Shut SMS #25

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner answers hundreds of text message questions a week. Some appear in the parashah sheets "Ma'ayanei Ha-Yeshu'ah" and "Olam Ha-Katan." Here's a sample:
Q: Is one allowed to burn copies of music disks?
A: Certainly not. It’s an infringement on copyrights. The artist invested in his work!
Q: Is one allowed to go to a comedy show during Sefirat HaOmer?
A: Certainly not. It’s forbidden all year long, because of the prohibition against “sitting with scoffers” (Tehillim 1), and all-the-more-so during Sefirat HaOmer.
Q: Is one allowed to give a Torah lecture on Gemara in a loud voice on the bus when the rest of the passengers complain?
A: Certainly not. The bus is for them as well.
Q: Is there a concrete halachic prohibition against using obscene language?
A: Certainly, and it is severe. See Mesillat Yesharim, Chapter 11.
Q: Is one allowed to cheat on tests?
A: Certainly not. It’s a Torah prohibition against stealing ideas.
Q: We have experienced tragedies. What should we do?
A: Prayer, repentance and Tzedakah.
Q: Is it permissible to kill a lizard which is running around our house? We heard it is bad.
A: This is a superstition. It is permissible.
Q: Is it permissible to meet (for the purpose of marriage) a G-d-fearing and righteous young woman whose mother is Jewish and whose father is non-Jewish? After all, one should marry the daughter of a Torah scholar.
A: It is fine. According to your words, she herself is similar to a Torah scholar.
Q: Where did the custom of singing "Im Eshkachech" (If I Forget You, Jerusalem) under the chuppah come from?
A: It is the innovation of Ha-Rav Neriah ztz"l.
Q: Is it preferable for a woman to daven in shul or at home?
A: It is a personal decision.
Q: May one heat up mother's milk in a meat pot or it is dairy?
A: It is not dairy.
Q: I heard that there is no blessing on gum because we do not swallow it. Is this correct?
A: There is a problem if you do not swallow a little at the end, but the majority of authorities rules that we do say a blessing before chewing it.
Q: According to the Torah, it is possible that there are fossils from more than 5769 years ago?
A: It is possible. Hashem built worlds and destroyed them. See Igrot Ha-Re'eiyah vol. 1, p. 105.
Q: There was an article in the paper that a man claims to be the Messiah and the State of Israel will fall. Should I believe it?
A: It is nonsense.
Q: Is it true that if I take a piece of challah from Shabbat and put it under my pillow at night I will see the image of my future groom, and it will shorten life?
A: It is superstition.
Q: Is someone who does not sleep eight hours at night considered a sinner?
A: No. One should sleep according to their need, and this is personal.
Q: Does changing one's name change one's luck?
A: If one also greatly repents. Rambam, Hilchot Teshuvah.
Q: Does a non-Jew have a soul?
A: Certainly. See commentators on Pirkei Avot chap. 3, a person is beloved since he is created in G-d's image.
Q: Is there a reason for the custom to place a cell phone on a righteous person's grave and have someone on the other line recite Tehillim?
A: It is nonsense and shaming a grave.