Shut SMS #78

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:
Date with a Person who has a Problematic Parent
Q: Is it permissible to go on a date for the purpose of marriage with a young man whose father is in jail?
A: I cannot answer since I am biased. I have one grandfather who married the daughter of a thief and another grandfather who married the daughter of a murderer. This is not Lashon Ha-Ra since everyone knows them: The first is Yitzchak Avinu and the second is Yaakov Avinu. What fault does the young man bear and what is his sin? One must be judged on his own merit (see Kehilot Yaakov, Yevamot #38).

Mitzvot on the Moon
Q: How should an astronaut determine the proper times to daven on the moon?
A: Based on the location from which he departed (see "Adam Al Ha-Yare'ach" by Ha-Rav M.M. Kasher).

Gush Katif Museum
Q: Should one visit the Gush Katif Museum?
A: Yes, making sure to guard his Ahavat Yisrael (love of every Jew).

Birthday
Q: It is my birthday today. What mission should I take upon myself for the coming year?
A: Torah – finish learning a book. Kindness – for someone or other people.

Failure to Pay Taxes
Q: On account of cheaper competitor who do not pay taxes, my clients are leaving and I cannot manage to make a living. What should I do?
A: Inform your clients that it is forbidden to avoid paying taxes. If this does not help, tell the authorities what the businesses are doing.

Aliens
Q: I heard that it is written in the Gemara that there are three stars which have aliens living on them. What is the source?
A: There is no such Gemara and no other source.

Fasting on Wedding Day
Q: Does a bride need to fast on her wedding day?
A: An Ashkenazi bride, unless she is weak (Aruch Ha-Shulchan, Even Ha-Ezer 61:21).

Tachanun
Q: Is a father on the day of his son's birth exempt from Tachanun?
A: No.

Aiding a Shabbat Desecrator
Q: Is it permissible for me to arrange an urgent doctor's appointment for someone who needs a doctor's clearance to participate in a sporting competition on Shabbat?
A: It is forbidden to aid someone desecrating Shabbat.

Swimming on Shabbat
Q: Is it permissible to enter the water on Shabbat without swimming?
A: No, the decree includes this as well (Shut Igrot Moshe, Even Ha-Ezer 2:13).

Solider on a Bus
Q: Is it permissible for a soldier to ride the bus in his uniform when he is on a break from the army, since he can ride for free?
A: On condition that he has a military document which gives him this privilege (see Shut She'eilat Shlomo 4:29).

Honoring Parents
Q: My family wanted me to participate in a Bar-B-Q and I want to learn Torah.
A: In this matter, learning Torah is greater than honoring father and mother. Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 240:25.

The Zohar
Q: In my yeshiva, they began classes in learning the Zohar. Should I participate?
A: Absolutely not, the Zohar is for unique individuals – great Torah scholars (Shach, Yoreh Deah 240:6).

Socks
Q: Is it permissible to wear sandals without socks?
A: It is permissible but it is preferable to wear socks (Shut She'eilat Shlomo 3:322-323).

Unconscious Husband
Q: My husband is unconscious in the hospital resulting from a car accident. Is it permissible for me to rub cream on him or perform other treatments when I am in Niddah, since if I do not, the family will say that I am neglecting him?
A: It is forbidden since it is not a life-saving treatment, unless you take pills which indefinitely postpone your period.

Painting the Mechitza in Shul
Q: Is it permissible to paint the Mechitza in Shul or must we do so outside?
A: It is permissible since it is for the Shul itself.

A Lecture by a Woman
Q: I have to attend a lecture by a woman. How should I act?
A: Do not look at her, but listen and take notes.

Internet
Q: It is worthwhile to get the internet to listen to Torah classes? We don't have any children at home.
A: One's gain is offset by his loss. It is full of filth and nonsense.

Rabbi's Picture
Q: Does one need to place a Rabbi's picture in the Geniza? Is it permissible to use a newspaper which contains a Rabbi's picture for cleaning purposes?
A: There is no obligation to place it in a Geniza. It is permissible to use it to clean but not for disgusting cleaning.