Shut SMS #37

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: Is it permissible to recite the silent "Shemoneh Esrei" out loud on the High Holidays?
A: Some Ashkenazim raise their voices a little with the condition that one does not bother others.
Q: Which is preferable – a person leading the davening who sings beautifully or who is a righteous person?
A: Obviously a righteous person. There is no question.
Q: There is a custom not to sleep on Rosh Hashanah. What if I am really tired?
A: It is permissible. By the way, there is no difference between sleeping and sitting idly. Mishnah Berurah.
Q: Is there a custom to eat fish or Rosh Hashanah?
A: Some do and some do not.
Q: Does the annulment of vows performed on Erev Rosh Hashanah nullify all the vows of a person?
A: No. Only positive acts which a person has performed a few times; and not an actual vow which he has made. The same applies for Kol Nidrei.
Q: Is it permissible to eat before the blowing of the Shofar.
A: There are various opinions. Our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah, did not eat.
Q: If there is no choice, may one recite Selichot during the day?
A: Yes, with a minyan.
Q: Is it permissible to recite Selichot at night before midnight?
A: The basic halachah is that it is permissible. Igrot Moshe.
Q: When we prostrate on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, is it necessarily to put down a cloth?
A: If one puts his head to the floor, he must put a cloth there because of the prohibition of bowing to stones.
Q: Is it permissible for me to occasionally smoke "light" drugs when I am hanging out with friends?
A: G-d forbid. It is a severe Torah prohibition. It is also dangerous.
Q: What should I do if my mother always speaks Lashon Ha-Ra?
A: Steer the conversation in another direction.
Q: What should I do if the minyan I am davening in goes so fast that I am in the middle of the Shemoneh Esrei when they reach Kedushah?
A: Daven as you would and when they reach Kedushah, stop and listen quietly based on the principle "Shome'a Ke-Oneh" (one who listens is like one who said it).
Q: Is it permissible to make a personal phone call at work?
A: In a rare circumstance for a short time.
Q: Why is it forbidden to smoke, there is also unhealthy food?
A: One also has to eat healthy food, but smoking is very dangerous: 10,000 people dies each year in Israel from smoking.
Q: Ha-Rav wrote that the idea of the 36 righteous people is a late teaching. Does this apply specifically to the fact that they are hidden?
A: In the Gemara, Abaye mentioned the 36 righteous people, and only the Chasidic movement mentions the fact that they are hidden.