Torah Riddles #212

Question: Why can you fix an esrog by just peeling off the place a mouse bit from, though it was disgusting yet you can’t just take out the mouse even if the oil is 60 times more than the mouse that fell into it, in order to use the oil for Chanukah candles since it is disgusting?


  1. The Rema (549:5) says if mice made holes in the esrog one should not use even on other days beside yom tov because it is disgusting, until you remove the spots the mice punctured. The Mishna Berura (37) adds that we are lenient because an incomplete esrog is technically kosher to be used on other days, but just ideally we are stringent here because it was disgusting, therefore when the area that was disgusting is removed it is kosher again. The Sfas Emes brought in the Dirshu (footnote 64 found in the back, page 85) adds that being disgusting only applies to something which is potentially edible and therefore it is considered disgusting to be used for the mitzva but if mice would have nibbled on hadasim or aravos they could still be used.
  2. The Mishna Berura (573:1:3) says if one finds a mouse in the oil, it is disgusting and forbidden to be used for Chanukah light. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah siman 104) says one must remove the mouse if found whole or in parts before eating or drinking the item it fell into like wine, or oil in this case, which means it would be kosher to eat, but only if its taste was nullified in 60 times the liquid it fell into before being taken out. Yet the Mishna Berura still says it’s disgusting and can’t be used for Chanukah oil without mentioning that if taken out it is permitted so the oil must still be forbidden to use to light for Chanukah.

Answer: The oil that the mouse was in is still there even if the mouse was nullified in 60 and then removed so that is still disgusting and cannot be used for the mitzvah. But the area where the mouse took a bite from on the esrog is now gone if shaven off so the esrog is not disgusting anymore and can be used for the mitzvah on all other days besides the first.