Shut SMS #65

Rabbi 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:
Women and Talit
Q: Is it permissible for a woman to wear a Talit?
A: It is forbidden. 1. Because of "Yehura" (religious arrogance). Even if she is known for her piety, there is another issue. 2. It is forbidden for a woman to wear men's clothing, and a Talit is uniquely male clothing (see Shut Igrot Moshe Orach Chaim 4:49).

No Lifeguard
Q: It is permissible to go up to your waist in the water where there is no lifeguard?
A: It is forbidden, since sometimes a strong current can pull one in (Shut She'eilat Shlomo 1:473).

The Name "Rachel"
Q: I have a lot of troubles and people tell me that it is because of my name: Rachel. Should I change it?
A: It is a wonderful name. Do not change it (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 335:10).

Messiah in Tel Aviv
Q: Is the Messiah really in Tel Aviv?
A: Nonsense. See Rambam Hilchot Melachim 11:4 for the criteria to be the Messiah.

The President of Israel
Q: How should we relate to the President to the State of Israel who is nothing and has done nothing?
A: You are nothing and have done nothing. The President is a lot of things and if he only had the merit of developing Israel’s nuclear bomb, he would be worth it (Rambam, Hilchot Teshuvah 3:1).

Waiting 3 Hours
Q: Is there a source for the custom to wait three hours between eating meat and milk?
A: It is a German custom, a stricture on the position mentioned by the Rama (Yoreh Deah 89:1. See Rabbenu Yerucham in Isur Ve-Heter #39).

Electric Shabbat Candles
Q: Is it permissible to light an electric "candle" for Shabbat candles?
A: Yes. Piskei Teshuvot (263:2).

Reincarnation
Q: Is the belief in reincarnation a true belief?
A: It is a dispute among the Rishonim. The Zohar says that it is true (vol. 1 186b and vol. 2 98b). But the Arizal says that it is not to be understood in its literal sense (Sha'ar Ha-Gilgulim of Rabbi Chaim Vital. See Sefer Ha-Ikarim of Rabbi Yosef Albo and Emunot Ve-Deot of Sa'adia Gaon).

Mother's Milk
Q: Is a mother's milk dairy?
A: It is parve (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 87:4).

Honoring Parents
Q: How do I relate to my father after he called me garbage?
A: Patience. Humility (see Shulchan Aruch Yorwh Deah 240:8).

Stealing from a Hotel
Q: Is it permissible to take towels from a hotel since everyone does it?
A; G-d forbid. Just because everyone does something does not make it right.
Q: What about the small soap and shampoo?
A: This is allowed.

Mezuzah with Glue
Q: Is it permissible to put up a Mezuzah with glue?
A: Yes, if it is strong. Shut Yechaveh Daat (6:58).

Prayer
Q: What right do we have to ask things from Hashem?
A: Every right, but not as demands, rather as petitions.

Sport
Q: Is there any value to playing sports?
A: What is necessary for the body's health (see Orot Ha-Techiya chap. 34).

Shehechiyanu on a Uniform
Q: I am volunteering for the police and received a uniform, which brings me great joy. Can I recite the Shehechiyanu?
A: Absolutely (see Mi-Chayil El Chayil vol. 1 p. 320).

Hebrew Pronunciation
Q: What is the most precise pronunciation of Hebrew?
A: We do not know. Everyone should follow the tradition of their ancestors (see Shut Igrot Moshe Orach Chaim 3:5).

Unclean Dreams
Q: I am having many inappropriate dreams despite the fact that I have improved in not looking at women. Why is this happening? What should I do?
A: A known phenomenon. The evil inclination is feeling beaten by you and it is fighting for its life. Crush him (Mesillat Yesharim, chap. 11).