Shut SMS #70

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:
Standing for one's Rabbi
Q: Do I have to stand when I speak to my Rabbi on the phone?
A: One is not obligated to do so, but it is proper (Ha-Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach would stand when he spoke on the phone with Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein – Chicho Mamtakim vol. 2 p. 34. And we also heard that Ha-Rav Shimon Schwab – after he was more-or-less confined to a wheelchair because of his knees – would stand when he spoke on the phone with Ha-Rav Shach, and Ha-Rav Ahaon Kotler would stand when speaking on the phone with the Skverer Rebbe).

Pre-Historic Man
Q: How should we relate to the discoveries of pre-historic man which precede the date we give to Adam?
A: Adam Ha-Rishon is the first person created with the image of G-d. Shemoneh Kevatzim of Maran Ha-Rav Kook 1, 594.

Health Insurance
Q: Isn't having health insurance a lack of trust in Hashem?
A: No. Trust in Hashem is to trust Hashem in something He promised. Hashem never promised that you would not get sick. The book "Ha-Maspik Le-Ovdei Hashem of Rabbenu Avraham ben Ha-Rambam. Sha'ar Ha-Bitachon (Shut Igrot Moshe, Orach Chaim 2:111. Shut Yechaveh Da'at 3:85).

Netilat Yadayim
Q: If I am only able to wash one hand for Netilat Yadayim because of a medical problem with my hand, do I recite a blessing?
A: Yes, and wrap the ill hand. See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 162:10. And recite the blessing in the plural "Al Netilat Yadayim (hands)" as usual. Kaf Ha-Chaim 4:2.

Hiding a Fact
Q: Is it permissible to say that we do not know the gender of the fetus so that people do not bug us about us?
A: Yes, just as it is permissible to conceal that a woman is pregnant (Yevamot 65b).

Calling-Off an Engagement
Q: I called off my engagement because I discovered serious issues which my fiance hid from me. He has not forgiven me. I was told that if he does not forgive me, it will cause me NOT get engaged again.
A: 1. This will not block a future match. 2. He needs to ask your forgiveness for deceiving you. 3. You acted strictly by asking his forgiveness. May Hashem bless you.

Moshe Rabbenu
Q: How did Moshe Rabbenu manage to learn Torah when he went to live in Pharoah's house as a baby?
A: He went when we are 12 years old. Shemot Rabbah 5:2.

Clinking Glasses
Q: Should one clink glasses together when saying "Le-Chaim"?
A: It is "Chukot Ha-Goyim" – imitating non-Jewish practices (Shut Mesaver Tov 2:79).

Talkbacks
Q: Is it permissible to read talkbacks on the internet?
A: It is best not to have the internet at all. If one nonetheless does have the internet, he should greatly distance himself from talkbacks since they are full of Lashon Ha-Ra, insults, lies, etc.

Torah or Eretz Yisrael
Q: Which is preferable – Torah or Eretz Yisrael?
A: There are circumstances in which Hashem decides to send us into Exile in order for us to strengthen ourselves in Torah.