Shut SMS #31

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner answers hundreds of text message questions a week. Some appear in the parashah sheets "Ma'ayanei Ha-Yeshu'ah," "Olam Ha-Katan" and "Be-Ahavah U-Be-Eumnah." Here's a sample:
Q: Hasn't the time come to change the wording of "Nachem" (which we recite on Tisha Be-Av) which describes Jerusalem as the destroyed, shamed and desolate city?
A: Please come and visit our yeshiva "Ateret Yerushalayim" which is located in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem, in the so-called "Muslim Quarter," and you will be convinced on the spot to leave it as is (since on the way you can see that much of the Old City is still in a state of destruction, shame and desolate of Jews).
Q: Is it permissible to recite Tehillim on Tisha Be-Av?
A: According to most opinions, they should not be said but postponed until the next day.
Q: Why is it so difficult to be a Jew?
A: If we do it gradually, it is easy, as is explained in Mesilat Yesharim.
Q: Does every autistic child have the ability to prophesy?
A: Rabbis have already publicized that this is nonsense.
Q: Is it permissible to draw with a pen on your body or write something on your body or is it forbidden because of the prohibition of having a tattoo?
A: It is not a tattoo since it is on the surface and temporary. It is therefore permissible if it does not draw attention.
Q: Must I give food to an animal which "asks" me, such as a cat?
A: If you are responsible for it.
Q: Is the number 13 unlucky?
A: This is a superstition of the Christians.
Q: Is it permissible for me to nurse in a place where there are people if I am covered?
A: Yes. You should be on the side as much as possible.
Q: I am not succeeding in getting married. Is it possible that it is because someone is upset with me?
A: No. There is no such thing. You should pray, repent and give Tzedakah and find a good matchmaking organization.
Q: I am completing teaching at a school and it is possible that I offended some of the students. Should I ask their forgiveness?
A: Yes, from all of them together while you say your goodbye and bless them.
Q: Is it better not to put on Tefillin at all than to recite a blessing, put them on and quickly remove them?
A: You should put them on. Even a few minutes is sufficient.
Q: "Do not speak to a woman excessively" (Pirkei Avot, chap. 1) – why is it forbidden for me to talk to my wife a lot?
A: A quality conversation – yes, but not frivolous, extraneous and tiring talk.
Q: I made a match and the couple gave me a respectable amount of money. They broke it off. Do I have to return the money?
A: Certainly, there was no match.
Q: Is it permissible to take a jog before davening in the morning?
A: No, one should not engage in his own needs before davening.
Q: Will a woman who drinks the Havdalah wine grow a mustache?
A: Nonsense. But women do have a custom not to drink unless they are alone and reciting Havdalah.
Q: I have friends who ridicule Rabbis. If I protest, they will ridicule more.
A: Do not protest, but show on your face that you object.
Q: Do three women who eat together recite the "zimun"?
A: We do not act this way.
Q: Is it permissible for a woman to be on a beach just for women when there is male lifeguard and sometimes an additional man who is not a lifeguard?
A: With a robe until she reaches the water.
Q: Can a man with long hair lead the davening for a community where everyone has normal length hair?
A: It is improper. After all this is a severe Torah prohibition.
Q: If a man accepts upon himself all of the mitzvot but continues to believe in Jesus is his conversion acceptable?
A: G-d forbid. He is a Christian.
Q: What should I do with a Book of Tehillim that I received from the Friendship Fellowship of Christians and Jews?
A: Throw it in the garbage.
Q: Can I go to a mixed beach if I remain fully clothed?
A: G-d forbid. The place itself is forbidden, and the intermingling is forbidden.