Shut SMS #112

Ha-Rav answers hundreds of text message questions a day! Here's a sample:

"Bibi" Netanyahu
Q: Is it permissible to refer to the Prime Minister by the nickname "Bibi", or does this infringe upon the honor of the ruling authority?
A: It is certainly forbidden. It is an infringement. One should refer to him as the "Prime Minister," or "Prime Minister Netanyahu," or "Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu" (Baba Metzia 58b. Tosafot on Megilah 27b. Al Diglo pp. 43-44).

Story of the Two Brothers
Q: What is the source of the story of the two brothers, one married and one single, who brought wheat back and forth for each other on the spot that became the Temple Mount?
A: It is of non-Jewish origins. See The Legends of the Jews by Louis Ginzberg.

Miriam's Well
Q: Is Miriam's Well located in the Kinneret?
A: Yes, but we do not know where. In order to locate something like this, one needs Ruach Ha-Kodesh (as the Arizal had), which we do not possess.

Q: Is it permissible, despite problems of immodesty, to go shopping at the mall (i.e. if one is not “hanging out” there)?
A: Yes, if this is the best place to go shopping. Just as it is permissible to walk in the street. Baba Batra 58.

Double Last Name
Q: After we get married, my fiancée wants our last name to include hers, because of her connection to her family.
A: There is no problem with this.

Bitter Mother
Q: I help my mother to the best of my ability but she always complains about me. How should I respond?
A: Accept the situation. This is great education for humility. Shemoneh Perakim of the Rambam, chap. 4.

Q: How can one overcome laziness?
A: Mesilat Yesharim chapters 6, 7, 8 & 9.

Meat and Milk for a Baby
Q: How long does a six-month-old baby have to wait between meat and a bottle of milk?
A: None at all. Give him what he needs, i.e. not milk chocolate (Shut Yabia Omer vol. 1 Yoreh Deah #4).

Ma'aser to My Mother
Q: Can I give my mother Ma'aser if she is in a difficult financial state?
A: Certainly. And even more money. Whatever she needs.

The Poor or a Yeshiva
Q: Is it preferable to donate Tzedaka to the poor or to a yeshiva?
A: It is a personal decision, since every yeshiva has poor students.

Tefillin at Minchah
Q: Can one put on Tefillin at Minchah?
A: The custom is not to do so.

Stealing from Arabs
Q: Is it permissible to steal from Arabs?
A: No. It is included in the Torah prohibition of theft. And even worse, it is a desecration of Hashem's Name (see Be'er Ha-Golah, Choshen Mishpat 348:1).

Swimming with Cousins
Q: Is it permissible for a girl to go swimming with her male cousins?
A: No. Men and women must keep a serious distance between them. And the law regarding a cousin is the same as for any other man. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 152:8-10.

Glue on Tzitzit
Q: Is it permissible to put glue on the end of the Tzitzit so they do not unravel?
A: It is permissible. Piskei Teshuvot 11:14 note #85.

Shiduch during Sefira
Q: Is it permissible to begin a Shiduch during Sefirat Ha-Omer?
A: Yes.

Engagement Party during Sefira
Q: Is it permissible to have an engagement party during Sefira?
A: Without dancing and music.

Wedding during Sefira
Q: When is it permissible to get married during Sefira?
A: Sefardim from the 34th day of the Sefira. Ashekenazim from Rosh Chodesh Sivan, and also on Yom Yerushalayim, and in pressing circumstances from Lag Ba-Omer.

Attending a Wedding during Sefira
Q: Is it permissible for me to go to a wedding during Sefira?
A: Yes. Whether the wedding is during the time you "mourn" or during the time when you do not "mourn", since it is the day of the groom and bride's joy, it is permissible for you to participate (Shut Igrot Moshe Orach Chaim 1:159).