Torah Riddles Test #205

2.       Question: Why don’t Yerushalmi citizens tear kriah over seeing the Temple Mount in ruins and taken over by Muslims, as per Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach?


A.      The Mishna Berura (561:2:6) says that upon seeing the ruins of Yerushalayim and the Beis Hamikdash one should bow and tear his clothes in mourning and say certain supplications, see there, if one has not been in Yerushalayim or seen the Temple Mount more than thirty days.

 Answer: Rav Shlomo Auerbach explains the Yerushalmi custom that because the citizens have the ability to easily go and see the site of the Beis Hamikdash but they don’t then it is apparent they don’t really feel too much pain over the destruction and therefore the custom for them is not to tear even if they do visit the Kosel. This applies to all Yerushalmis even those that live in the new outskirts of Yerushalayim. One can even nullify his vow to tear once he knows it is a valid custom for a Jerusalem citizen not to tear. (See footnote in the back of the Dirshu Mishna Berura, volume 6, page 23 on the bottom.) 

Torah Riddles Test #198

1.    Question: If you are on the way out of your house why can you say a blessing inside on a sucking candy for example and then walk out of the house without needing to say another blessing?


A. The Mishna Berura (178:4:31) elaborates that there is a difference between bread which “needs a blessing in its place” where one can technically finish eating in some other house from where he started or can walk out and come back without needing to make a new blessing, whereas fruits or drinks need a new blessing once one left his house where he started eating even if he goes back to it.

B. The Mishna Berura (42) says if they had in mind to have the meal in the place, they said hamotzi and changed their minds to finish on the road, then as long as they can see their original place they can still eat because it’s considered one area. But if they can’t see because they are so far away or because trees blocking then it’s considered changing places and for fruit, you’d have to make a second blessing and for bread technically it’s fine to continue eating but they should ideally say birkas hamazon in the place where they started. However, if they originally had in mind to eat some in their place and the rest in transit then it works even if trees are blocking the way from seeing where they started to eat, because only from house to house does one blessing not work for fruits and one must go back and make a new blessing, and by bread having in mind to eat on the way even ideally works.

Answer: Rav Moshe Feinstein poskins that one only has to make a new blessing when he was originally planning staying at home but if he is on his way out of his house it is as if he blessed on the road and does not need to make a new blessing like any other traveler. This blessing works even for another candy which he might pop into his mouth on the way (See Dirshu Mishna Berura 178:4:42:26).

Torah Riddles Test #183

2. Question: Why does the Eliah Rabba (447:1) differentiate between a hot piece of food (for example meat) which a kernel of wheat fell on it and a hot and wet ladle which had a kernel of wheat fall on it in terms of them being able to transfer the taste of that wheat kernel into a cooked dish?


A. By the meat he says the taste of the kernel cannot be transferred into anything else by the ladle he says the taste of the kernel can be transferred.

B. When a wheat kernel, supposedly chometz, falls onto the food or ladle on Pesach it must be removed and destroyed but now there is a very little amount of taste that is transferred into the meat or wet ladle if they are hot. However in terms of the meat we apply the axiom of “trei mashehu lo amrinan” meaning two insignificant amounts we are not bothered by, which means that the taste of chometz is so little we aren’t concerned that it got transferred to the next item that the meat was put into. But we are concerned about the transference of taste of chometz into the food that the ladle now mixes, why?

 Answer: When taste is mixed into food it sticks to the wall of the food and gets mixed up in it so never comes back out but by a spoon since whatever taste is inside it is not the spoon’s it comes from the outside it doesn’t get stuck to the spoon and easily comes out when mixed into the next thing it is used for. (See Dirshu Mishna Berura 467:footnote 41.)

Torah Riddles Test #182

1.    Question: Why can’t we say a shehecheyanu on making matzah but we could say a shehecheyanu on making the Sukkah?


 A. The Magen Avraham (641:1) says we don’t make a shehecheyanu on making a shofar and megilla because these are mitzvos that could be used for many years.

B. Tosfos in Kesubos 72a “visafra lah” says that a woman who has a flow (zavah) does not make a blessing on her counting of 7 days though it’s a mitzvah to count like the omer because maybe her count will get messed up with seeing blood again within 7 days.

Answer: We don’t says a blessing or shehecheyanu on making matzos because maybe they will become chometz in the process and won’t be able to be used on Pesach just like the zavah whose count of 7 days might get ruined. (See Dirshu Mishna Berura 453 footnote 26.)

Torah Riddles Test #180

1.       Question: Why are the matzos set aside for the mitzvah of eating them on Pesach only muktzah when Pesach eve falls out on Shabbos but not on any other Shabbos?


A.      Muktzah literally means set aside. It is a rabbinic restriction prohibiting the movement of certain objects on Shabbos in order to preserve the sanctity of the day and avoid possible desecration.

B.      Three examples of categories of muktzah which might all apply in this case are (a) muktzah machmas chisaron kis: delicate objects used for their intended purpose because of their costliness like stationary, fountain pen, violin, electric microscope, shechita knife or camera, and (b) muktzah machmas mitzvah: Objects whose use are limited to involvement with mitzvos like a lulav and esrog, a megillah, or shofar. (c) muktzah machman gufo: Object that are not utensils and have no ordinary Shabbos function like raw potatoes, untithed fruit, dirt, rocks, money, etc.

C.      It is rabbinicly forbidden to eat matzah on erev Pesach.

D.      All other Shabbosim, Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach says the matzah is like yom tov clothing which you would only wear on yom tov, not Shabbos.

  Answer: Since it can’t be eaten or even given to the birds on erev Pesach then it is muktzah on Shabbos erev Pesach but on any other Shabbos, though you would not eat them and you are saving them for Pesach but they are potentially edible so they are not muktzah and can be moved on any other Shabbos. (See back of Dirshu Mishna Berura page 7, siman 443, footnote 8)

Torah Riddles Test #177

2.    Question: Why can you have a snack before fulfilling the mitzvah of lulav and esrog if it’s delayed coming to you but if you are going to a later minyan to hear megilla you should not even snack until after you hear megilla?


A. The fast of Taanis Esther ends at nightfall but you shouldn’t eat anything until after you fulfill the mitzvah (of megilla) just as you shouldn’t eat anything until after you fulfill any other mitzvah like lulav or shofar etc.

 B. There is more of a mitzvah to fulfill the megilla reading in a congregation in order to publicize the miracle.

 Answer: You can taste before lulav and esrog if there is a delay because it’s a mitzvah you do by yourself. But megilla should be read in a group and we are concerned even if you eat a snack you might miss the mitzvah all together or at least the start of the reading, which means you’d have to hear it again by yourself not in a group. (Dirshu Mishna Berura back page 131 footnote 32)

Torah Riddles Test #167

2.    Question: Why does a lack of kavanah for making the tzitzis for the sake of the mitzvah a problem as soon as the strings are put into the hole but this concept of making it properly in order and not out of order and just falling into place is only an issue once you start tying the strings, especially if they are learned out of the same verse?


A.   An example of out of order would be folding and pushing through one big string through the hole then cutting it into 8 strings so that they can be tied.

B.   Another example is tying the strings before the corners were made into real corners instead of rounded.

 Answer: The mitzvah process starts as soon as the strings start going through the hole so you need proper intent but you didn’t actually start making something until you start tying so have a bit more time to get it into the right order.

Torah Riddles Test #85

1.     Question: Why would a person be exempt for shooting an arrow at a guy holding a shield and the shield was taken away from him right before it reaches him and he is therefore hurt or even killed but in the same scenario if the arrow just happens to properly, halachically slaughter a bird it is kosher?


A. The Gemara in Sanhedrin 77b says in the name of Rava that because there was a shield in the way when the arrow was shot which would have prevented harm then the fact it was removed before the arrow reached the victim makes it indirect killing even if the shooter himself somehow removed the shield before the arrow reached its target.

B. There is a Gemara in Chullin 30b about a case of Rava checking Rebbe Yona bar Tachlifa’s arrows to make sure they were sharp enough before being used to shoot and shecht birds in midflight.

C. The Gemara in Chullin 15b-16a says that one who shechts using a knife powered by a water mill is not kosher because it is not your direct power, rather it is secondary power of your which is causing the slaughter to happen and therefore it is indirect and invalid.

D. By hurting or killing someone the sin is the act of killing or damaging.

E. The mitzvah of shechita does not need an act of shechita but that                                  shechita comes from his power. 

Answer: By the murder or injury we can say that it wasn’t his action of shooting that killed or hurt the person since the shield was in the way when the arrow was shot but by the slaughter, though the shechita would not have happened when the shield was there but it was taken away and it was because of the power of his shot that it was shechted properly therefore it is kosher.

Torah Riddles Test #64

  1. Question: Why can a half slave half free man get married misafek (at least in doubt, see Avnei Miluim 44:3) but he definitely can’t blow shofar for himself or anyone on Rosh HaShana (See Gemara Rosh HaShana 29a)


A. The Avnei Miluim gives a difference between a half maid servant half free woman and a half slave half free man in that she can definitely accept marriage  because she’s doing nothing, just nullifying her will and knowledge to her would be husband and he is doing the act of marriage. Whereas a half slave half free man since he is doing the action and his half slave side isn’t able to perform a Halachic marriage for his free man side therefore it is questionable whether he can get married.

B. By blowing a shofar since the half slave side isn’t obligated in blowing shofar it can’t help it’s free side blow shofar but if he heard someone else blow shofar then his free side can accept the blow he heard and fulfill the mitzvah.

C. A half slave half free man is one body with two sides or parts to him (or more like two men.)

Answer: Blowing the shofar is dependent on the body since the body is blowing. So since he is one body then both sides are blowing. But marriage doesn’t happen through the body but by the person with his knowledge to get married so now that we are saying they are like two guys inside one body and granted they are both doing the marriage but the slave side doesn’t take away from the free man’s side so the free man’s side might possibly work to create a marriage.

Torah Riddles Test #63

  1. Question: Why is Birkas HaTorah different than all other blessings according to the Shulchan Aruch in that even if you don’t fulfill the mitzvah of learning Torah immediately the blessing made on Torah learning will work for whenever you do learn later?


A: Normally one has to fulfill the mitzvah as soon as one says a blessing so that there will not be a hefsek/separation between the blessing and the mitzvah which causes a hesech hadaas (One’s mind to lose concentration connecting the mitzvah to the blessing). If he doesn’t then he must make the blessing again and immediately do the mitzvah. (Siman 206)

B. There is a mitzvah to learn Torah 24/7 as it says “vihigisa bo yomam valaila” (You shall toil in it day and night.)

Answer: Because only the mitzvah of Torah learning is 24/7 then there is no hesech hadaas/disconnect of the mind for the entire day, where as any other mitzvah which is not constant then as soon as a distraction happens he loses connection between the blessing and the mitzvah. (See Mishna Berura 47:9:19.)