Shut SMS #32

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: I have a neighbor who borrows food items all of the time, but does not return them. Is it permissible for me to stop lending and lie when she asks by saying that I do not have a particular product?
A: It is possible, but the proper way is to ask for it back in a gentle manner.
Q: Why does Hashem forgive me when I repent, even though I could stumble again?
A: Because you exerted effort and struggled.
Q: Does a reflector jacket, which one is required to wear (in Israel) if he is on the side of the road with car trouble, require Tzitzit since it has four corners?
A: No, it is not a garment one wears for modesty, warmth or honor, but rather it is just a sign.
Q: Is it permissible to have a dog?
A: Yes, if it does not bother others.
Q: You had written that Ha-Rav Neriah innovated "Im Eshcachekh" (If I forget you, Jerusalem) at weddings, but it is mentioned in the Taz 560:4?
A: He innovated having the community sing it.
Q: Is it permissible for a young woman to have plastic surgery on her nose since it is causing her to have a lack of self-confidence?
A: Yes, in order to remove a distress such as in a rare case of a crooked nose. But it is not recommended to rush into this decision.
Q: Is it permissible to use two challot made with different grains on Shabbat?
A: Yes. Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 274, Mishnah Berurah #4.
Q: The teacher gives us the same tests he gave in a different school last year. Can we get the tests from kids we know there and prepare for the tests?
A: You have to ask the teacher if he agrees.
Q: Is it permissible for a son to call the police if his father is hitting his mother?
A: Yes, but he should ascertain beforehand that his mother will not deny it.
Q: I am a mother of three small children. How many times am I obligated to daven a day?
A: The morning blessings, and beyond this according to your desire.
Q: Is it permissible to wish my parents "good night" after I recite the Bedtime Shema?
A: It is preferable to do so beforehand, but it is permissible if you forgot.
Q: I am a female officer in the army, far from religious observance. My husband's family is religious and when we spend Shabbat there I observe Shabbat, dress modestly, cover my hair, etc. I enjoy it immensely being with the family, but I don't feel anything. What causes a person to become a believer?
A: In order to come to faith, one must learn faith from people who believe, from books about faith or recordings of classes about faith.
Q: My wife and I are newly observant and are in the first year of marriage. Is it permissible to hold hands in public?
A: It is certainly forbidden to display public acts of affection. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch of Rabbi Shlomo Granzfield 152:10.
Q: Can a woman's whose due date past induce labor?
A: Based on the doctor's recommendation.
Q: Some hold that Torah learning protects more than the army?
A: Both are needed. This one is not sufficient without that one. See Niddah 70b.
Q: Is it permissible to shop on a weekday in a store which is open on Shabbat?
A: It is permissible, but a store which observes Shabbat is preferable.
Q: Because of the burden on the community, can a gabbai recite the blessing for the sick and each person recite the name (instead of each person coming, telling him the name and having the gabbai recite each one)?
A: That's a great idea.
Q: Is it permissible to roast a liver in the oven?
A: Yes, with the condition that there is a very high heat.
Q: Is it permissible to use a pen in a house where I am babysitting?
A: Yes, they will forgive the use.
Q: I fear that I will stumble in touching someone on a date - what should I do?
A: Meet in a public place where there are a lot of people.
Q: Who is more appropriate to teach in a girls' high school – a male Torah scholar or a woman?
A: Certainly a woman, whether on account of modesty or as a role model. And there is no lack of female Torah scholars.
Q: When one washes hands before davening must it is done from a cup or is it enough to wash?
A: It is enough to wash.
Q: Is it permissible to throw a Koran in the garbage?
A: No, since it includes ideas of believing in one G-d.
Q: Should one kiss his kippah if it falls on the ground?
A: There is no need; wearing a kippah is for the sake of modesty.
Q: Should we follow the books of medicine of the Rambam?
A: No, this is old medicine. See Rambam, Hilchot De'ot 4:18 with Kesef Mishnah and introduction of Rabbi Avraham ben Ha-Rambam to Ein Yaakov.
Q: Is it permissible to lie for a surprise birthday party?
A: Certainly. This is not the type of lie the Torah forbids.
Q: Is it permissible to pass by a place on Shabbat which has a video camera?
A: It is permissible. It is a "benefit which comes to a person against his will" (Pesachim 25b), since you are walking on your way, do not do anything in relation to the camera and it does not matter to you. Pnei Yehoshua ibid. in the name of the Ran.
Q: Is it permissible to eat a dairy product with fish?
A: Some are strict, but it is permissible according to the basic Halachah.