Shut SMS #130

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

Cemetery before Wedding
Q: What is the source behind the custom of going to the cemetery before a wedding and inviting one's relatives who have passed away?
A: The source is the Zohar (Parashat Balak and Pinchas), where it is said that ancestors in the World-to-Come participate in their descendants' joyous occasions. And this is the custom of many people (Nita'ei Gavriel – Nissuim 4:7. And the Gerrer Rebbe, the "Imrei Emet", told his son to visit the Kotel and Kever Rachel before his wedding).

Measurements of Ha-Rav Chaim Na'eh and the Chazon Ish
Q: How do we rule in the dispute regarding the halakhic measurements between Ha-Rav Chaim Na'eh and the Chazon Ish (for example, the size of a "kezayit")? Who is greater?
A: It makes no difference. Ha-Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv was asked: how could Ha-Rav Na'eh argue with the Chazon Ish? He answered that the measurements of Ha-Rav Na'eh were practiced earlier and it was the Chazon Ish who argued against them. The book Yashiv Moshe p. 130 (see Noda Ba-Shiurim p. 271).

[Ha-Rav] Kahane was Right!
Q: Isn't there an infringement on the honor of a Torah scholar by using the expression: "Kahane was right" instead of "Ha-Rav Kahane was right"?
A: People mean the concept "Kahane", but one should certainly say: Ha-Rav Kahane.

Maran Ha-Rav Kook
Q: How did it happen that in his time, Maran Ha-Rav Kook was greatly respected by almost every great Torah scholar, while today most Charedi Rabbis ignore this fact?
A: This is not understandable. Patience.

Women getting Married
Q: I heard that it is permissible for women marry one another. Is this correct?
A: Incorrect. It is a Torah prohibition. Shulchan Aruch, Even Ha-Ezer 20:2.

Non-Kosher Smell
Q: Is it permissible for me to work in an office which is above a non-Kosher restaurant whose smells come through the windows?
A: Yes. The smell is not forbidden. It is a benefit which comes to a person against his will. Pesachim 25.

Jerusalem's Light-Rail
Q: Should one recite Shehechiyanu over Jerusalem's new light-rail?
A: Yes, if you are happy about it, and it is good news for you.

Mechitza in Shul
Q: Does the Mechitza in a Shul have to be constructed in a way so that the men and women cannot see one another?
A: Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein ruled in Shut Igrot Moshe (Orach Chaim 1:39) that in a pressing situation, it was sufficient to prevent intermingling between men and women and it was therefore permissible to have a Mechitza with a height of only 18 Tefachim. But Hungarian Rabbis ruled that it is forbidden for men to see the women and we should not change the custom as practiced for generations. And this is the ruling found in Shut Tzitz Eliezer (7:8), that the basic Halachah follows the Rambam in his commentary to the Mishnah in Sukkah: that it is forbid for the men to see the women. This is also the ruling of Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah (Regarding this issue, it is told that Ha-Gaon Rav Moshe Feinstein ztz"l once issued a ruling regarding the height of a mechitzah between men and women in a shul, stating that in pressing situations it is permissible to be lenient. The Satmar Rebbe came out against him. Our Rabbi Ha-Rav Tvzi Yehudah said: "It is known that our paths are separate and different, but in this issue he (the Satmar Rebbe) is correct." The book Rabbenu p. 122).

Hebrew Pronunciation during Prayer
Q: May one use modern Hebrew pronunciation during prayer?
A: Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah rules that one should use the custom of his forefathers: Ashkenazi, Sefardi, Yemenite, etc. But if one is accustomed to using an Israeli accent, and will not concentrate properly if he uses his forefathers' accent, he should choose proper concentration (Techumin vol. 3, p. 388).

Q: Is it true that it is forbidden to pass a knife from hand to hand?
A: Not true.

Q: Who is more important – a Druze who lives in Israel and serves in Tzahal, or a Charedi who does not see any importance in Eretz Yisrael?
A: Certainly, the Charedi. Have you forgotten what Am Yisrael is?! And there is no Charedi who does not see the importance of Eretz Yisrael.

Charedi Philosophy
Q: Is the Charedi Philosophy against the Torah?
A: Certainly not. But it is lacking.

Life-Threatening Situation
Q: I am always afraid. People are being murdered all the time…
A: People are not being murdered all the time, G-d forbid, and one should not lack gratitude to Hashem. According to a report of the World Health Organization, 8 out of 100,000 Israeli citizens are murdered each year. 15 out of 100,000 citizens of France are murdered per year, and 25 out of 100,000 Americans. Therefore, thank Hashem.

Meat in Braces
Q: I have braces on my teeth. Pieces of meats sometimes get stuck in them and I cannot get them out. Is it permissible for me nevertheless to eat a dairy meal after I ate meat and waited six hours?
A: It is permissible. One of the reasons we wait six hours is because there may be meat between one's teeth and after six hours it is no longer considered meat. There is no difference.

Books in a Store
Q: Is it permissible to read books in a store for a little while if I do not intend to buy them?
A: Certainly not. Book stores are not designed for this purpose.