Shut SMS #63

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: My health clinic recommends that I receive immunization against Swine Flu. As is known, there is a lack of information regarding the side effects, and there are doctors who oppose it.
A: Nonsense. Besides a few, all of the doctors in Israel, as well as in Europe and America, recommend it, include the World Health Organization. And we follow the majority (see Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 618:1-4).
Q: Under what conditions is it permissible to use Homeopathic medicine?
A: Since it is not useful, only as a supplement and not a substitute (Shut She'eilat Shlomo 3:337).
Q: Is it permissible for a girl to daven in pants?
A: It is forbidden, but worse is not to daven at all. We do not say to a person who is transgressing to violate another mitzvah. Igeret Kiddush Hashem of the Rambam.
Q: Is it permissible to be a lawyer since the laws do not follow the Torah?
A: Yes. It is the way to help the exploited (She'al Na p. 148).
Q: Should a Brit Milah scheduled for Shabbat be postponed if the entire family will drive to get there?
A: It should be postponed. Yalkut Yosef (vol. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 260:171).
Q: Is it forbidden to use light drugs? What is the source?
A: There is no such thing as light drugs. They are all heavy, forbidden by the law, punishable by jail time, and forbidden according to the Halachah. Rambam, Deot chap. 4 (Shut Igrot Moshe Yoreh Deah 3:35).
Q: If I immerse in a mikveh every day will I merit life in the World to Come?
A: With repentance.
Q: Should I recite Shehechiyanu on new shoes?
A: Yes. But we do not say: "You should wear them out and get new ones" (Rama Orach Chaim 223:6).
Q: We met with the purpose of getting married and we acted inappropriately. What should we do?
A: Only meet in public places where there are many people.
Q: Is it permissible to write on my hand as a reminder to do something, or is it considered a tattoo?
A: It is permissible. It is not deep and it is temporary (Minchat Chinuch mitzvah 253).
Q: If a person overcomes his inclination and does not transgress, does he receive a reward?
A: Certainly. He sits and is not sinning… (see introduction to Sefer Ha-Chinuch. Introduction to Shelah).
Q: If a person eats and vomits is he obligated to recite Birchat Ha-Mazon?
A: No, only if he digests (Shut Har Tzvi Orach Chaim #163).
Q: If someone grows a beard during a period of mourning or the Three Weeks, can he continue to grow it afterwards?
A: Yes, there is no problem.
Q: Is it permissible to use a pocketknife with scissors on Shabbat?
A: Yes, it is one item. Shemirat Shabbat Ke-Hilchata (chap. 20).
Q: Must one refrain from touching his grandmother?
A: No. She is like a mother (Beit Shmuel on Even Ha-Ezer 21:14).
Q: Should I stay at a job which is not good for me?
A: Until you find another one (Rabbi Avraham ben Ha-Rambam, Ha-Maspik Le-Oved Hashem).
Q: Is it obligatory to give Maaser Kesafim?
A: It is obligatory based on a person's ability (Chafetz Chaim, end of Ahavat Chesed).
Q: Is it permissible for me to participate in a davening where women lead certain parts and read from the Torah, and if I do not attend people will be offended?
A: Certainly not. This will lend legitimacy. And they do not have a monopoly on being offended. They will be offended if you do not participate and you are offended by what they are doing. You therefore should not coerce them and they should not coerce you (Gittin 61a).
Q: My grandmother has a Philippine aide. Can she accompany her to shul?
A: Yes, but without wearing a cross (Shut Har Tzvi Orach Chaim 1:85. Shut She'eilat Shlomo 1:95).
Q: I do not believe that the Redemption will arrive today, since they are so many things to repair in the world, and when we fix them, it will arrive. Is this idea heretical?
A: The Redemption comes slowly and it has already begun. But a miracle is still possible (Be-Ahavah U-Be-Emunah vol. 1 p. 292).
Q: Is one required according to the Halachah to wear a seatbelt?
A: One is obligated according to the Halachah and the law (see Shut She'eilat Shlomo 2:414).
Q: But Hashem protects…
A: Hashem punishes those who are stupid. Mesilat Yesharim, chap. 9. This is a nonsensical – and dangerous – claim.