Shut SMS #123

Ha-Rav answers hundreds of text message questions a day! Here's a sample:
Cohanim Visiting Kever Rashbi
Q: Is it permissible for Cohanim to enter Kever Rashbi?
A: No (see Kum Hithalech Ba-Aretz, chap. 36).

Washing Clothes for Shabbat during the Nine Days
Q: Is it permissible to wash clothing for Shabbat during the Nine Days?
A: Only if you do not have Shabbat clothing.

Trouble in the Holy Land
Q: Why do we have so many troubles in our Land? What is Hashem trying to tell us?
A: We actually have very few troubles. On the contrary. Hashem is revealing that He is redeeming us.

Cleaning the Yeshiva
Q: Can I be forced to wash the yeshiva when it causes "Bitul Torah" (taking time from learning Torah)?
A: This is necessary so that the yeshivah will be clean. The Rosh Yeshiva decides. If it bothers you, you can change Yeshivot.

Buying an Air Conditioner during the Three Weeks
Q: Is it permissible to buy an air conditioner during the Three Weeks?
A: Yes, if it is necessary. You should try to do so before Rosh Chodesh Av.

Gadol Ha-Dor
Q: I know that we do not need to compare, but nonetheless, who is greater: Rav Kook, the Baba Sali, the Ben Ish Chai or the Lubavitcher Rebbe?
A: It depends on who you ask.

Ankle Bracelet for Boys
Q: Is it permissible for a boy to wear a bracelet on his ankle?
A: It is forbidden on account of the prohibition "Lo Yilbash" (not to dress as a woman), since it is feminine.

Chumash with Rashi
Q: Which book should I take with me everywhere I go, and learn it whenever I have a free moment?
A: Chumash with Rashi. See Zechor Le-Miriam of the Chafetz Chaim #21.

The Cross in Chess
Q: Should one remove the cross from the king in Chess?
A: One is not obligated to do so since it is merely decorative. Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 141:1. But it is proper to do so (see Chochmat Adam 85:1. Shut Zera Emet 2:45. Shut She'eilat Shlomo 1:326. A related issue: Ha-Rav Chaim David Ha-Levi rules in Shut Aseh Lecha Rav [5:21] that there is no problem with using the plus sign in math since it is not even a decorative cross, and the prevailing custom is to use it).

Q: Is it permissible to go on a Kosher Cruise?
A: If there is no Shabbat desecration and it is not outside of Israel.

White or Red Wine at a Wedding
Q: Is there an obligation to use red wine at the Chupah, or is it permissible to use white?
A: It is permissible to use white, and it is even preferable, since it will not stain the bride's dress if it spills.

Sacrificing One's Life to Save Another Person
Q: Is it permissible for one to sacrifice his life to save another person (not in the army)?
A: One's own life takes precedence over the life of another person. Baba Metzia 62. But Maran Ha-Rav Kook was in doubt whether this is obligatory or optional, and if one can forfeit his life for another. Shut Mishpat Cohain #144 ot 15. And Mahar"i Chagiz writes that while it is optional, it is difficult to conceive of one forfeiting one's life and leaving his fellow to live with the distress of knowing that another died in his place. Hilchot Ketanot 1:229. And Rabbi Yehudah Ha-Chasid says that if one person is a non-Torah scholar and the second is a Torah scholar, it is a Mitzvah for the non-Torah scholar to say: Kill me and not my fellow, just as Rabbi Reuven Atzterobli said that he should be killed in Rabbi Akiva's stead, since many people needed Rabbi Akiva. Sefer Chasidim #698.

Cohanim in Yad Vashem
Q: Is it permissible for Cohanim to enter Yad Vashem, since there are ashes of victims there?
A: Ashes do not impart impurity (Shut Be-Mareh Ha-Bazek 5:105. See Shut Chelkat Yaakov Yoreh Deah #217).

Quiet in Shul
Q: Is it permissible to asked people who are talking in shul and disturbing others to be quiet?
A: Yes, if the Rabbi agrees.
Q: If there is no Rabbi?
A: Then it is permissible.

Gel for Boys
Q: Can a boy put gel in his hair when his hair is messy and difficult to keep neat?
A: It is permissible to put only the minimum required so it will not be messy.

Beautiful Match
Q: I am looking for a match who is really beautiful and I cannot free myself from this. What should I do?
A: You must know "Grace is false and beauty is vain" and beauty is fleeing. There is not love because of beauty, but on the contrary, there is beauty because of love.