Torah Riddles #217

Question: Why doesn’t a person go blind after taking 500 big steps?


 A. The Mishna Berura (301:1:1) Says , based on a pasuk, “And he shall honor it from what he does on your ways” refers to the fact that the way you walk on Shabbos should not be the way you walk during the week, for it is the way of people to rush and run to their business. And even during the week one shouldn’t take big steps because it takes 1/500th away of one’s eyesight. It just that on Shabbos there is also a prohibition dating back from the times of the prophets.

B. Tosfos in Taanis 10b “p’sia” says that only the first step will take away eyesight because it’s only 1/500 each big step.

 Answer: Either you can say he gets used to taking big steps so the eyes adjust or every beginning if something is harsh but after continuing then each steps gets weaker and weaker and only takes 1/500 of the previous 1/500th that was lost.

Torah Riddles #216

1.       Question: Why do friends of the Chosson put on tefillin now a days (from time of the Rema) throughout sheva brachos even though it’s possible they might get drunk and are then forbidden to don tefillin?


A. In the Mishna Berura (38:7) the Mechaber writes that a chosson and his friends who are joyous with him and all those connected to the chupa are exempt from tefillin because it’s possible that it will lead to drunkenness and lightheaded atmosphere.

B. The Chofetz Chaim in Mishna Berura (23) says that the Teshuvas Rema (132) poskins that now a days where even the chosson is required to say krias Shema and shemone esray (see siman 70), then automatically the chosson and anyone associated with the chupa are obligated in putting on tefillin. The Olas Tamid and Birkay Yosef poskin like this Rema.

C. Concept in halacha that if you are involved with one mitzvah you are exempt from the other. D. The Shulcham Aruch says 70:3 that if one marries a virgin, he is exempt from saying krias shema the first 3 days of marriage because he is too busy being involved with the mitzva of marriage. But that was originally, but now a days where people normally do not have proper intent in the davening any ways then even a chosson says the shema.

  Answer: The level of fulfilling a mitzvah is lower now a days so just as the chosson cannot fulfill his mitzvah to the biggest capacity so too his friends don’t have the heter to drink since they are expected to fulfill their mitzvah to the highest capacity.

Torah Riddles #214

Question: Why when you forget to say Birkas haTorah ahava rabba can count as saying Birkas haTorah only if you learn immediately after davening but let say you slept the whole entire day and didn’t say Birkas haTorah but davened mincha/maariv early with a minyan before it was dark, then the Shema counts as learning after Ahavas olam? 


A. The Mishna Berura 47:7:13 says the blessing of ‘Ahavas Olam’ takes care of birkas haTorah if you learn immediately after davening without any interruptions. This applies in the morning (for Ashkenazim we say ‘ahava rabba’) or in the evening, for example if someone took a few hour nap in tbe day according to the opinion you have to birkas HaTorah and even those that are lenient it does not hurt to have in mind birkas haTorah when saying ‘ahavas olam’ during maariv.

B. The Mishna Berura (17) says that the reason why you have to learn right after davening is because it’s not apparent you are saying ahava rabba for the mitzva of learning Torah since it’s being said during another mitzvah, of davening. Rav Elyashiv adds that even though Shema can be considered Torah learning but because it’s being said for another mitzvah of krias Shema, which is a mitzva to be recited in the morning and at night once it is dark and the stars are out, and the bracha at the end of ahava rabba does not talk about learning Torah rather the love of Hashem for the Jews then without learning right after davening it’s not apparent it was said for Birkas haTorah.

 Answer: The Dirshu (note 22) quotes a Teshuvas Hisorirus that because you recited Shema of maariv too early and it would have to be repeated once it got dark then it is apparent that the paragraph of Ahavas olam was said for Birkas haTorah and the Shema was used for learning.

Torah Riddles #213

Question: Why can you hold your lulav and esrog during davening, including shema and shemone esray but you can’t hold your tefillin in your hands, or a knife , plate full of stuff, or bread, neither can you hold your lulav and esrog while learning Torah, what is the difference?


A. Rashi in Sukkah 41b says you’ll be afraid the knife will fall on your foot, the plate full of stuff will spill, and if the bread falls it will become disgusting. But if the lulav and especially esrog falls it might become unkosher?

B. Love for the mitzvah not a burden

C.תלמוד תורה כנגד כולם

  Answer: The taking and holding of the lulav and esrog is the mitzvah and because of the love to perform the mitzvah it is not considered a burden therefore you won’t be distracted during davening but holding tefillin or the knife, bread and plate is a burden and will be a weight and distraction during davening which will not allow him to concentrate properly. By Torah learning since he will get so involved in his learning and will get distracted from the mitzvah of lulav and esrog and they might fall out of his hands therefore he should give it to someone else to hold while learning. (See Rashis there.)

Torah Riddles Test #209

 2.      Question: Why does the prohibition of mechamer only apply to animals but not to slaves?


A. The melacha of Mechamer is the prohibition to command or lead your animal to do a melacha for you, for example instructing your donkey to walk while it has packages on it’s back or while a hoe is attached to it and inevitably the ground will be plowed.

B. There is a positive mitzvah on the owner to rest one’s animal and slave on Shabbos. The question is why doesn’t the negative mitzvah also apply for the slave?

C. A slave has free choice but an animal doesn’t, however when a slave does listen to the master it should be no different than the animal?

 D. The Ra”n and Rashba, arguing on the Minchas Chinuch hold that the prohibition of mechamer also applies to an animal which does not belong to you since it is doing a melacha on your command, you caused it to moved and it’s as if you did the melacha. But the Minchas Chinuch holds this only applies to your own animal because the verse says “and your animal”.

 Answer: Since a slave has free choice, even though he will do work on the owner’s command but it’s not like the owner itself is doing it, because the slave decides to listen to the command. But by an animal doing work on command of it’s owner or anyone’s command then it’s as if the person himself did the action because he caused the animal to do it without any other outside factors like a decision by the listener, so he transgressed the prohibition.

Torah Riddles Test #208

1.      Question: Why would the Har Tzvi say that writing one letter on copy paper/carbon paper which will copy itself on the next page is not considered writing two letters on Shabbos but erasing the bridge on the letter ches, turning it into two zayins is considered writing two letters on shabbos?


A. The Tilale Sadeh hold these two cases are comparable to each other so on the contrary by the ches which the bridge was erased it should not be as bad because you didn’t even write one letter and nevertheless you are liable because we go by the result which was creating two zayins, so all the more so if you wrote one letter and the letter was copied on the next page you should be liable for writing two letter, so why is the Har Tzvi unsure of the comparison?

B. One is only liable for writing on Shabbos if two letters were written.

Answer: Granted by erasing the bridge on the ches which creates two zayins one is liable on shabbos because you don’t have to literally write two letters, if one creates two letters which ever way one is liable because he actually created two zayins which were not there until now, it was just made all at once when the bridge of the ches was erased. But when writing one letter on this copy paper only one letter is really being written it’s just an impression of it is made on the next page, meaning two letters weren’t really written, rather only one was written and imposed on the next page so really only one letter was written so not liable for writing on shabbos. [/exapnd]

Torah Riddles Test #207

2. Question: After Chatzos of Tisha b’av when one puts on tallis and tefillin, why can you say verses people have a custom of saying upon putting on tallis and tefillin but one should not say Shema and the parsha of “kadesh” upon putting on tallis and tefillin?


A. The Mishna Berura (555:1:5) says that by mincha one should put on tallis and tefillin and say a blessing on them but should not recite the 3 paragraphs of Shema or the parsha of “kadesh” because at this point it is like reading Torah, (since the mitzvah of krias shema is in the morning) and Torah learning is forbidden the entire day of Tisha b’av.

B. In Dirshu footnote 5 in the name of Rav Chaim Kanievsky, he says one can recite the verses that there is a custom to recite upon putting on tallis and tefillin.

C. Halacha is normally very strict with wearing tallis and tefillin while saying Shema because they are testimony to belief in Hashem since tallis and tefillin are mentioned in the 3 paragraphs of Shema.

 Answer: Because the verses recited upon putting on tallis and tefillin are a custom then it is not considered Torah learning but since the mitzvah of krias Shema has passed by mincha then it’s just considered Torah learning which is forbidden on Tisha b’av and it is only proper to have tallis and tefillin on in the morning when krias Shema is recited and not vice versa, i.e Shema must be recited while wearing tallis and tefillin.

Torah Riddles Test #206

1. Question: If a person took upon himself a personal fast right after shabbos, that night, why can he say havdala over wine from plag hamincha and drink the wine but if one would make havdala from that time when Tisha b’av falls out Motzei shabbos/Sunday then he can’t drink the wine because he took on the fast?


A. A personal fast is a vow and a vow is based on the language of how it was said. And how something is said is based on how people normally say things.

B. The acceptance of the fast of Tisha b’av is dependent on havdala if it falls out on Motzei shabbos.

Answer: When a person says he’s taking on a fast after shabbos he does not considered the, while it is still light, as an acceptance of the fast if he makes havdala for he means to start the fast at actual night but on Tisha b’av as soon as havdala is made the fast starts, so it’s forbidden to drink, even if havdala was made at plag hamincha. (See Dirshu Mishna Berura 556:1:2:3)

Torah Riddles Test #204

1.       Question: Why doesn’t the chosson break the plate by the tanaaim before a wedding, rather he only breaks the glass under the chupa, and the mothers of the chosson and kalla break the plate?


A.      The Vilna Gaon says there is specifically a custom for a ceramic plate to be broken by the tanaaim because there is no foundation in the Torah for tanaaim to be broken just as ceramic can’t be fixed but a marriage has a basis in the Torah for being broken if need be, i.e. divorce therefore a glass is broken under the chupa since a glass can always be forged back together a new through fire symbolizing there is a halachic way to untie the knot of marriage, through divorce.

B.      The Mishna Berura (560:2:9) says the custom to break these things both by the chupa and by the tanaaim is in order to mourn the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash and one should feel joy while still feeling trepidation.

 Answer: Since the chosson’s full joy only comes when he completes the marriage under the chupa therefore he only has to break the glass to include mourning at that time and not before by the tanaaim. (See Dirshu Mishna Berura there footnote 20.)

Torah Riddles Test #203

2.       Question: Why shouldn’t a man send regards to another man’s wife, whether directly, or through someone else even her own husband but he can ask how she is doing according to the Bach and the Shai LiMoreh even says that the Bach is telling us it is proper manners to ask him how his wife is feeling, but he can ask others how she is feeling as well?


A.      The Chelkas Mechokek in Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 21:6:7) says the reason why one shouldn’t send regards to a married woman even though her husband is obvious is because it shows affection and can lead to increase love and eventually sin.

Answer: Saying hello is showing affection, but asking how she is doing is just showing concern, which some opinions hold might lead to affection, but the Bach holds, it is proper derech eretz manners to be concerned about the health of any person, especially if it is known that someone is sick it makes those that are sick or there family members feel a bit better when they see people share their care and concern for them.