Shut SMS #95

Ha-Rav answers hundreds of text message questions a week. Some appear in the parashah sheets "Ma'ayanei Ha-Yeshu'ah," "Be-Ahavah U-Be-Emunah" and "Olam Ha-Katan." Here's a sample:
Training for Blessings
Q: At what age should one be particular about his children reciting blessings?
A: As early as possible, although each case is different.

Shehechiyanu
Q: Should a boy recite Shehechiyanu the first time he puts on Tefillin?
A: Yes. The same applies to the first time any Mitzvah is performed (Shut Orach Mishpat 268-269).

Honoring In-Laws
Q: Is there an obligation to honor one's father- and mother-in-law?
A: Yes. But not to the same degree as parents (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 240:24).

Garbage
Q: Is it a Mitzvah or a proper custom to pick up garbage outside?
A: Proper custom.

Drinking
Q: It is permissible to drink alcohol?
A: Only a bit and only for adults – because of the prohibition against getting drunk.

Dating
Q: Should I continue dating a young woman who once transgressed with a boyfriend?
A: If she repented, her transgression is erased (Rambam, Teshuvah 2:1).
Q: But if I feel it is a stain?
A: This is your own issue. Yehoshua Bin Nun married Rachav.

Dating
Q: What should I check for in a young woman who was suggested to me, but her parents are divorced?
A: If she has proper character traits, the same as in the case of any young woman.

Dating a Secular Man
Q: I am dating a secular young man. Will I be able to change him into a religious person?
A: This is a big gamble. Chances are that you will not be able to do so. You should therefore stop dating him.

Guarding One's Tongue
Q: At the Shabbat table, everyone speaks Lashon Ha-Ra about all the things that happened during the week. All my pleas to stop do not help. What should I do?
A: Leave quietly.

Switching a Ketubah
Q: A Rabbi suggested to my wife that she should change her name and switch our Ketubah in order to solve our marital problems. Is it proper to act this way?
A: Changes such as these do not help in these matters. Rather you should turn to a marriage counselor. We also do not switch a Ketubah at will.

Internet
Q: When I completely cease using the internet, after stumbling so many times, how can I attain atonement when, according to the Rambam, true atonement is attained through being in the same situation and overcoming one's evil inclination?
A: The ultimate atonement is that you completely ceased using it. Fortunate are you!

Eating at a Wedding
Q: We came to a wedding to check out the band. Is it permissible to eat at the buffet?
A: Certainly not. It does not belong to the band but to the people having the wedding.

Marriage of Two Women
Q: Is there a Torah prohibition for two women to get married?
A: Yes. Shulchan Aruch, Even Ha-Ezer 20:2. Sources there.

Temple Mount
Q: Is it permissible to enter the Temple Mount?
A: No. There are signs posted by the Chief Rabbinate which say that it is completely forbidden.

Abandoning Faith
Q: How should relate to a son who abandoned the Mitzvot?
A: With love. If Yitzchak loved Esav, you should love your son all the more so.
Q: A spouse?
A: Same as above.

Charedim
Q: How should we relate to the Charedim who do not serve in the army, avoid paying taxes, and do not believe in the State of Israel?
A: Focus on their positives: Torah, Mitzvot, fear of Heaven, and proper character traits. Do not sign up for the "Committee to Find Blemishes Among Others," but, rather, look for blemishes among yourself.