Shut SMS #38

Rabbi 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-Emunah." Here's a sample:
Q: I am in a place without water and want to eat bread. What should I do?
A: Wrap both of your hands.
Q: Is it permissible to eat fish with milk or cheese?
A: Some are strict, but the basic Halachah is that it is permissible.
Q: Is it necessary to kasher a utensil which was cooked in on Shabbat?
A: The Mishnah Berurah requires it, but Ha-Rav Ovadiah Yosef does not.
Q: Does a person die only after fulfilling his mission in life?
A: Not necessarily. He dies at the time when Hashem decrees.
Q: Is it permissible to buy a Kosher product in a closed package in a store which is open on Shabbat?
A: Yes, but it is obviously preferable not to do so.
Q: Does an Amulet work?
A: Not necessarily, especially in our time.
Q: Ha-Rav wrote that one should not give a boy's name to a girl or visa-versa. What is the source?
A: There is no source and it is actually not forbidden, but it is not proper to do so.
Q: How should we have a "Chanukat Ha-Bayit" (dedication of a house)?
A: The custom is that the first act in the house should be a holy one such as learning Torah or praying.
Q: I sin all the time. I get up and fall, get up and fall. I feel like Hashem is angry with me. What will be will me?
A: Be encouraged. Never despair. Everything will work out. And read "Mesillat Yesharim."
Q: When I was young, I stole little things here and there. The stores are no longer there and I do not even remember all of them. How do I repent?
A: Estimate the amount and give it to Tzedakah.
Q: Is there a source for a red string which people wear?
A: Yes, the Tosefta says that it is forbidden on account of "Darchei Emori" (superstitious practice, close to idol-worship).
Q: Perhaps we should stop answering text message questions since there are people who ask ridiculous questions and it shames the Halachah?
A: Out of 1000 serious questions I receive, there is one ridiculous one, and it is not correct to punish all the serious people because of a few stupid ones.
Q: Is it a sanctification of Hashem's Name if an Israeli sports team is victorious?
A: No. To be a sanctification of Hashem, it needs to be a mitzvah, and competitive sports are a "Moshav Leitzim" (frivolity).
Q: Is it permissible for children to participate in the second marriage of a parent?
A: Yes. There is no prohibition. It is a personal decision.
Q: Is it permissible to take medicine which does not have kosher certification?
A: If it lacks taste.
Q: My husband claims that a woman is supposed to bring the blessing of a livelihood, and since we have been married he does not have a livelihood and he blames me.
A: It is the opposite. Our Rabbis say that a husband should honor his wife and then there will be a livelihood.
Q: Should I get an amulet for the sake of my health?
A: See "Sefer Chasidim" that some amulets are nonsense and some cause damage. Therefore, you should give Tzedakah to the poor since Tzedakah saves from death.
Q: I spoke Lashon Ha-Ra about someone and he does not know. Should I tell him and ask forgiveness?
A: No, it will cause him pain. Rabbi Yisrael Salanter.
Q: Is there any value in refrain from buying German products?
A: Yes, but it is not obligatory. There are various considerations such as saving money and giving Tzedakah.
Q: What is the meaning of the stones we place on graves?
A: A sign of respect that we visited.
Q: What is the source of the term "baseless love" (i.e. just as the Temple was destroyed on account of "baseless hatred," it will be rebuilt on account of "baseless love")?
A: Maran Ha-Rav Kook.
Q: Is it permissible to read Tehillim at night?
A: Some are strict, but the basic Halachah is that it is permissible.
Q: Is it permissible to wrap parashah sheets in two plastic bags and throw them in the garbage?
A: No, they will be crushed up and mixed with the garbage in the garbage truck.
Q: Is it permissible to throw away a immodest piece of clothing or is it "Bal Tashchit" (wanton destruction)?
A: It is permissible. "Bal Tashchit" is only when destroying something for no reason.
Q: Is it permissible to charge my cell phone is a public socket?
A: Yes, it is a negligible amount and they will forgive it.