Shut SMS #89

Ha-Rav 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:
Ha-Rav Meir Kahane
Q: I saw that there was a comparison between the views of Kahane and the Nazi abomination. Is this true?
A: Not all severe errors or lack of morality is Nazism, G-d forbidden. And you should call him: Ha-Rav Kahane.
Q: Why does Ha-Rav hold that Ha-Rav Kahane severely erred and had a lack of morality?
A: I did not write that Rav Kahane had a lack of morality but that part of his view contained a lack of morality. It is permissible to argue with the view of a Torah scholar but this does not permit one to say that the Torah scholar himself is immoral. Rav Kahane was a righteous man, who displayed self-sacrifice for the Nation of Israel and was murdered for the sanctification of Hashem's Name. But there are a few difficulties with his view. A big difficulty is relating to secular Jews as Hellenists, and thus removing the Mitzvah of "Love your fellow as yourself." This is a severe error and lack of morality, i.e. in relation to how to treat another Jew. Obviously, this is no way lessens his positive attributes and the positive parts of outlook.

Calling a Jew: "Nazi"
Q: What is the difference between a soldier who expelled Jews from Gush Katif and a Nazi?
A: Someone asked this a week ago about Ha-Rav Kahane. And someone once called Tzahal: "Judeo-Nazis." And someone once referred to Ashkenazic Jews "AshkeNAZIS," We therefore want to make it clear once and for all that it is forbidden to call a Jew a "Nazi." Someone who calls his fellow "wicked" will have his livelihood negatively affected (Kiddushin 28a. Rashi, Tosafot and Ri Ha-Zaken ibid.). Our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah, harshly scorned people who called a Jew "wicked," but he never even imagined that they would called him a "Nazi" (see Sichot Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah – Shemot, p. 45).

Pregnant Woman in Cemetery
Q: Is it permissible for a pregnant woman to attend a memorial in a cemetery?
A: There is no prohibition according to the basic Halachah, unless you have a custom not to do so (Nita'ei Gavriel – Avelut 84:4. See Shut Minchat Yitzchak 10:42 #2).

Q: Why do women have to dress modestly just because men can't control themselves?
A: A person must be modest when he is home alone, in the dark, even if he is a man, because of the honor of Hashem. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 3:1.

Cohain in Ma'arat Ha-Machpelah
Q: Is it permissible for a Cohain to enter Ma'arat Ha-Machpelah?
A: It is a dispute. Maran Ha-Rav Kook (who was a Cohain) did not enter (Shut She'eilat Shlomo 3:328).

Dairy Equipment
Q: If pareve food was cooked in a dairy pan, it is permissible to eat if after a fleishchig meal?
A: Yes (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 95:3).

Red Light
Q: Is it permissible for a pedestrian to cross the street against a red light?
A: It is forbidden, and it is also life-threatening (Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 379:6. See Shut Chatam Sofer vol. 5 Choshen Mishpat #44).

Studying Religions
Q: I am a teacher and the curriculum calls for me to teach about Christianity and Islam. Is it permissible?
A: Teach what Judaism says about Christianity and Islam.

Nursery School
Q: How does one choose a nursery school?
A: Three criteria in this order: 1. A teacher who is motherly. 2. G-d-fearing. 3. Can help the child develop different skills.

Washing Dishes on Shabbat
Q: Is it permissible to washing dishes on Shabbat if there are other clean ones?
A: It is permissible if a person wants to eat off of those particular dishes (Shut Shevet Ha-Levi 5:39. Ha-Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky in Emet Le-Yaakov 323:6).

Q: Is a person obligated to remove a tattoo?
A: One is not obligated. It is appropriate to cover it with a piece of clothing (Shut Le-Horot Natab 8:72. Shut Revivot Ephraim 8:306. Shut Minchat Yitzchak 3:11).

Fish and Chesse
Q: It is permissible for a Sefardi to eat fish and cheese together?
A: Some are strict to refrain, but it is permissible according to the basic Halachah. Shut Yechaveh Da'at (6:48).

Davening with a Minyan
Q: Is it preferable to daven with a Minyan even though I am tired and do not have proper Kavana or to daven on my own with proper Kavana?
A: With a Minyan, because the advantages of davening with a Minyan are greater than the personal advantages of proper Kavana (end of the book "Chafetz Chaim").

A: Does Ha-Rav hold that there cannot be another Exile, and the State of Israel will last forever?
A: It will certainly last forever. But it is possible that there will be complications and withdrawals. Maran Ha-Rav Kook wrote about this.

Satmar Shul
Q: If I cannot find another minyan, is it permissible to daven in a Satmar shul, who are against the State of Israel?
A: Yes. Do not excommunicate people.

Bottle with Torah
Q: Is it permissible to throw out in the garbage a bottle which says; "Do not open on Shabbat"?
A: Some are strict, but it is permissible, since it is not for Torah learning but rather an instruction without reasons, and it is also designed to last for only one use (Shut Zekan Aharon 2:70 and Halichot Shlomo – Tefillah chap. 20 note 72. Ha-Rav Avigdor Neventzal, however, wrote in Be-Yitzchak Yikarei on the Shulchan Aruch 154:3 that the instructions printed on a bottle, such as do not open on Shabbat, should be placed in a Geniza).

Shaking a Woman's Hand
Q: If a woman puts out her hand to shake mine, it is permissible to shake it so as not to embarrass her?
A: No. We should not embarrass anyone, but here she is causing herself embarrassment. Ha-Rav Ovadia Yosef declined to shake hands with Prime Minister Golda Meir. And Rav Mordechai Eliyahu did not shake hands with the Queen of England. In both cases, apologies were issued to the Rabbis that very night. In fact, one should take into consideration the feelings of the one who observes the Torah (Shut She'eilat Shlomo 4:298. See Blog Maaleh of 25 Marcheshvan).

Burning Disks
Q: Is it permissible to burn a disk with songs that I got from different places?
A: Yes, but you have to pay for each of the songs. There is a way to do this (Shut She'eilat Shlomo 3:463).