Shut SMS #137

Ha-Rav answers hundreds of text message questions a day! Here's a sample:
Prophesying the Future
Q: I saw a report that someone prophesied about future events, such as the collapse of America. Is it possible that this is true?
A: Nonsense. Prophecy ceased. Baba Batra 14.

Fasting
Q: What is the source for the idea that fasting erases a third of a person’s transgressions?
A: There is no source.

Overweight Woman
Q: Why am I ugly because I am overweight? It is sad. Everyone laughs at me. I was rejected by Shiduchim more than once on account of my weight. Now I am married, but my mother-in-law told me that I am shockingly ugly. After a few children, I am even more overweight. Why are overweight people doomed to be sad and considered not pretty?
A: Where does it say in the Torah that someone who is overweight is not pretty? The men who were not interested in you for this reason are stupid, and are captives of Hollywood fashion. The greater painters Rembrandt and Rubens saw immense beauty in overweight women, and painted them in wondrous light. In your husband’s eyes, you are the most beautiful woman in the world- otherwise he would not have married you. A thin woman does not possess any advantage over an overweight woman! None! Overweight is also beautiful.

Wigs
Q: Is it permissible for a woman to wear a wig?
A: Some forbid it, and others permit it on condition that it is simple and modest - not like the wigs worn today (Shut She’eilat Shlomo 1:442, 3:416).

Seating at Wedding
Q: Should there be separate seating for men and women at a wedding?
A: Yes. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 149:1.

Pregnant Woman in Cemetery
Q: What is the source for pregnant women refraining from entering a cemetery?
A: Sefer Ma'avar Yabok. But the accepted Halachah is that she is permitted to enter (Neta'ai Gavriel – Avelut 84:4. Shut Minchat Yitzchak 10:42 #2).

Communal Struggles
Q: Is there justification for destroying the possessions of left-wing activists?
A: The main principle of communal struggles, and life in general, is that we do not fulfill a Mitzvah through a transgression. Violence, insults and hatred are transgressions.

Scuba Diving
Q: Is it permissible to participate in a scuba diving course in Eilat?
A: Yes, on condition that it is modest and not dangerous.

Tank
Q: Does one recite Tefilat Ha-Derech for traveling in a tank?
A: Yes. There is danger in traveling even a short distance.

Tzahal Uniform
Q: Based on the law that one must daven in clothing that one would wear when standing before a king, is it permissible to daven in a Tzahal uniform?
A: Certainly. This may be the most honorable clothing we have. And see Shut Avnei Yespeh 8:29 #5 (It is related that at the time of his wedding, Ha-Rav Shear Yashuv Cohain [current Chief Rabbi of Haifa] was serving as a Rabbi in the Army, and came to his wedding in Yerushalayim wearing his Tzahal uniform. Some people there did not look upon this positively. Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Ha-Cohain Kook was surprised by their reactions, "Wearing the clothing of a Russian nobleman - this is appropriate?! But wearing the uniform of Tzeva Haganah Le-Yisrael - the Israel Defense Force - this is not appropriate?!"
Tal Chermon – Moadim, p. 135).

Pollard
Q: After the release of Gild Schalit, I do not understand why the Americans do not release Jonathan Pollard.
A: It is indeed not understandable. They have been committing a travesty for 26 years. We must pray that in the end he will be released.

Bald
Q: Is it permissible for one to shave his head bald?
A: Yes, except for his Pe'ot which he must leave a length of 5 millimeters.

Ahavat Yisrael
Q: Why doesn't the Shulchan Aruch quote the Mitzvah of "Love your fellow as yourself"?
A: He does not bring things which are simple and known. But the Magen Avraham quotes it in chap. 156.

Prophecies
Q: How can we explain that there are all kinds of mystical people who prophesy about future events that really do occur?
A: They only say approximately what will occur and not exactly. See Rambam, Hilchot Yesodei Ha-Torah 10:3.

Imitation
Q: Is it permissible to imitate a person's voice?
A: On condition that you are positive that he will not be offended.

Children in Shul
Q: Where is it written in the Shulchan Aruch that one should not bring disruptive children to Shul?
A: Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 98. Mishnah Berurah #3.