Shut SMS #56

Ha-Rav 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: Does one always have to follow the same Rabbi?
A: No, but the principle of "Get yourself a Rabbi" is a supreme concept in the service of Hashem.
Q: Is it permissible for a child to wear Tzitzit when they always get filthy?
A: No problem.
Q: Until what point of the day can one say Birchot Ha-Shachar?
A: After the fact, until sundown.
Q: Is it permissible to recite blessings and davening while barefoot?
A: Blessings - yes. Davening – no, one must stand as before a king.
Q: Why do we remove a tattoo from the deceased?
A: We do not.
Q: Does a towel need Tzitzit since we wrap ourselves in it?
A: No, it is not a garment.
Q: What is the path for becoming great in Torah learning?
A: There is no need to invent a way. Learning in a Yeshiva is the way to become a Torah scholar. See Tosafot Ketubot 63a. The only condition is to have the will. Rambam, Talmud Torah 3:1.
Q: Before long Iran will have a nuclear weapon and that will be the end. I wonder if it is worthwhile to bring more children into the world?
A: Nonsense. There is not going to be any end. May Hashem bless you with many children.
Q: Should I visit my parents or talk to them on the telephone if they always speak Lashon Ha-Ra?
A: Certainly. And if they begin to speak Lashon Ha-Rav humbly veer the conversation in a different direction.
Q: Why can't I say "Death to Arabs"? I hate them.
A: You can say "Death to terrorists," but not all Arabs are terrorists or support them.
Q: If I am in the army and someone turns on the light in a room on Shabbat, may I enter?
A: It is permissible. Do not intentionally benefit from the light, but you do not have to close your eyes. It is a benefit which comes to a person against his will. Pesachim 25.
Q: Is it permissible to read the Koran or the New Testament?
A: Koran – no, it is heresy. New Testament – No, it is idol worship.
Q: Should one stand for an elderly or important woman?
A: One who is 70 or older, a Torah scholar or the wife of a Torah scholar.
Q: How could those who went to save Nachshon Waxman have been killed, may Hashem avenge their blood, when "Harm will not befall one on the way to perform a mitzvah?"
A: Our Sages told us that when there is a frequent danger there is a chance that one may be harmed. Pesachim 8b. By the way, this applies to all the wars of Israel and I do not understand why you did not ask about them.
Q: Is it good to travel to Poland?
A: It is not. A. It is forbidden to leave Israel. B. It is providing a livelihood to murderers.
Q: Is there a "segulah" (spiritual act that yields a given outcome) to find a spouse?
A: Repentance, prayer and Tzedakah.
Q: Which takes precedence – paying back a loan or Tzedakah?
A: Paying a loan since we do not give Tzedakah on someone else's account.
Q: If my wife is not home, should I light Shabbat candles?
A: Yes, with a blessing. It is an obligation on the household.