person wants to be extra careful is one forbidden to build a fence around it on chol hamoed but he concludes that other poskim hold that even if the roof top is normally used and there is a definite mitzvah to build the fence still it should not be done on chol hamoed.

 2. The first Be’ur Halacha clearly and unequivocally concludes that no matter if the prohibition of doing expert and craftsman work on chol hamoed is rabbinic or on a Torah level it is permissible to have the sukkah built or fixed because it is for a mitzvah. It can even be fixed at the very end of chol hamoed when you don’t have to potentially use it because the Torah says “The holiday of sukkos you shall make for yourself seven days.” This implies for the entire seven days there is a mitzvah to have the sukkah so you can fix it and build it by anyone at any time of chol hamoed. He also compares building a sukkah to writing a mezuzah or tefillin to be used on chol hamoed which is needed for the need of the mitzvah at that time.

Answer: A fence does not have to be needed on Chol hamoed even if it is a mitzvah to make  because you can just close off the roof for the holiday whereas you need the Sukkah on throughout the holiday and the scenario of the refilling and mezuzah is also where you need them right now during chol hamoed. (Look in footnote 6 of be’ur halacha 540 in Dirshu Mishna Berura and Page 68 footnote 4 on the first Be’ur Halacha of siman 637.)

Torah Riddles Test #139

 2.       Question: Why on Yom Kippur are you allowed to talk about what you are going to eat after the fast but one cannot talk about business on Shabbos?


A.      Both things are forbidden on that day. One cannot eat on Yom Kippur, and one cannot do business on Shabbos (or Yom Kippur).

B.      The Mishna Berura (307:1:1) says that the prohibition from the days of the Prophets against speaking about mundane things on Shabbos is that one is not allowed to speak on Shabbos about things he is forbidden to do on Shabbos since one has to feel as if all his work was completed by Shabbos, therefore the Rabbis enacted that one also cannot even talk about work which is forbidden to be done on Shabbos.

Answer: This prohibition just doesn’t apply to eating on Yom Kippur because one has no obligation to view himself as if he is satiated and has no need to eat on Yom Kippur, neither does fasting have anything to do with work, therefore there was no Rabbinic enactment on Yom Kippur prohibiting talking about eating after Yom Kippur (See Dirshu Mishna Berura 611:2:5:6, in back page 49).

Torah Riddles Test #138

1.       Question: Why don’t we discontinue reading from the Torah or Megilas Koheles or Shir Hashirim on Shabbos just as we don’t blow shofar or read Megilas Esther on Shabbos?


A.      The reason why we don’t blow shofar or read megillah on Shabbos is because of a rabbinic enactment that if there is no eruv one might carry his shofar or megila four amos or more in the public domain in order to practice in front of a sage, who is an expert in the field.

B.      The obligation of reading the Torah on every Shabbos, as well as reading the Megilla of Koheles on the Shabbos of Sukkos and Shir Hashirim on the Shabbos of Pesach is an obligation on the tzibur, the entire community.

C.      Reading Megillas Esther and blowing shofar is an obligation on the individual.

Answer: If the obligation is incumbent on the congregation then there was no decree to discontinue the mitzva on Shabbos since the person doing it is probably and expert or trained enough to be sure not to carry the items in the public domain to practice. But an obligation on an individual, even if most of the time is done for them in a group, might still have various individuals try to fulfill the mitzvah themselves and therefore might practice in front of a rabbi beforehand to be sure they know what they are doing and so might come o care in the public domain on Shabbos (See Dirshu Mishna Berura 588:5:13:17).

Torah Riddles Test #137

  Question: Why does the Machatzis Hashekel hold one can medicinally wash out his eye on Shabbos to prevent his whole body from aching but cannot do so on Yom Kippur?


A.      One may do something for severe medical purposes on Shabbos as long as it does not look like it is being done medically. For example, sucking on a hard candy if you have a sore throat.

B.      One of the prohibitions on Yom Kippur besides eating and drinking is washing or anointing for pleasure.

C.      In regards to melacha things aren’t prohibited on Yom Kippur any more than on Shabbos for the most part.

Answer: Since one cannot washout out his eye on Yom Kippur then even though it is permitted on Shabbos even for medicinal purposes in certain circumstances because it looks like it’s not for healing, nevertheless since you can’t do it for pleasure on Yom Kippur then it looks like you are doing it for healing, therefore it is prohibited (See Dirshu Mishna Berura 614:1:2:4).

Torah Riddles Class #135

2.    Question: Why can you not fulfill the mitzvah of esrog with an esrog/lemon hybrid. But there is still a mitzvah of not eating a mother and child on the same day for a deer/sheep hybrid, according to the Magen Avraham? Both are mitzvos if a mixture invalidates a mitzvah why does one mitzvah still apply, and the other doesn’t?


 A. The Magen Avraham holds the reason why a hybrid esrog does not work is because it’s not an esrog. If that’s the case then the same should be true about a hybrid animal, it’s not an animal so you shouldn’t transgress the prohibition of slaughtering a mother and child on the same day since the child shouldn’t be considered a real animal.

B. The Maharam Shik begins his answer by saying there is a difference between a mitzvah the Torah commands you to do and something which the Torah prohibited.

 Answer: If the Torah tells you to perform a mitzvah with a certain item like an esrog it has to clearly be that item without any mixture, therefore you need a full-fledged esrog not a hybrid. But when the Torah prohibits something then if that something is there in any shape or form in a substantive way then it’s prohibited therefore even a hybrid is a problem for slaughtering a mother and it’s child in the same day.

Torah Riddles Test #134

1.    Question: Why can a child technically read from the Torah for everyone else but cannot blow shofar for everyone on Rosh HaShana?


 A. A person who has a rabbinic (lesser) obligation can’t help perform a mitzvah for someone else who has a Torah (higher) obligation.

B. Shofar is a Torah obligation for an adult. Torah reading is a rabbinic obligation from the prophets which is treated like a Torah level obligation according to the Turei Zahav in Megillah 5b. A child only has a rabbinic obligation in all mitzvos to teach them how to fulfill the mitzvah.

C. A maasah mitzvah, an action of an obligatory mitzvah must be accomplished to fulfill and to help others fulfill the mitzvah of shofar.

 D. The mitzvah of reading from the Torah is for people to hear words of Torah.

Answer: By shofar, since the child isn’t obligated on a Torah level then his action of blowing isn’t considered an obligatory mitzvah action therefore he cannot help others fulfill the mitzvah, since his action isn’t a maasah mitzvah, an action of an obligatory mitzvah. But all that is needed by reading the Torah is for words of Torah to be heard and that is being done whether the child has the same level of obligation as the adult or not, therefore he can read from the Torah and others can fulfill their obligation by listening to him.

Torah riddles Test #133

 2.       Question: Why if fruit just ripened as Shabbos came in one cannot eat them even after Shabbos until maaser was taken but if he was eating a cluster of grapes for example and Shabbos came in and he put them down to eat after Shabbos then you can finish eating them after Shabbos and you don’t need to take maaser from them?


a. Fruits are only obligated in tithing once they are set or designated for a personal use for example if they are brought into the house to be eaten (which excludes selling them) not if they are being noshed on in the field.

b. These cluster of grapes were originally being eaten in the field and did not need to be tithed at the time. But if he would want to continue to eat them on Shabbos then he would have to tithe them (though he can’t on Shabbos) but since he put them down for after Shabbos then when he continues to eat them after Shabbos he is exempt from taking maaser as long as he has not brought them into his house yet.

c. On Shabbos fruit become set because the verse says “and you shall call the Shabbos a delight” where we learn from the verse that we have a mitzvah to eat delicacies on Shabbos. (See Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 331:111, 114 and Shach 127, 130)

 Answer: If you would be eating the fruit on Shabbos then you are designating it for a certain purpose, namely the mitzvah of delighting in Shabbos that set it and makes it obligated in tithing even if it is not brought into the house but if you put down the cluster of grapes as Shabbos comes in showing that you are done eating and you don’t want to eat it on Shabbos then Shabbos can’t set it for tithing because you have no intention of eating it on Shabbos and it is still just in the field to nosh on.

Torah Riddles Test #132

1.       Question: According to the  Meiri in Rosh HaShana 6b: Why do you transgress only one mitzvah of bal t’acher, being late or delaying doing a mitvah, each day that follows, if you don’t pay your workers on time but if you delay bringing a Korban, a sacrificial offering, then each day you push off bringing the offering you get another prohibition of bal t’acher?


A. You don’t bring sacrifices at night.

Answer: Once the end of the day comes there is a constant mitzvah to pay your worker which never stops until he is paid so each day he is not paid is part of the same issue of not paying him originally when the mitzvah started but by bringing a sacrifice since it cannot be done at night then the obligation ends at the end of each day and restarts when the next day begins so each day it is not brought is a new prohibition.

Torah Riddles Test #131

2.    Question: What is the difference between a person who delays making a siyum or speeds up learning to make a siyum during the nine days which should not be done as opposed to one who finished a masechta and just left over a couple of lines for a more opportune time to make a siyum which happened to follow out during the nine days or someone ideally learns a masechta which he knows he’ll be finished by the nine days in order to make a siyum during that time?


A.    The Mishna Berura (551:10:73) says if one sees he’ll be making a siyum soon one shouldn’t hasten or delay it just to be able to eat meat, also if you don’t normally make a feast after a siyum you shouldn’t have one now. However if you are appropriately finishing something then you and even people who did not learn with you can partake in a festive meat meal, even if people are coming and going after you finished the siyum because it increases friendliness.

B.    Rav Chaim Kanievsky tells a story from his father, The Steipler, that during World War 1 they only had meat to eat and guys made a siyum for every meal and everyone in Yeshiva partook in eating meat.

C. The Aruch HaShulchan (Orach Chaim 551:28) said it’s ideal to learn in order to make siyums at this time of the year in order to increase Torah learning.

  Answer: The Dirshu Mishna Berura (footnote 89) brings the Responsa Minchas Yitzchak that explains when a person hastens or delays his completion of a masechta just to make a siyum during the nine days then he is showing his joy over eating meat not Torah learning which is not nice and not a seudas mitzvah because the main part of the mitzvah is concluding the masechta but when a person finishes something but leaves over a couple of lines for an opportune time to make the feast or if they are trying to make siyums during the nine days in order to increase Torah learning that shows they feel the Torah learning is more important and therefore it’s befitting to have a seudas mitzvah. [/exapnd]

Rabbi DS Milder