Shut SMS #131

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

Birkat Ha-Gomel for a Baby
Q: Our baby was saved from death. Should we recite "Ha-Gomel" for him?
A: No. He is not in the category of "Those who are obligated". Piskei Teshuvot 219:9. You should give Tzedakah.

Q: What does abracadabra mean?
A: Nothing. It is a made-up imaginary word. Some says that it comes from the Aramaic: "Avra Ka Davra" – meaning, "It should be created as I said".

Shiduch during Divorce
Q: I am going through a divorce. Can I begin to meet women for a Shiduch?
A: G-d forbid. You must wait until the divorce is completely finalized. In the meantime, the yoke of the Cherem of Rabbenu Gershon (which forbids divorcing a woman against her will) lays upon your neck. Shut Ezrat Cohain #62.

Mixed-Seating Wedding
Q: Is it permissible to have a mixed-seating wedding? After all, most of the community does so. Is everyone mistaken?
A: Yes. To our great distress, they are mistaken. See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 149:1. And also 152:8.

Q: How do I know if a decision I made is correct?
A: Check if it is in accordance with the Torah. Take counsel with friends.

Wedding Ring of a Widower
Q: My husband died. As a widow, should I still wear my wedding ring?
A: You can continue or cease to do so. It is your own personal choice.

Round Chupa
Q: Is it permissible to have a round Chupa?
A: Yes.

Egg Implantation
Q: I learned that if a woman is unable to become pregnant, some authorities allow the implantation of her egg in another woman. In such a case, who is considered the mother?
A: There are four opinions: The donor, the one who is pregnant and gives birth, both of them, neither of them. The bottom line, however, is that the woman who donates the egg is extremely joyful to have a baby.

Abominable Snowman
Q: I heard that remnants of a huge, pre-historic creature, half man and half ape, have been found and photographed. Is this true?
A: It is all a joke that was initiated by a man named Wallace who loved pranks. The existence of this "creature"(also called Bigfoot or Yeti) has been disproven by scientific research. It's all nonsense.

Playing Instrument on Shabbat
Q: Is it permissible on Shabbat for someone to make music from the rubber bands on his (teeth) braces?
A: No. It is also included in the prohibition against make music on Shabbat.

G-d in Feminine and Masculine Language
Q: Why do we sometimes refer to Hashem in our prayers in feminine language and otherstimes in the masculine?
A: Because the Master of the Universe is above feminine and masculine, and sometimes reveals Himself as a Father and sometimes as a Mother.

Cell Phone on the Bus
Q: Someone is sleeping next to me on the bus. Is it permissible for me to talk on my cell phone?
A: Yes. Quietly. In any event, one must always speak softly there and in any public area in order not to bother others, and to prevent them from having access to your personal life.