Is it too early to start thinking about Chanukah? The halacha is that a guest at someone else’s home fulfills the mitzvah of hadlakas neiros by being mishtateif b’priti – by giving some token amount of money to the homeowner so the oil is added on his/her behalf. The Minchas Eluzar (4:69) creates a wild paradox: what if the homeowner is mekadesh a girl based on the value of this perutah and oil? 1) If the oil has value, then the girl is mekudeshes; 2) if the girl is mekudeshes, she can fulfill the mitzvah of hadlakah through her husband; 3) if she fulfills hadlakah through her husband, the girl does not need oil and it has no value; 4) if the oil has no value, the girl is not mekudeshes; 5) if she is not mekudeshes, the girl needs to light for herself; 6) if she needs to light for herself, the oil has value…back to step #1 and repeat!
Similar paradoxes exist elsewhere. The halacha is that a parah adumah becomes disqualified if it is used for work or bears a burden, provided that these services are “neicha lei”, desired by or beneficial to the cow’s owner. The gemara (Pesachim 26) disqualifies a parah adumah which is mounted by a bull. Tosfos asks: since the owner would much rather have a valuable kosher parah adumah than a disqualified pregnant red cow, why is this considered “neicha lei”? Tosfos answers that since it would be neicha lei if not for the cow being a parah adumah, the cow is disqualified. In other words, explains the Minchas Eluzar, the din is based on a paradox: 1) if mounting is neicha lei to the owner, the cow is disqualified; 2) if the cow would be disqualified, mounting is not neicha lei; 3) if mounting is not neicha lei, it is not a disqualification; 4) if it does not a disqualification, the owner wants the bull to mount… back to step #1 and repeat.
At some point we enter the domain of “klutz kashe”. How does kiddushei kesef ever work? Since whatever a women takes possession of is transferred to her husband’s ownership – mah she’kansa isha kansa ba’alah - the following paradox occurs: 1) the groom presents his wife with a ring to become mekudeshes; 2) by becoming his wife, the kallah surrenders her rights to ownership; 3) since she surrenders her ownership rights, the kallah cannot take possession of the ring; 4) if she has not taken possession of the ring, she is not mekudeshes… back to step #1! Why is this a klutz kashe?... well, I guess you will be going in circles until you figure that out.
(You obviously need to step outside the paradigm of Litvishe learning and gavra/cheftza sevaras to appreciate the twists and turns here on its own terms, which is what makes this stuff fun to read!)