Shut SMS #64

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner 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: Is it permissible to buy from Arabs if the price is much less inexpensive?
A: There are those who permit it – obviously, with the condition that they pay taxes (Shut She’eilat Shlomo 2:264).
Q: How do we relate to the Gemara in Bechorot (8) which discusses a fish which is half human?
A: It does not say that it exists, but what would theoretically be the law (see Netivot Olam, Netiv Ha-Torah, Netiv 14. And the book “Be’er Ha-Golah”).
Q: I am meeting a young man, and he claims that we can have sexual contact if I go to the Mikveh?
A: Immediate break off contact with this disgusting person, and inform the person who set you up (Shut Ha-Rivash #225).
Q: Is it permissible to take money from parents? It is somewhat uncomfortable.
A: It is permissible under two conditions: 1. It is not a financial burden on them. 2. They give it with a full heart.
Q: My mother asked me to help her with something, and my father told me not to help. What should I do?
A: Help. If one’s father tells him to perform a transgression, he should not obey (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 240:15).
Q: There is a man at work who has feelings for me and says all types of things to me. What should I do?
A: Put him in his place in a clear manner: Do not speak to me in this way (Sefer Ha-Chinuch, mitzvah 338).
Q: Which is preferable – to pray without proper concentration or not to pray at all?
A: Even prayer without proper concentration has incredible value (Shut Ha-Rashba 1:423).
Q: How do I know Hashem loves me?
A: The blessing recited before the Shema Shacharit and Ma'ariv.
Q: What verse does one say if he lost an object?
A: There is none (see Sefer Ta’amei Ha-Minhagim p. 564 in the footnotes).
Q: Is it permissible to erase Hashem’s Name from a computer screen or a cell phone?
A: Yes. This is not the type of writing discussed by the Torah (Shut Igrot Moshe Yoreh Deah 1:173. Shut She’eilat Shlomo 4:237).
Q: Is it permissible to chew gum while learning Gemara?
A: If it is required so that you do not fall asleep. You should therefore ask the Rosh Yeshiva (see Berachot 20).
Q: Is it preferable to give money to Tzedakah or to use it to travel to the Kotel?
A: Tzedakah. It is a definite mitzvah (Shabbat 156a).
Q: Rashi states that he comes to explain the simple meaning of the text. Why then does he quote Midrashim?
A: He explains that he brings Midrashim which explain the simple meaning (Rashi on Bereshit 3:8).
Q: Is it permissible for the State of Israel to receive donations from non-Jews?
A: We are not a Nation of Shnorrers or a country of beggars (Sanhedrim 26b with Rashi).
Q: It is permissible for a girl to learning parachuting with a male guide?
A: No, it is immodest.
Q: And it is permissible for a boy?
A: No, it is an unnecessary risk for pleasure. Such a risk is only allowed for a mitzvah or livelihood. It is obviously permissible in the army (Pitchei Teshuvah Yoreh Deah 157).
Q: Is it proper to take out life insurance?
A: Very much so (Shut Igrot Moshe Orach Chaim 2:111 and Shut Yechaveh Daat 3:85).
Q: Is it obligatory to wash "Mayim Achronim"?
A: If one's hands are not clean (Shut She'eilat Shlomo 1:111).