Shut SMS #109

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

Learning and Nursing

Q: Is it permissible for a woman to learn Torah while nursing?

A: Yes.

Q: What about saying Tehillim?

A: Also permissible.

Hitting Back

Q: If my friend is hitting me, can I hit him back or is it a violation of not taking revenge?

A: It is permissible, since it is immediate and for self-protection. Sefer Ha-Chinuch #338.

Besmirching Rabbis

Q: The media is constantly besmirching Rabbis by using partial, incorrect quotes. Should we respond?

A: Ignore it. A response garners a response. And truth is the way of Torah.

Cohain who Kills in War

Q: If a Cohain serving in Tzahal kills someone in war, can he still recite the Bircat Cohanim (since someone who kills another person may not do so)?

A: Yes. Since he has killed defending the Nation and Land of Israel, he is exactly the right person to bestow a blessing upon us. Ha-Rav Ovadiah Yosef in Shut Yechaveh Daat (2:14. Shut She'eilat Shlomo 3:61. Unlike Ha-Rav Yosef Soloveitchik who held that just as King David was unable to build the Temple on account of his participation in war, so too a Cohain who kills in war is no longer able to recite the Bircat Cohanim. Nefesh Ha-Rav, p. 132).


Q: When did the laws of Muktze begin?

A: At the Giving of the Torah. Aruch Ha-Shulchan, Orach Chaim 308:4.

Why so many Mitzvot?

Q: Why is there a need for so many Mitzvot to merit Israel? Wouldn't only a few be enough? Please provide sources.

A: In order that one will completely and with self-sacrifice fulfill at least one Mitzvah. Rambam, commentary on the Mishnah, end of Makkot. Maharal, Derech Chaim, end of Avot. Sefer Ha-Ikarim 3:29.


Q: Should we take revenge after a terrorist attack?

A: Certainly, through Tzahal.

Transition Lenses on Shabbat

Q: It is permissible on Shabbat to wear glasses which turn into sunglasses when exposed to the sun?

A: Yes. This is not the type of coloring the Torah forbade. Furthermore, it is temporary as well as indirect (Shemirat Shabbat Ke-Hilchata 18:18 note #70).

Woman Wearing Pants

Q: Is it true that Ha-Rav Ovadiah Yosef permitted a woman to wear pants?

A: G-d forbid. He merely stated that pants are not as bad as a mini-skirt (Shut Yabia Omer vol. 6 Yoreh Deah #14).

Dog-Food on Pesach

Q: What should one do on Pesach with dog-food which is Chametz?

A: It should be included in the sale of


Q: Is it permissible to feed it to him outside of the house?

A: No. It is forbidden to own it, see it or derive any benefit from it.

Shemoneh Esrei Out-loud

Q: Is it permissible to daven Shemoneh Esrei out-loud?

A: If you are by yourself (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 582:9).

Minyan on a Bus

Q: Is it permissible to have a Minyan for Minchah on a bus, if we will otherwise miss the time to daven?

A: If it does not bother the other passengers. The same applies on a train or airplane (Ha-Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, Penini Halachah p. 124).

Donating Blood on a Fast Day

Q: It is a fast day and there is a blood drive, but one has to drink after donating blood. Should I donate or fast?

A: Fast. We do not perform Mitzvot through transgressions. Donate another time.

Davening in the Wrong Direction

Q: After I finished davening Shemoneh Esrei, I realized that I did not daven towards Jerusalem?

A: After the fact, you fulfilled your obligation (Be'er Heitev #94. Shut Meishiv Davar 1:10. Shut Teshuvot VeHanhagot 1:79).

"Shiluach Ha-Ken" (Shooing away a mother bird)

Q: There is a bird's nest. But if I fulfill the Mitzvah of shooing away the mother bird, I will have conscience pangs. What should I do?

A: 1. This Mitzvah only applies when the nest is in an abandoned field and not on private property. 2. It is only when the mother bird is there, and not the father, which doesn’t occur often. 3. According to many authorities, it is only when one wants to use the eggs. If not, there is no Mitzvah, and it is "Tza'ar Ba'alei Chaim" - causing animals pain (Shut She'eilat Shlomo 1:391).