Shut SMS #126

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

Ramadan Sale
Q: Is it permissible to sign up for a Ramadan sale with my cell phone company?
A: Certainly not. Islam denies our faith and claims that the Torah has been nullified. Do not flatter it.

Musician in Mourning
Q: I am in mourning and am a musician. What should I do?
A: It is permissible to perform for one’s livelihood. Nitei Gavriel (Avelut vol. 2 14:5).

Q: Is it permissible to vote for an anti-Semitic party outside of Israel so that the situation will be bad for the Jews there and cause them to make Aliyah?
A: G-d forbid. We need to be concerned for the well-being of our brothers. At the same time, we should encourage them to make Aliyah.

Unworthy Cohain
Q: I am a Cohain and do not feel worthy to recite Birkat Cohanim. Should I still say it?
A: Certainly. You are not the one blessing, Hashem is. You are the agent in order for the blessing to come into the world. “And place My Name on Bnei Yisrael and I will bless them” (see Rambam, Hilchot Nesiyat Kapayim 15:6).

Yichud in an Elevator
Q: Is there a prohibition of Yichud in an elevator?
A: No. Sha’arim Metzuyanim Ba-Halachah (152:6. Shut Mishneh Halachot 4:187).

Trip outside of Israel
Q: It is permissible to take a trip outside of Israel to rejuvenate?
A: No. Rambam, Hilchot Melachim 5:9. Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim #531. One should rejuvenate in our Land.

Levi'im in War
Q: Did the Levi'im participate in the war of conquering Eretz Yisrael in the time of Yehoshua Bin Nun? (Rambam, at the end of Shemitah and Yovel)
A: They participated. In the Laws of War of the Rambam, there is absolutely no exemption for them (Ha-Rav Tanenbaum, who was the secretary of the Va'ad Ha-Yeshivot in Israel, heard this from Ha-Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer. Shut She'eilat Shlomo 1:368).

Q: Why didn't the Rabbis establish a fast day for the Holocaust?
A: It is included in Tisha Be-Av with all of the other tragedies of the Exile.

Kever Yosef
Q: Is Tzahal required to save Jews who sneak into Kever Yosef without permission? After all, they endanger themselves (and Tzahal).
A: Yes. One should have mercy on our confused brothers.

"Ad Meah Ve-Esrim" (May you live until 120 years old!)
Q: What is the source of the blessing "Ad Meah Ve-Esrim"?
A: There is no source. On the contrary, there are those who are against saying it, since it is as if we are limiting one's life, and Torah does not say there is a limit (see the book "Meged Givot Olam", p. 100, and the book "Aleinu Le-Shabei'ach" - Devarim vol. 1, p. 732.) But one may say it since it is merely an expression (It is related in the above books that towards the end of Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein's life, he was physically weak and needed an aide. New York State was willing to cover the cost, but he was required to fill out a form which included a question about how long he expected the aide to be needed. Ha-Rav Feinstein, who was then 90 years old, could have written that he expected it to continue for not more than another 30 years. But he refused to fill in the form, even though it resulted in a major financial loss. He was not willing in any manner to write a time which hinted at his end, even though he was already quite elderly).

Weight-loss Pills
Q: Is it permissible to take weight-loss pills?
A: Yes. There is no halachic problem. But beware, since almost all of them are fakes.

Which Shul is Preferable
Q: Is it preferable to daven in a Shul which recites the Prayer for the State of Israel and for Tzahal but davens quickly and late, or a Charedi Shul which davens slowly and early?
A: Charedi. Better davening takes precedence.

Male Hair Stylist
Q: Is it permissible for a woman to have her hair cut by a male hair stylist?
A: It is forbidden. Unlike a doctor, the hair stylist is involved in her beauty (it is permissible for a woman to go to a male doctor since he is involved in his work and not her beauty).

Q: I am going on a Shidduch with a young man who inclines towards Chasidut and I incline towards Rav Kook. Should I continue?
A: Yes. It is the same religion.

Inducing Labor
Q: Is it permissible to induce labor?
A: Yes, if a doctor instructs you to do so.
Q: This doesn't have an effect on the child's soul?
A: It is Hashem's will that the birth be hastened by doctors (Shut Igrot Moshe, Yoreh Deah 2:74. Ha-Rav Ovadiah Yosef in Taharat HaBayit, p. 59. Shut Shevet Ha-Levy 6:228).