Shut SMS #84

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:
Favorite Student
Q: I am a high school Rebbe. Is it proper if I love one student more than the others?
A: In your heart, it is okay. But not in practice.

Fallen Kippah
Q: What should I do if my Kippah falls off in the middle of Shemoneh Esrei?
A: Pick it up (Mishnah Berurah 104:2. Piskei Teshuvot ibid).

Q: Is giving Maaser a mitzvah or minhag?
A: Minhag, but it is an important minhag and one should accept it – without taking an oath (Tur Yoreh Deah 331. Pitchei Teshuvah ibid. #12. Shut She'eilat Yaavetz 1:6).

Non-Jewish Music
Q: Is there a problem to listen to non-Jewish music if one does not understand the words?
A: Yes. There must be kosher words, melody and singer (Commentary of the Rambam on Avot 1:17. Igeret Ha-Rambam to Sages of Aram Tzova, Mehdurat Ha-Rav Yitzchak Shilat p. 428. Shut Igrot Moshe, Even Ha-Ezer #96).

Bad in the World
Q: Why does Hashem cause bad things to happen to me, since as a result my mitzvah observance deteriorates?
A: Good comes from the bad, like a doctor who causes pain, and it is out of love. Overcome the trial!

Shemoneh Esrei
Q: Is it permissible to daven Shemoneh Esrei in a room where people are sleeping?
A: If there is no bad smell (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim #103).

Shidduch Suggestion
Q: If one suggests a possible match, does he have to inform the person that the prospect had cancer at the age of three?
A: If the person has been completely cured and the risk is now no greater than any other person – one should not inform them (Re'im Ahuvim chap. 6).

Which Parents?
Q: We were married three months ago. With which set of parents should we celebrate the first holidays?
A: Where you are happy.

Marrying a Ba'al Teshuvah
Q: Is there a problem to marry a Kibbutznik who is a Ba'al Teshuvah?
A: There is no problem. Being a Kibbutznik is not a deficiency. Regarding the past transgression, the repentance completely erased them. Rambam, Hilchot Teshuvah.

Q: Can a woman recite Hallel on the day on her wedding and on her wedding anniversary each year?
A: Certainly. Without a blessing. To express gratitude to Hashem.

Q: Is it permissible to recite Shehechiyanu for a new T-Shirt which will be used primarily for pajamas?
A: Yes, if you are happy (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 223:4).

Q: Is it possible to cook for guests, who only eat Glatt meat, in utensils which were used for non-Glatt Kosher meat?
A: Yes, but ask the guests first (Shut Yabia Omer Yoreh Deah 5:3).

Selling Transgressions
Q: Does it help to sell one's transgressions to a non-Jew?
A: Nonsense.

Q: I met a man, and he lied about his age because he was afraid to tell the truth. Should I continue to see him?
A: This is a shortcoming, but don't break it off. There is no one on earth free of transgression.

Standing in Line
Q: Can I ask my daughter to stand in line with an empty shopping cart while I collect the groceries and bring them?
A: This is also cutting the line.

Bad Dreams
Q: Since I have strengthened myself in purity, I am having unclean dreams. What should I do?
A: Our Sages explain that an evil person is shown a good dream and a righteous person is show a bad dream. Berachot 55b. Since an evil person follows his evil inclination, the good inclination therefore appears in a dream when he does not have a choice. And it is the exact opposite for a righteous person. Ain Aya of Maran Ha-Rav Kook ibid. Nonetheless, recite the Bedtime Shema with Kavana and do not eat a lot at night.

Crumbs and Grooms
Q: I am told that if I place crumbs from Melava Malka under my pillow, I will see my Beshert in a dream?
A: Nonsense

Shai Agnon
Q: Is it permissible to read Shai Agnon's books?
A: Some are appropriate and some are not.