Torah Riddles Test #59

  1. Question: Why isn’t it an issue of being forced into a situation of making an unneeded blessing (bracha she’eino tzricha) in terms of washing in the morning or by tefillin but there is an issue of making an unneeded blessing by tzitzis?

Background:

  1. The Mishna Berura (4:13:30) says if one was up all night, for example on Shavuos, or even if he got up before alos hashachar (dawn) and washed his hands(see Mishna Berura 33), then there is a question whether he has to wash his hands in the morning and make a blessing, based on the question in halacha of why we wash, is it because of touching impure places while sleeping, sleeping itself, or just the nighttime which brings a bad spirit onto one’s hands. In any event the suggested practice is to go to the bathroom and then everyone agrees that he would be obligated to make a blessing after washing for washing his hands and going to the bathroom.
  2. The Beur Halacha (25:5 “vitov”) explains the reason why this is fine is because since one is forced to do this because of the doubt it is does not fall into the category of an unneeded blessing. Similarly by tefillin there is a question whether a blessing is needed by the tefillin shel rosh or whether it counts with the blessing over the tefillin shel yad. The Shulchan Aruch and the Vilna Gaon both agree like the view of Rashi that one only makes one blessing for both but the Rema says two blessings should be said like the view of the Rosh. Rebbe Akiva Aiger suggests that one should have in mind to not use the first blessing on the arm tefillin for the head tefillin in order so that he is forced to make the second blessing just in case the halacha is like Rashi that the blessing on the hand tefillin can also count for the head and this is not considered making an unneeded blessing because one is forced to do this to get out of the doubt of who we poskin like.
  3. However the Mishna Berura (8:16:42) says that if one slept in his tzitzis the entire night there is a question whether he can make a blessing on the tzitzis in the morning since there is a doubt whether there is a mitzvah of tzitzis at night or just that pajamas are exempt from tzitzis but day garments are still obligated even at night therefore the Mishna Berura says safek brachos lihakel (when in doubt by a blessing one should be lenient and not say it) however he can have in mind for the tzitzis when making a blessing on his tallis. He then says that this is as long as he doesn’t take it off but if he takes off the tzitzis with having no intention of putting it back on immediately then he would need a new blessing according to everyone but one shouldn’t do this on purpose to create a situation of an unneeded blessing.

Answer: . By washing one is just doing something which he would have to do at some point anyways so he isn’t doing anything extra to force himself to make an unneeded blessing and by tefillin too, the Beur Halacha says that having in mind to not use the blessing on the arm is like talking in the middles of doing the mitzvah which warrants a new blessing so there isn’t a superfluous step which forces a need of a new blessing. But by tzitzis, the garment is already on, and there is no need to take it off, it is totally extra and repetitive so going through the motions of taking it off just to put it on again is more like a loop hole which just creates an unneeded blessing.

Torah Riddles Test #15

  1. Question: Why isn’t there a difference between lefties and righties when putting up a mezuzah as there is when putting on tefillin?

Background:

A. Lefties put tefillin on their right arm and righties but tefillin on their left arm.

B. Rebbe Akiva Aiger quoting a Mordechai says that even if one’s stronger leg is his left one, that is what he normally comes in with (meaning he starts walking with his left foot, so when walking through a doorway he would assumingly step in starting with his left foot) still the mezuzah should be placed on the right side and it is not like tefillin.

C. Most people in the world are righties.

Answer: Rebbe Akiva Aiger answers in Yoreh Deah 289:2 that mezuzah is protection for everyone in the household not just for the one who puts up the mezuzah.

Torah Riddles Test #9

  1. Question: Why does the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 285:1) say if you only have enough money to buy only one item one should by tefillin and not a mezuzah?

Background:

  • The Shulchan Aruch says that one who is careful with fulfilling the mitzvah of mezuzah will merit long life for himself and his family.
  •  Mezuzah is a mitzvah that can be fulfilled every day of the year whereas tefillin are not adorned on Shabbos or Yom Tov.
  • If a person is a nomad living in tents in the desert or a sailor at sea, the mitzvah of mezuzah might never pertain to him just as a person who does not own a four cornered garment will never be required to don tzitzis.
  • As soon as a boy turns 13 he has an obligation to put on tefillin everyday besides Shabbos and Yom Tov.

Answer: Rebbe Akiva Aiger on the Shulchan Aruch says tefillin is an obligatory mitzvah in all circumstances except for its few exemptions on different parts of the year but mezuzah is only obligatory if you have a house with doorposts so it is possible a person might never need to fulfill that mitzvah just like tzitzis, therefore it is more important to buy tefillin then mezuzah even if currently you do have a house which is obligated in mezuzah.