Shut SMS #106

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner answers hundreds of text messages questions a day! Here's a sample:

Dying Animal
Q: If an animal is seriously injured and is suffering, is it permissible to put it to sleep?
A: Yes. It is recommended because of "Tza'ar Ba'alei Chaim" – preventing an animal from suffering.

Perfume for Men
Q: Is it permissible for a man to put on cologne?
A: Yes, in moderation. Especially if it is to remove a bad smell.

The word "Gosh"
Q: My mother made Aliyah from America and sometimes uses the word "Gosh". Is this a problem because of the prohibition of mentioning names connected to idol worship?
A: It seems that this is an expression of surprise, with no connection to idol worship. It is also not connected to [the word] “G-d”.

Public Display of Affection
Q: Is it permissible for a couple to display physical affection in public?
A: No. Shulchan Aruch. And also Kitzur Shulchan Aruch of Ha-Rav Shlomo Ganzfried 152:11.

False Report
Q: I provide care for an elderly man. Is it permissible for him to report that I worked more hours than I actually did so that I can earn more money?
A: Certainly not. This is a false report and also theft.

Motza'ei Shabbat
Q: I feel depressed every Motza'ei Shabbat. What should I do?
A: This is a known phenomenon that results from the departure of the extra soul one receives on Shabbat. You should have Melave Malka with Zemirot and read Mesilat Yesharim.

Social Workers' Strike
Q: Is it permissible for social workers to strike when it may negatively affect children for whom they care?
A: Yes. It is a present loss in return for a future gain. For situations involving children at risk, there is a special committee to continue helping them.

Hotel Soap
Q: Is it permissible to take soap which is left over in our hotel room?
A: Yes, it is a present for the guest.

Educating Parents
Q: I have tried many times to explain to my parents the importance of answering Amen to my blessings, but they stubbornly insist that I should not bother them. What should I do?
A: Do not try to educate your parents.

Modeh or Modah
Q: When reciting "Modeh" upon waking in the morning, should a woman say "Modeh Ani" (like men) or "Modah Ani" (specific to women)?
A: Modah.

Arabs in Israel
Q: How do we solve the problem of the Arabs in Israel?
A: We need to strengthen our own conviction that this is our Land. Then the Arabs will make their own decisions. The loyal citizens will remain and the rest will leave.

Relating to Arabs
Q: How should we relate to an Arab who is definitely free of sin?
A: Do not hate. Treat with politeness, respect and humanity.

Hating Arabs
Q: Is it permissible to hate Arabs?
A: One may hate only evil Arabs.

Ultra-Orthodox and the Army
Q: How can we understand the fact that the Ultra-Orthodox do not go to the army?
A: This is truly difficult to understand. Have patience, they will slowly go to serve.

Wife and Parents
Q: I am torn between my wife and my parents. What should I do?
A: You and your wife are one being. Decide together what to do.

Obligatory War (Milchemet Mitzvah)
Q: Are the wars of Israel at this time considered obligatory wars?
A: Yes. 1. According to the Rambam, they protect Israel from its enemies. Defensive War. 2. According to the Ramban, they are to conquer the Land. War of Independence (see the book "Am Ve-Artzo").

Kippa
Q: I feel more connected to Hashem when I wear a really small Kippa.
A: The Halachah requires a larger Kippa. One should not bend the Halachah to suit feelings of connectedness, but rather should bend themselves to the Halachah and the Torah, since the Torah is etched in your soul (and this is the true source of your connection).
Q: Then why do I sometimes feel better when I sin?
A: It is not you who feels better, but the evil inclination within you.

Dispute
Q: If Moshe received the Torah at Sinai, then there is one truth. Why then are there so many disputes in Judaism?
A: Hashem told Moshe Rabbenu many reasons to rule one way and many reasons to rule a different way. Yerushalami. And also Tosafot Shantz, beginning of Eduyot.