Shut SMS #87

Q: I have occasionally looked at immodest images without my wife's knowledge. Do I have to ask her forgiveness?
A: No, since it will cause her distress, but you should repent (Rabbi Yisrael Salanter. See Chafetz Chaim, Hilchot Lashon Ha-Ra 4:12).

Harry Potter
Q: Is it permissible to read Harry Potter?
A: It is definitely not worthwhile since it contains a mixture of ridiculous ideas.

Q: Is there an obligation for Metzitzah at a Brit Milah or are there lenient opinions?
A: It is an obligation according to all opinions. See Shut Da'at Cohain (#140-142).

Convert saying "Who has not made me a non-Jew"
Q: Can a convert recite the blessing "…Who has not made me a non-Jew"?
A: Some authorities say that he should say: "Who has made me a convert." Rama, Orach Chaim 46:4. Some say that he should not recite the blessing at all. Others rules that he can recite "Who has not made me a non-Jew," since there was a spark of the holiness of Israel in his soul which caused him to convert. Nezirut Shimshon on Taz (Piskei Teshuvot 46:12).

Q: Does a miscarried fetus have a portion in the World to Come?
A: All Israel has a portion in the World to Come, unless someone who loses it, and a fetus has his portion since he did not lose it.

Reporting a Damage
Q: I saw a truck knock down a stop sign and just drive away. I wrote down the license plate number. Should I report it?
A: Yes, it is returning a lost object.

Q: I have a lot of problems and people say it is because my name is Rachel. Some I change it?
A: This is a wonderful name. Do not change it (see Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh 335:10. And when Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievski was asked this same question, he answered that this idea is nonsense, and the source for those who think this way is that the Chizkuni explains that Rachel could not have children because she lacked a letter "Hey" in her name. She therefore gave her maidservant "Bilhah" to Yaakov, since she had two letters "Hey" in her name, one for herself and one Rachel, but this is nonsense. Firstly, it is common place for women to have the name Rachel and they have children. Secondly, we see in the Gemara [Shabbat 154b, Bechorot 3b and elsewhere] the name "Rav Meri bar Rachel" and Rabbi Akiva's wife was Rachel [Avot De-Rebbe Natan chap. 6] – Derech Sichah vol. 1 p. 34).

Honoring Parents
Q: If my father is yelling at my mother, it is permissible for me to yell at him to honor her?
A: No, but speak to him afterwards in private and with humility (Shulchan, Yoreh Deah 240:11).

Q: Is it permissible to daven in a Chabad shul, where the people believe the Rebbe is the Messiah?
A: Certainly, they are G-d-fearing people. Please stop divisions and disputes.

Modesty in Swimming
Q: Is it permissible for young women who are fully-clothed to enter a spring where there are young men?
A: Certainly not. One must stay very, very far from such things. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 152:8.

Human Skin
Q: I accidentally swallowed a piece of skin from my lip. Do I have to wait six hours before eating dairy?
A: No, human skin is pareve. By the way, so is mother's milk.