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.)

Torah Riddles Test #61

  1. Question: If you aren’t sure if you recited the Birkas Hamazon why do you have to repeat the entire blessing but if you are unsure if you said Birkas HaTorah you should only say the second blessing of “Asher bachar banu”?


A. Both Birkas Hamazon and Birkas HaTorah are Torah level blessings and though the fifth paragraph of Birkas Hamazon is rabbinic it is said with the rest though by Birkas HaTorah only the second blessing is said to take care of the Torah level blessing because it is considered the better of the two blessings as the Mishna Berura 47:1:1 says.

B. Mishna Berura 184:13 says that the reason why you say the entire Birkas Hamazon including the last blessing paragraph is in order to not denigrate that last blessing and start to always skip it since it would not be taken seriously.

C. Birkas Hamazon is a blessing of praise and Birkas HaTorah is a blessing over a mitzvah.

Answer: Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe Orach Chaim 2:3) says that a person would put the same weight of a blessing on a mitzvah as if it is a mitzvah and would never be lax in the matter and stop saying it but by bentching because it’s just a praise then the seemingly less important praises they would stop saying if skipped at times.

Torah Riddles Test #54

  1. Question: According to the Pri Megadim what is the difference between a half slave half free person who can’t blow shofar or read megilla himself but could have someone do it for him and he fulfills those mitzvahs through the messenger but the Pri Megadim does not understand why a person can light Chanukah candles for another person who took on Shabbos early and forgot to light Chanukah candles?


A. The Pri Megadim did not understand how you can have someone else light Chanukah candles for you if you accidentally first lit Shabbos candles because there is a rule that whatever you can’t do your messenger can’t do for you. This is because the messenger of a person is like himself so if you can’t do it he can’t do it either.

B. The Mahara”m Shick (chelek 1, Even HaEzer, teshuva 129) answers the Pri Megadim’s difficulty by saying this rule that a messenger can’t do something the sender can’t do only applies if the job and the problem is the same, (for example someone asking a messenger to marry him to a relative like his own daughter or mother.) But in this case there are two different factors, Chanukah and Shabbos. The fact that it is Shabbos for this person now is a technicality so the messenger can act on his behalf.

C. This technicality concept is exactly why a half slave half free person can fulfill the mitzvah through others according to the Mahara”m Shick, meaning the only reason why he can’t do the mitzvos himself is because he is a half slave otherwise there is nothing wrong with him doing the mitzvah therefore someone else can do it for him.

The Pri Megadim obviously does not hold of this technical logic so why could others be a messenger for the half slave half free person but it does not make sense in his eyes why a messenger can light Chanukah candles after the sender took on Shabbos?

Answer: By the Chanukah candles case, granted it is a technicality which doesn’t allow him to light but he still can’t light because it is Shabbos and a technicality is no excuse according to the Pri Megadim. But the half free person side really can fulfill any mitzvah it is just that the half slave side is stopping him so a messenger can do the mitzvah for the half free side.