Shut SMS #76

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:
Teacher
Q: Is it permissible to tell the administration about a teacher who seems unfit when it might cause him to lose his job?
A: It is permissible; the teacher is there for the students and not the students for the teacher – but you must provide the full picture.

Cutting
Q: Is it permissible to cut a line if everyone is doing it?
A: It is forbidden. The transgression of many does not make it permissible.

Bad Things for Good People
Q: Why does Hashem allow a woman to be killed in a car accident leaving orphans?
A: The Prophets asked why bad things happen to righteous people, but not in a text message. It is difficult to understand how a person wants to clarify such deep questions in a text message.

Hypnotism
Q: Is it permissible to use hypnotism for medical treatments or is it nonsense?
A: It has value as an addition to treatment, but only by a person who has legal permission to do so.

Holocaust
Q: Why did Hashem abandon us during the Holocaust?
A: It is spitting in the face of six million Jews to discuss this in a text message. You can call me or look in my book "Orot Mei-Ofel."

Koran
Q: If Mohammed was a monotheist, it is therefore permissible for me to read the Koran.
A: Monotheism is truly a great achievement, but it is not enough. Mohammed organized a giant slaughter of Jews, and then forced the widows and orphans to convert to Islam. The Koran is full of insults to the Nation of Israel, and denies the eternity of the Torah. It therefore should not be read.

An Oath not to Smoke
Q: If a person takes an oath not to smoke, can it be annulled?
A: No, since it is forbidden to smoke according to the Torah (See Shut Aseh Lecha Rav 2:1).

Lying to Help Someone Repent
Q: Is it permissible to lie to a secular Jew with the goal of helping him repent?
A: No, this is not the way. The Torah is the Torah of truth. It is similar to a salesman selling a damaged item and deceiving the buyer. The Torah is the most supreme good (see Eder Ha-Yakar of Maran Ha-Rav Kook).

Returning an Item
Q: There is a new law which allows one to receive his money back when returning an item. Is it permissible to buy something with the intention to return it?
A: G-d forbid. It is deception and theft.

Gog and Magog
Q: Someone told me from a trustworthy source that the war of Gog and Magog is coming soon.
A: Statements such as these mean nothing. It is forbidden to calculate the End of Days. Rambam, Melachim 12:2.

The Soul of a Non-Jew
Q: Does a non-Jew possess a Divine soul?
A: Certainly, beloved is man who was created in the Divine Image. Pirkei Avot 3:14. Tosafot Yom Tov and Tiferet Yisrael ibid.

Army
Q: How is it possible that there are Rabbis who say that one should not be drafted into Tzahal? Isn't it part of the Torah?
A: It is indeed not understandable (Me-Chayil El Chayil vol. 1 p. 168).

Abandoned Fruit
Q: If I am walking through an orchard, it is permissible to pick fruit?
A: It is certainly forbidden. And it is permissible to take what is lying on the ground only if you are positive that the owner will not gather it.

Stealing from a non-Jew
Q: It is permissible to steal from a non-Jew by downloading a song or game from the Internet?
A: Stealing from a non-Jew is forbidden (Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 348:2).
Q: But the majority of people do it?
A: It still remains theft and one who is caught will be punished.

Kashrut Mistake
Q: I fried a milchig food in a flesichig pan which had not been used the previous 24 hours. What is the status of the food and the pan?
A: The food is Kosher and the pan must be koshered. It can be immersed in boiling hot water.

Cheese and Fish
Q: Is it permissible to eat cheese with fish?
A: It is permissible, but some people are strict. Shut Yechaveh Da'at 6:48.