Torah Riddles Test #166

1.    Question: According to the Levush what is the difference whether one corner of tzitzis broke and you only have to retie that corner, but if one corner was tied when the corners were rounded and then all four corners were made pointed and the rest of the corners were tied properly, you still have to redo all of them again?


A. There is a concept by tzitzis that they must be made in the right order, not that everything is done and automatically the mitzvah falls into place once it is all sorted.

B. Example of the wrong way is tying tzitzis on a three-corner garment then cutting a fourth corner and tying it.  You have to retie   all four corners because the four corners must be there first then tie them all.

 C. The Magen Avraham questioned why the 3-corner case was a problem since the other corners were tied properly why should all the tzitzis be invalid since one was? Furthermore, the Machatzis Hashekel asks why it is no different than one tzitzis breaking, why isn’t it that the tzitzis on the other 3 corners are also invalidated and they all would have to be retied?

D. The Levush does say that all the tzitzis strings were made in an invalid state and stayed invalid because it was automatically set not made right, from the start.

E. The tallis is part of the mitzvah of tzitzis because the tallis and tzitzis become one piece of clothing.

Answer:  Once one corner was made out of order then the whole garment is invalidated even if the other three tzitzis strings were tied after the fourth corner was cut out so all of them have to be redone but if all strings were tied properly on a kosher garment and then one string broke that does not mean all four have to be restrung because the garment is still valid, only the one string broke so only that one must be fixed.

Torah Riddles Test #145

2.    Question: Why are you allowed to put yourself into a position where you would have to make a blessing for washing but shouldn’t put yourself into a position where you would have to say a blessing for tzitzis?


A. There is a general rule that one should not make a blessing if he does not have to for it is saying Hashem’s name in vain.

 B. Tzitzis scenario: If one wore his tzitzis overnight the Mishna Berura (8:16:42) brings an argument of whether one has to make a blessing on them in the morning and when in doubt by blessings one should be lenient and not say it. However, the Mishna Berura says if he took off the tzitzis in the morning with in mind not to put them back on immediately then everyone agrees he should make a blessing upon putting it back on but ideally it is not right to take this advice because he will be saying an unneeded blessing according to those who say you do fulfill the mitzvah of tzitzis at night.

C. The washing hands scenario is where one is unsure whether he said the blessing upon washing in the morning or if he washed his hands unintentionally before a meal with bread, the Mishna Berura (4:30, 33) says one should ideally put himself in a position where he would definitely have to make a blessing. In the Be’ur Halacha (159:12 “lichatchila”) he says about someone who unintentionally washed for a meal, that though according to most Rishonim he doesn’t have to wash again but if he can get more water he should wash again and it is better to sully his hands so that he will be obliged to say a blessing according to everyone.

 Answer: In the Be’ur Halacha (25:5 “vitov”) the Chofetz Chaim explains by washing that since it must be done because of the doubt then it is not considered an unneeded blessing but by the tzitzis just don’t take them off and it won’t prompt a need to say another blessing. Anyway, it is better to exempt the tzitzis with the blessing over a tallis either you put on or if someone else puts on with their blessing. 


Torah Riddles Test #126

1. Question: Why can a kohen wear his priestly garments which has shaatnez in them even when not doing the holy service but the Raavad holds you can’t wear tzitzis which has shaatnez in them at night since there is no obligation at night?


A. These are examples of a positive mitzvah pushing off a negative mitzvah, in this case the mitzvah of tzitzis or priestly garments pushing off the prohibition of shaatnez/forbidden mixtures.

B. Really when it comes to the priestly garments the Torah didn’t just push off the prohibition of shaatnez but completely permitted it because that’s the only way to perform the service in the Beis hamikdash.

C. You don’t have to wear shaatnez by tzitzis but if you have a linen garment and the techeiles/blue string (when worn) was supposed to be wool then the positive mitzvah of tzitzis pushes off the negative mitzvah of shaatnez.

D. Why does the priestly garments permit the prohibition of shaatnez but the tzitzis only push off the prohibition if shaatnez.

Answer: The Kovetz Ha’aros (40 in new edition) answered that the Raavad holds that since there is no other way to wear the priestly garments while doing the Holy service then the prohibition became permitted even after the service was done and before it took place but by tzitzis you can always wear a linen garment with linen tzitzis so you wouldn’t need to mix wool and linen together. The Torah just permitted you to do so if you wish for the sake of the mitzvah so the mitzvah only pushes off the prohibition so when there is no mitzva, like at night then the prohibition won’t allow you to wear the garment.

Torah Riddles Test #120

1.       Questions: What would be the difference between a Jew and non-Jew together tying tzitzis and them together shechting an animal?


A.      The case by shechting is where they are both holding onto the knife when slaughtering where the Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 2:11 says it is no good.

B.      You need an action of a kosher shechita done by a Jew but it does not transform the animal in any way but by tzitzis the four cornered garment is transformed into a tzitzis garment and the action required to be done by a Jew is just the means to transform it into a kosher tzitzis garment.

C.      Why then would it be alright if a non-Jew made the tzitzis with the Jew even if it would not work by shechting the animal?

 Answer: Since what is required by shechting is a kosher action then the whole action must be done only by a Jew according to the Shulchan Aruch. But by tzitzis you just need a garment of tzitzis made by a Jew and it was made by a Jew a non-Jew was just involved as well.

Torah Riddles Test #110

1.    Question: Why are there some poskim who hold that if one isn’t sure whether he fulfilled the mitzvah of Omer or not he should still say a blessing and count the Omer for that night but they would also hold that a tumtum should not say a blessing upon putting on tzitzis?


A. A tumtum is a person born without clear signs of genitalia, it might be the person has to much fat or skin in the area to make a judgment whether it is female or male therefore there is a halachic doubt whether it is obligated in the mitzvah of tzitzis, so he should wear the tzitzis in doubt but should not say a blessing because, safek brachos lihakel, we are lenient to not say a blessing when in doubt lest we might say Hashem’s name in vain.

B. Shouldn’t this opinion, also be concerned that the person might have said the Omer already and saying a blessing potentially again might constitute saying Hashem’s name in vain so when in doubt don’t make the blessing?

Answer: This opinion holds that when there is a doubt of whether there is a mitzvah to begin with then one should not say a blessing but by this case of the Omer there was a definite obligation the only question is whether it was fulfilled yet or not therefore he holds a blessing should still be said since a definite obligation exists.(See Dirshu Mishna Berura footnote 41 on Be’ur Halacha 489:1 “moneh viholech”)

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?


  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 #38

  1. Question: Why should a majority be used to decide that a sheep already counted and then remixed into the pen can be ignored or nullified regarding taking tithes of animals but we can’t use a majority to nullify a string of wool which was not twirled for the sake of the mitzvah of tzitzis and got mixed up with other strings that were woven for the sake of the mitzvah?


A. The Oneg Yom Tov (siman 2) says that if strings twirled not for the sake of the mitzvah of tzitzis are mixed in a pile of strings that were twirled for the mitzvah one cannot use a majority to nullify the invalid ones because nullifying in a majority only works when stuff that are forbidden fall into stuff that are permissible where nullifying the majority removes the issue of prohibition but here the nullifying in majority is being used to make the strands of tzitzis kosher that were twirled not for the sake of the mitzvah and we don’t find anywhere a concept of nullifying like that.

 B. The Gemara in Bava Metzia 6b says that if one of the sheep that was already counted for tithes jumped back into the pen and got mixed up then all of them are exempt from tithing.Tosfos there asks and leaves the question unanswered, why not say that that sheep should be nullified in the majority and all then should be counted in the count of tithing? Problem is that means the majority is actually adding a new din of untithed to the animal that was already counted. It didn’t just nullify that animal because it will be part of the count again which is a question on the Oneg Yom Tov.

C. Chakira in tithing animals: (a) Does the obligation of tithing animals come off by itself once it is counted or (b) really each animal is obligated to be tithed but once they are counted they are exempted from animal tithing.

Answer: If you say like the second side that really each animal is obligated in tithing but is exempted after being counted then Tosfos question makes sense because the nullification through majority takes away the exemption of being counted already and automatically all that is left is the obligation of tithing an animal which by itself it is liable for. Just to clarify, by the tithing of the sheep the obligation of tithing is always on the animal but it is exempted one counted so the majority removes that exemption and the sheep is left with an obligation again which it always has but by the tzitzis, it started off not being made kosherly and the majority would be used to transform it into something kosher which it can’t do.

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?


  • 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.

Torah Riddles Test #4

Question: Why isn’t it a problem to put tzitzis onto a garment which has shaatnez and then take out the shaatnez?


A. The problem is that there is a rule that one can only put tzitzis on a garment which already requires tzitzis. For example if a garment has rounded corners which are not obligated in tzitzis and he tied tzitzis on each round corner and then cut the corner so it would be square which now makes the garment obligated in tzitzis, he must now untie the tzitzis and retie them to be allowed to wear the garment.

B. The main problem is that you can’t perform a mitzvah through doing a sin.

C. The prohibition of meat and milk has to do with a mixture this is the same prohibition of shaatnez, a mixture of wool and linen.

Answer: The issue of shaatnez and tzitzis do not cross paths for the prohibition of shaatnez is in the mixture whereas the mitzvah of tzitzis could be performed within the measurement of wool by itself, assuming most of the garment is wool and there are just a few strands of linen mixed in.