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 #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.