Shut SMS #75

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:
Joint Minyan
Q: We live in a small settlement. Is it preferable to have separate minyanim for Ashkenazim and Sefardim or a joint minyan?
A: One joint minyan. Communal. Together!

Blackening Tefillin
Q: Do I need special color to blacken my Tefillin straps?
A: It is possible with a regular magic marker since they are synthetic. The same goes for the boxes (Piskei Teshuvot 43 #4).

New Car
Q: My wife and I bought a new car. What blessing do we recite?
A: "Ha-Tov Ve-Ha-Meitiv" (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 222:1).

Mixed Swimming
Q: Is it permissible for a woman to swim in a mixed pool if she is dressed modestly?
A: G-d forbid.

Dating Doubt
Q: I have met a young woman a few times, and everything seems good, but I am concerned that maybe it is a mistake. What should I do?
A: Take counsel, face-to-face with someone who knows you personally.

Cell Phone on Shabbat
Q: Is it permissible to carry a cell phone on Shabbat in order to tell the time?
A: No, it is Muktzeh, since its main function is forbidden.

Christian Book
Q: What should I do with a Christian book I received which is full of Torah verses?
A: Throw it in the garbage. It possesses no holiness (Shut Igrot Moshe, Yoreh Deah #172).

Honoring one's Father
Q: I was angry with my father in front of my son. How do I repair it?
A: Ask forgiveness in front of your son or tell him about it.

Torah Scholars
Q: Who was greater - the Lubavitcher Rebbe or Ha-Gaon Ha-Rav Avraham Shapira?
A: Each one in his own way.
Q: Can you specify?
A: The greatness of Torah is not a subject for a text message.

Shidduch
Q: Does one need to tell a young man that the young woman he is getting set up with is heavy?
A: No. This lacks any importance (see Kehilot Yaakov, Yevamot #38).

Modesty
Q: It is important to dress modestly when we are home alone in the house?
A: Yes, also in the dark, because Hashem fills the entire world with His Honor.