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).

Cruise
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.

One's Duty to Immediately Report Child Abuse, at all Costs

Based on the recent discussions by Rabbinic organization in the US and Canada
regarding reporting child abuse, we saw fit to reprint this article:
One's Duty to Immediately Report Child Abuse, at all Costs

When children are battered, whether sexually or "just" physically, anyone who knows about it has to report it to the authorities. The child, after all, is helpless and has no defenses. According to Jewish law, the primary loyalty of anyone who knows what is happening must be to the battered child, and this duty is absolute. Allow me to add that from a legal standpoint, if the person who knows about it is a professional in an associated field, for example a social worker or psychologist, and he does not report it, he is liable to go to prison for half a year.

Cruelly hitting children is alien to the world of Jewish law. Our halachic authorities viewed the matter so gravely that Ha-Rav Ha-Gaon Yosef Shalom Elyashiv ruled that outside of Israel in the case of a battered child, one must assist the authorities to remove him from his home – even if the child will be moved to a non-Jewish family. The reason is that such treatment could threaten the child's life (see Shut Tzitz Eliezer 19:52 who discusses abused children in Israel and considers the abuser a "Rodef – pursuer" who must be stopped).

The desire not to report it in order to spare the perpetrator may derive from sincere motives, but one must first take pity on the helpless child. His fate comes before all else. In the Crisis Center for Religious Women, it is reported that there are more children who suffer from beatings and sexual abuse among the religious public than among the secular public. This is not because the religious are more violent, but because more often the religious public avoids reporting such incidents, and they make reports only when the matter go to extremes. Until then, the battered child suffers terrible harm.

It is important to note that there is only one situation in which one is exempt from reporting. If the perpetrator is aware of his problem, is willing to go for appropriate treatment, steadfastly shows up for treatment sessions, and the responsible authorities supervise this process, then the perpetrator is doing what he would be ordered to do anyway. In all other instances, without exception, there is an obligation to report abuse, and quickly. The child's fate depends on us.

I recall a story in which I was personally involved. Someone saw his neighbor kick his small daughter in the head when she was lying on the floor. The man hesitated about whether or not to report what had occurred, when it was clear that he would pay for his deed with a fight with the neighbor. I ruled that he was obligated to report it, and immediately. During the talk it became clear to me that the person asking the question was a social worker. I had trouble believing this and I asked him, "How can it be that you, as a social worker, would ask me such a question?"

He did report what he had seen, and as he feared, he got into a fight with his neighbor, as well as with much of the neighborhood in which he lived, since the violent father incited them against him. I heard about that and I talked to him. I told him, "It will all be worth it. Think about the fact that you saved a Jewish life."

I've Got a Name

[Be-Ahavah U-Be-Emunah – Matot 5771 – translated by R. Blumberg]

I've got a name. Or, more precisely, I had one. When I was a little girl, I had a name – Leah. As a teenager, as well, that was still my name. Then I got married. My husband affectionately called me Leah. Later on, he hated me, but he still called me Leah. After a long struggle, with the help Rabbis, I succeeded in getting divorced, much the worse for wear, but I still had my name -- Leah.
I get divorced at age 23, but I was so worn out that it felt like I was 30. When I received my get [divorce document], I radiated happiness before the judges, and I felt like I was 25. I said to myself, "Leah, you've been through the wringer, but you're still young. Your world is before you. With God's help you'll find a nice bridegroom, build a new Jewish home, and your future happiness will eclipse your past sorrow. Mazel Tov, Leah!
Yet I was so wrong! I fell into an even darker abyss than that of my awful marriage.
Why? Because previously I had suffered, but I had hope, and I waited for the morrow full of light. Yet now the horizon seems bleak.
You will certainly ask why. The answer is simple. I have no name. When I was a child, I read a story about an unfortunate man who lost his shadow. And I have lost my name. I am no longer Leah. I am no longer an occupational therapist. I am no longer my parent's daughter. I am no longer the graduate of a religious high school and a post-high school seminary. Instead, my entire personality has been consumed by a terrible black hole that is swallowing up everything: I am a divorcee.
All the fine young men to whom my name is suggested as a match listen appreciatively to all of my virtues, and when they hear the expression, "She is divorced," their faces turn somber, and they end the conversation coldly. This awful guillotine knows no mercy.
Rabbis have told me, "It’s very simple. Don't tell!" In other words, don't say it immediately, but when a bond is formed. That is what I've started doing, but now I face a new scenario. Everything is going great. There is chemistry. There is understanding. There is a bond. And then, after three or four dates, I get up the courage, and in a trembling voice I say, "I am divorced." Then my world turns dark before my eyes, and I add, "Ask the Rabbis. They will tell you all: that I don't have horns, that the divorce was not my fault, that I was a wonderful wife, that something was wrong with my former spouse, that I invested above and beyond to save the marriage, then I gave in on everything, really everything! But the end was unavoidable, because my life was hell. As the Hebrew saying goes: 'Better a terrible ending than for things to be terrible without end.' You can ask all the Rabbis in the world." The boy listens with lack of interest, with obvious boredom, and then he says with forced politeness: “I'll check."
And indeed he does check, and within several days I receive a laconic SMS: Not interested. Thanks.
I stop my crying and feel profound disappointment. Leah! Leah! I say to myself – for at least in my own eyes I’m still Leah – you are silly, you are naïve, you are innocent, you forgot that you're divorced. Get this deep into your thick skull: You are divorced! You thought Moshe, a wonderful boy, steeped in Torah, a lover of the Jewish People and of the Land of Israel, very God-fearing with fine character, would want you. Wake up! True, he’s full of the love of Israel -- but that only goes so far. Try to understand, Leah, you've got Rabbis, but so does he, and they said to him, "Why expose yourself to trouble?" I am trouble? I'm a great catch! That's true, but Leah dear, in our false world, you are used goods. You hear me? Used goods! That's it! I'm finished! I'm divorced! I'm used goods! So well-meaning souls with a smile full of mercy come to me with rickety proposals: one leg a little shorter, one arm a little longer, etc.
By the way, I have no trouble marrying a boy with a problem. He could very well be pure gold. But I am insulted that he is being offered to me just because I'm divorced. Apparently, he, too, is insulted that he is being offered a divorcee, just because one leg is shorter than the other and one arm is longer than the other. That, however, offers me no consolation.
But don't think that I've given up, that I am broken, that I'm depressed, that I've lost hope. No way! I haven't given up on my name! I'm Leah forever, with my character, with my positive traits, which make me a good wife and a good mother. I’m the same Leah with the fine traits that I always was. I haven't gone down in value just because I'm divorced. Quite the contrary, my stock has gone up. The crises have exalted me, refined me, strengthened me. Out of the pain, I have continued to grow. I am happier than ever. I go to singing classes and dance classes. I go to Torah lectures and do benevolent deeds. I am waiting for a boy on my level, looking and waiting. Nothing has changed. It's just harder. I know that a lot of boys are frightened off by the word divorcee. They should live and be well! I don't need them.
And anyway, I won't be able to marry a lot of boys -- I need just one. One boy who knows how to value a person according to what he really has, and not based on a tag stating his category. One boy who is open and genuine. One who is wise and happy. I will find him.
Mazel Tov, Leah!

Rabbis and Politics

Stories of Rabbenu – Our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Ha-Cohain Kook

When our Rabbi, was asked his opinion regarding the involvement of rabbis in politics, he answered as follows: "Rabbis are obligated by the Torah to involve themselves in politics, and if they refrain from doing so they are guilty of betrayal. It is written in the Torah: 'Do not fear any man!'" Once, when, as a result of the words of our Rabbi, a public commotion arose, and many claimed that rabbis should not deal
in politics, our Rabbi responded: "I am not asking anybody's permission. I am obligated by the Torah to proclaim and publicize that which is just and true. The political issues of the Community of Israel are themselves Torah. They are sacred."
Shemirat ha-lashon After the Yom Kippur War, during the time of "The War of Generals," our Rabbi warned Arik Sharon about guarding his tongue (Iturei Cohanim Elul 5766 #264 p. 48 in name of Rabbi Yitzchak Shilat).

Shut SMS #122

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

Kever Yosef
Q: Based on Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah #364, should we re-inter the bones of Yosef from Shechem out of a fear that the non-Jews will desecrate his grave?
A: We must have strength and courage and not fear.

Hashem's Name in a Language other than Hebrew
Q: Does Hashem's Name in a language other than Hebrew possess holiness?
A: According to most authorities it does not possess holiness, but it is still forbidden to act disrespectfully towards it (such as saying it in the bathroom). Mishnah Berurah 85:10. Furthermore, one should not write it in letters lest it be thrown in the garbage. Shut Achiezer 3:32 in the name of the Tumim.

Davening Out Loud
Q: If someone is davening loudly in shul and it is disturbing me, is it permissible for me to ask him to be quiet?
A: Yes, if it is out of the ordinary.

Intermarriage
Q: My cousin is marrying a non-Jew. He gave me a gift for my wedding. Is it permissible for me to give them a gift in return?
A: No. It is giving legitimacy. It is also forbidden to attend the wedding.

Immersing Utensils
Q: Why do we need to immerse utensils in a Mikveh?
A: In order to bring them into the holiness of Israel – it is a type of conversion. Ramban.

Amuka
Q: I am single. Is it a Segulah to travel to and daven at Amuka for a Shidduch?
A: The best way: Repentance, prayer and Tzedakah.

Tefillat Ha-Derech
Q: Instead of reciting Tefillat Ha-Derech, is it permissible to listen to a recording of it and respond "amen"?
A: No. One must hear it from one who is obligated to recite the blessing, and not from a machine.

Amulet
Q: Do amulets work?
A: Almost all amulets in our time are devoid of value.

First Year of Marriage
Q: I heard that during the first year of marriage it is forbidden to invite guests for Shabbat?
A: It is permissible, but do not over-do it.

Damaged Product
Q: Is it permissible to purposefully buy a damaged product in a supermarket in order to call the company and asked for compensation?
A: G-d forbid.

Danger in Hevron
Q: It is dangerous to be in Hevron?
A: No. It is a miniscule risk, and we may take a miniscule risk for the sake of a Mitzvah or for making a living.

Honoring One's Parents and Ma'arat Ha-Machpelah
Q: I am 15 and want to visit Ma'arat Ha-Machpelah but my parents do not allow it because of the security situation. Is it permissible to pressure them or should I just give in?
A: Try to convince them. If it is not possible, then go beyond the letter of the law…and give in.

Buddhism
Q: Is Buddhism idol worship?
A: Yes. It is idol worship and full of despair.

Halachah and Civil Law
Q: Which is greater – Halachah or civil law?
A: Halachah is greater, and it says to follow the law.

Chabad Parashah Sheet
Q: Is it permissible to throw a parashah sheet of the Messiahists of Chabad in the garbage?
A: No, there are words of Torah in it and it must be placed in a Geniza. In general, disagreeing with someone does not give us permission to shame them.

TV
Q: If one of my family members illegally connected a television to a cable, is it permissible for me to watch?
A: It is certainly forbidden. It is theft. In any case, TV is forbidden.

Money
Q: Does the money in the household belong only to the husband, or to the wife as well?
A: All of the money and property belongs to both of them, since she works - whether outside the house, inside the house or both. If a couple divorces, the Beit Din splits the money equally.

Masada
Q: Is what happened on Masada proper according to Halachah?
A: According to Ha-Rav Shlomo Goren – yes, and according to Ha-Rav Moshe Tzvi Neriya – no. Some historian claim that the whole story never occurred.

Parashat Matot: "You should be innocent before Hashem and Israel" (Bamidbar 32:22)

[Tal Chermon]

With this verse, the Torah teaches us an important principle: A person should not bring himself to be suspect. One should not say: "What do I care what people think of me?! I know what I am doing is honest!" Rather just as one must act in a proper way before Hashem, so too must one act in a proper way before human beings, in order to increase the sanctification of Hashem's Name in the world.
Here are a few example of this principle in action:
1. Abba Hoshiya was a launder by profession. His clothing was always made of one type of cotton and not a combination, so that people would not say that when he washed their clothing, he took little pieces of the material and made himself a garment (Yerushalayim, Baba Kama 10:10).
2. Beit Garmu (The family of Garmu) was responsible for baking the dough for the Lechem Panim in the Temple. The Rabbis praised them because they would not allow clean flour in their homes so that they would never be suspected of using the dough for their own sustenance, in fulfillment of the verse: "You should be innocent before Hashem and Israel" (Yoma 38a).
3. Beit Avtinas (The Family of Avtinas) was responsible for the incense in the Temple. The Rabbis praised them since whenever a women in their family was married, she would not wear perfume for the wedding, and if one of their men married a woman from another place, it was on condition that she would she not wear perfume, so that they would be above suspicion of using the incense for their own benefit, in fulfillment of the verse: "You should be innocent before Hashem and Israel" (ibid.).
4. The Midrash (Tanchuma, Pekudei) says that Moshe Rabbenu would give an accounting for every type of material received for the Mishkan: Gold, silver, copper, etc. He acted in this way to be above suspicion, even though it says (Melachim 2 12:16) "They did not require an accounting from those to whom they gave the money to pay the workers, because they acted with complete honesty." If Moshe Rabbenu acted this way, how much more so should we - a thousand times (Shelah)!

Waiting Betweem Meat and Milk

[Be-Ahavah U-Be-Emunah – Pinchas 5771 – translated by R. Blumberg]

Why do we have to wait six hours between meat and milk?
It is a Rabbinic decree. According to Rambam, even if meat remains between one’s teeth after six hours, and one then drinks milk, the meat is considered to have gone bad. Therefore, if he finds meat between his teeth after six hours, it does not prevent him from eating dairy. But if he chewed meat and spat it out, he must still wait six hours.
By contrast, according to Rashi, the reason is that one continues to taste a meaty taste from his stomach after eating meat. Therefore, even if he swallowed meat without chewing it, he must wait six hours (Tur and Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah #89).

What about just tasting something?
If someone tasted meat without chewing it and he spat it out, he needn’t wait six hours. After all, there is not meat between his teeth and no taste coming from his stomach.

If someone has fillings, false teeth or holes in his teeth, is that worse?
The same six-hour rule applies.

Must one wait six hours, or is a little less possible?
Some required only waiting into the sixth hour, but there is no clear source for that. All of our Rabbis’ time requirements are precise, as, for example, regarding the last moment you can recite the Shema or the Shemoneh Esrei. Yet if a person's Rabbi ruled that five hours is sufficient, one can follow his ruling. Likewise, if one has a precise, responsible tradition in his family that a Rabbi ruled that way for them, his family can hold to that tradition.

Can one wait less time after eating fowl (as opposed to red meat)?
It is true that the prohibition against eating fowl with milk is Rabbinic, and not from the Torah, but there is no source for being able to wait less time after fowl.

What is the law regarding a fleishig dish containing no actual meat? For example, what about fleishig soup without actual meat, or potatoes that were cooked with meat?
One must still wait six hours, because the taste is like the essence.

When does one start counting the six hours?
Some take the stricter view of starting the count from the end of the meal (Aruch Ha-Shulchan), but the law, based on the Talmud, is that we count from the moment one finishes eating the item in question.

Is there a source for the fact that Jews from Germany and Austria wait only three hours and Jews from Holland wait one hour?
This is the approach of Rama, Rabbi Moshe Isserles. The Talmud does not mention six hours. It only says that if one ate meat in a particular meal he should not consume dairy until his next meal. Rabbi Yitzchak Alfasi (Rif) explains that the intent is the next meal in accordance with the set conventions that people have. In other words, six hours between meals. Tosafot, however, explains that the intent is the next meal the person eats – whenever that is. In other words, if someone ate meat, he should recite the after-blessing, clear away the table, rinse his hands and mouth, and can then immediately eat dairy. In accordance with this, Rama ruled that one may eat meat after an hour. It's not immediate, but it is still after only one hour, and such is the practice of Dutch Jewry. Jews from Germany wait three hours, in other words, they chose a stricter version of the one-hour position, since anyway, Jews from there wait only three hours between meals. Yet apart from Jews from those places, all Jews - Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Yemenites and Ethiopians - have to wait six hours.

What does one do when husband and wife come from families with differing customs?
As in all such matters, the wife should follow her husband’s custom, whether in the direction of stricture or lenience. Some sources require “Hatarat Nedarim”, the absolution of a vow, but there is no need to take that strict view. It’s like the law regarding a person who moves permanently from one place to another: he takes upon himself all the customs of his new place, whether they are more strict or more lenient than his previous customs (Shut Igrot Moshe). The reason is to maintain harmony, since differing customs are liable to lead to tension and unpleasantness, as well as to difficulties in child rearing.

What about somebody who is ill?
If an ill person has to eat milk after meat, an hour’s wait suffices (Aruch Ha-Shulchan).

What about children?
A child before bar- or bat-mitzvah can eat dairy immediately without waiting, but he should be taught in accordance with his ability (see Shut Yechaveh Da’at). For example, if an infant only falls asleep if he has had a bottle of milk, and he has just eaten meat, he can be given milk. One should gradually lengthen the time span according to age, but legally one should give the maximum education possible in accordance with the child’s capacity.

Conversely, how long should one wait between milk and meat?
Nothing. It’s enough to wash one’s hands and to brush one’s teeth. Ashkenazim, however, wait six hours after “hard cheese”, which refers to very expensive cheeses with a very sharp taste. By contrast, after less expensive, common regular yellow cheese, there is no need to wait (Ha-Gaon Rav Ha-Shlomo Zalman Auerbach quoting the Chazon Ish).

Hebrew Date

Stories of Rabbenu – Our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Ha-Cohain Kook

"I received your letter with a date which I do not know or understand, since I am unfamiliar with the counting of time from the year of the birth of 'that sinner of Israel whom the non-Jews made into idol worship' [the words of my father, my teacher and my Rabbi, Ha-Rav Kook ztz"l in 'Igrot'], who practiced sorcery, enticed and led Israel astray (Sanhedrin 107), who caused Israel to be destroyed by the sword and its remnants scattered in humiliation, who exchanged the Torah and deceived the majority of the world to serve a god other than Hashem (Rambam, Hilchot Melachim chap. 11)" (Igrot Rabbenu from 24 Adar Rishon 5727).

Our Rabbi was particular that one should not write the Christian date, and when he was invited to a wedding and the Christian date appeared on the invitation, he would not attend the wedding (Gadol Shimushah p. 91 #31).

A rabbi of a community outside of Israel visited our Rabbi, and during the conversation our Rabbi asked about the date of a particular event. The guest answered with the date according to their count. Our Rabbi said: "Excuse me, I did not hear." He raised his voice and repeated his words. Our Rabbi again said to him: "I did not hear," and again a third time. On the fourth time the guest understood what our Rabbi did not hear, and he told him the Hebrew date. Our Rabbi heard and smiled, and the guest apologized.

Our Rabbi agreed to participate in an important ceremony on behalf of the Municipality of Jerusalem, but when he saw that only the Christian date and not the Hebrew date was on the announcement, he refused to attend, and all of the attempts to persuade him did not help.

When the ruling of Rav Ovadiah Yosef that there is no prohibition in using the Christian date and those who use it have what to rely on (Shut Yabia Omer vol. 3 Yoreh Deah #9) was publicized, our Rabbi expressed deep pain (see Le-Netivot Yisrael vol. 2 p. 239. From Shut Sheilat Shlomo 3:14).

He was amazed every time he saw a stamp on a letter in Israel which was marked with the date from the Creation of the World (Gadol Shimushah pg. 93 #34).

A student once read a printed sentence "the seventeenth century" and added: "May they be blotted out," and it got good laugh from our Rabbi (Iturei Coahnim #242 in the name of Ha-Rav Menachem Ha-Cohain).

Unconditional Love

A mother turned to me: "Our 16 year-old son acts irresponsibly. He ran away from home."
I asked her: "Are the lines of communication open between you and your son? Can he speaking freely with you?"
"No, he is mad at me."
"Can he communicate with your husband?"
"Also no."
"Is there someone in the family, he trusts?"
"No."
"Perhaps an uncle, a grandparent?"
"No."
"A neighbor?"
"No."
"A teacher?"
"No."
"A Rabbi?"
"No."
"If so, he is alone. He is lost."
In our huge world, a person must have at least two people who love him unconditionally. If the love is conditional, he feels threatened. It is impossible to say to a child: "Look, I love you today because you acted so nicely."
This is not true love. We must love him even if he does not act nicely. If he acts properly, we should certainly express our love and respect, but this is in addition to the unconditional love we must convey to him. Before all else, there must be this foundation: We love you in every situation. Even if he returns from school and he was rude to all the teachers, ripped the other students clothing and broke windows and tables – it does not matter, we must love him!

Shut SMS #121

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner answers hundreds of text message questions a day! Here's a sample:
Carnage on the Roads
Q: Wouldn't it be proper to establish public fasts and days of prayer for the carnage which occurs on Israeli roads? After all, Massechet Ta'anit says that we should do this in order to prevent tragedies from occurring.
A: We must keep things in perspective. We should certainly be very careful when driving, and remember that 300 people are killed every year from car accidents. But there are other things that are even more life-threatening: smoking kills 10,000 people a year (including 1,600 from second-hand smoke), and over-eating and eating unhealthy foods kills even more.

Wasted Time at Work
Q: I wasted time at work on various occasions. How can I make up for this?
A: Work extra hours when you can.

Basketball Player with a Kippah
Q: Isn't it a "Kiddush Hashem" (sanctification of Hashem's Name) to have a professional basketball player who wears a Kippah?
A: No. Kiddush Hashem is performing acts which have value. We do not establish what these acts are, rather Hashem establishes them, and they are explained in Hilchot Yesodei Ha-Torah of the Rambam, chap. 5.

Organic Food
Q: How much money should one spend on organic food in order to eat in a healthier way?
A: There have been about two hundred research studies on the topic of organic foods, and there is almost no evidence that they are healthier.
Q: But everyone says that they are healthier!
A: "Everyone saying" it is not scientific proof.

Computer Games
Q: Is it permissible to allow children to play computer games?
A: Yes, with the condition that the quantity and quality are limited: minimal time and kosher content.

Car Lights on Shabbat
Q: Should one point out to someone driving on Shabbat that his head lights are off?
A: Yes. Pikuach Nefesh (life threatening situation).

Keys on the Table
Q: My family has the custom not to put keys on the table since it will bring the evil eye. Is this true?
A: Nonsense.

Date of Death
Q: What should we do about observing a Yahrtzeit if we do not know the date of death?
A: Choose a date that is as closes as possible to the most probable date of death.

Disparaging Arabs
Q: I have seen young religious men singing "Death to Arabs." In my opinion this is a desecration of Hashem's Name. I therefore request that you object to this.
A: I have written about this many times, but seems from your comment that perhaps I should cease from doing so. Despite tens of articles and many objections on the radio, my message has not reached you. This is a sign that I am exerting effort in vain.

Dog
Q: When a dog approaches me in the street, I am stricken with terror. Is there a verse I can recite in order to overcome this fear?
A: Tehilim 22:21. "Save my soul…from the power of the dog."

Plucking your Eyebrows
Q: Is it permissible for a man whose eyebrows are attached to one another to pluck the hair in the middle to separate them?
A: It is forbidden because of "Lo Yilbash" (not dressing or acting like a woman). Removing something which is ugly is permissible, but enhancing beauty is forbidden.

Educating for Modesty
Q: At what age should a child be educated not to touch members of the opposite gender?
A: As in all areas, the age of education is 6.

Hitting Back
Q: Is it permissible for a child who is being hit at school by another student to hit him back?
A: Yes. Sefer Ha-Chinuch #338. But the school can establish a rule that one may not hit back, and should instead turn to a teacher to deal with such situations.

Cheating on Tests
Q: I often fail tests because I do not cheat. I would get a higher grade if I copied from others. It is possible that because of my integrity, I lose out?
A: The reward for a Mitzvah is not always in this world.

Trying on Shoes
Q: Is it permissible to try on shoes in a store to know the right size so that I can order them on the internet?
A: You should request permission in the store.

Project with Noodles
Q: Is it permissible to do a project with children in which we take noodles, color them, and make a necklace, or is it Bal Tashchit (wantonly destroying food)?
A: It is permissible. Bal Tashchit is destroying something when there is no need. Children playing and learning is considered a need (Shut She'eilat Shlomo 1:128).

Parashat Pinchas: Fix Yourself and Then Fix Others

[Tal Chermon, p. 448 based on the book "Nivi Zahav" of Ha-Rav Zev Gold]

When Maran Ha-Rav Kook visited America to raise money for the yeshivot in Eretz Yisrael and Europe, one of the Rabbis asked during a reception: Why isn't Ha-Rav more of a zealot? Maran Ha-Rav Kook answered at length, recalling a story about a great Torah scholar and ethical person: "He once came to his Rabbi and said that he wanted to perfect the world through the Almighty's kingdom. His Rabbi said to him: Go, my son, and may Hashem help you. He went and tried, but was unsuccessful. The world remained as it was. He came to his Rabbi a second time to lament the lack of blessing in his actions. His Rabbi asked him: My son, have you already spiritually repaired your country and your homeland that you are now concerned about repairing the entire world? He took the hint and attempted to fix his country. But he also failed; no one listened to his voice. He returned to his Rabbi and related his new failure. His Rabbi said to him: My son, have you spiritually repaired your city? Why should you begin with a whole country? This wise man listened to him and turned to repairing his city, but the residents of his city also do not obey him. His Rabbi said to him: My son, have you already fixed your household? He realized that he was correct, and so he attempted to repair the members of his household. But they also did not listen to him. When he returned to lament before his Rabbi, the Rabbi said: My son, perhaps you did not fix yourself. Go and worry – first and foremost – about your own soul. After you are certain that you have repaired everything, and that you have no blemishes at all – then the members of your household will see and learn from your ways, and they will be an example for the city, and the city for the country and the country for the entire world. This needs to be the path of a person who desires to spiritually repair others."

Number of children

Question: We have two boys and two girls. I want to continue to enlarge the family, but my wife does not. What is Ha-Rav's advice?
Answer: After you have a boy and girl, one should continue to have children, as it says: "In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand" (Kohelet 11:6 and Yevamot 62b). But we are not told how many children to have. The guiding principle is to have the most children possible based on one's ability – one's physical ability, one's emotional ability, and one's financial ability. One's ability is a personal decision. You cannot force your wife to have more children if she is somehow unable. This reminds me of the words of the Mesech Chochma on the mitzvah of "Be fruitful and multiply" (Bereshit 9:7). As is known, women are not obligated in this mitzvah. This is a wonder – how can a man have children alone? The Mesech Chochma explains that women are not obligated in this mitzvah because pregnancy can be quite difficult, childbirth is difficult, and taking care of a baby all of the time is difficult. The Torah does not force someone to do something which may sometimes be beyond his ability. But if Hashem does not command women to have children, how will children come into the world? Because Hashem implanted within women a desire for children, as we see with Rachel: "Give me children or I will die" (Bereshit 30a). Therefore, a woman has children because of her desire to do so. There is a balance between the desire and the difficulties, and a woman navigates between them. This appears in the Torah, not when Hashem commands Adam: "Be fruitful and multiply" (Bereshit 1:28), but after the flood when he commands Noach: "Be fruitful and multiply." The first command was issued before the curse "You shall bear children in pain" (Bereshit 3:16) and there was therefore no reason to be lenient. But now there is the difficulty of the curse. I therefore recommend that you not pressure your wife. Let her decide on her own whether or not she is able.

The Honor of Women

Stories of Rabbenu – Our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Ha-Cohain Kook

Our Rabbi gave classes for the yeshiva students at his house, and they set up an amplification system so that women could hear in the apartment next door. There was sometimes a problem with the system and our Rabbi would wait until they fixed it. He would explain that for the honor of women he was obligated to delay his class so that they too could hear.

With all of our Rabbi's care regarding issues relating to modesty, our Rabbi was at the same time strict about women's honor. Before Kiddush on Shabbat day, he would ask over and over: "Are all the women here? 'Women are obligated in Kiddush during the day' (Berachot 20b)."

Our Rabbi would remind his married students that there is an obligation to provide their wives with spiritual food. In contrast to the general thought that women are exempt from learning Torah, he would emphasize with a smile that this does not apply to learning about faith: "Is faith a time-bound, positive mitzvah?"

When the Beit Midrash was in the dormitory building, the women's section was close to the entrance to the Beit Midrash. There was a sign: "Women are requested not to linger in the hallway after davening" [in order to prevent women and men from intermingling]. When our Rabbi saw it, he asked that the note be taken down and rewritten in a more general manner, in order not to offend the honor of the women: "The community is requested not to linger in the hallway after davening."

Our Rabbi was extremely particular not to stare at women. Even when a woman came to him for a long conversation on an important matter, he listened to her carefully and responded warmly – but his eyes were always averted to the side. He was the same when he gave a class to women. He would stand for a woman who was a Torah scholar, but he would not directly look at her. (Ha-Rav Eliyahu Mali – Iturei Cohanim #176)

A Child's Life – A Jungle

Expressing love to a child is truly life saving. If a child does not feel that others love him – he is finished.
We have to remember that a child's world is like a jungle. All sorts of people cause him distress and disturb his contentment.
He is surrounded by friends in school, the park, home, etc., and they bother him at times, and sometimes take from him, or he feels that they are taking from him. The teacher scolds him, the neighbor yells at him. Often times close relatives visit and volunteer to educate him: "Where are your manners? A little honor for your parents! Sit up straight! Look at how you are eating! Why don't you study well? What type of grades are these?!" A huge flood of comments.
And relationships with siblings are not simple. He loves them, but they sometimes threaten to take his place. He is not alone – he has competition.
In brief – a child lives in a jungle. This can be difficult. But in this dangerous world, there is a wonder drug: Love and expressions of love. Offer them generously.

Shut SMS #120

Ha-Rav answers hundreds of text message questions a day! Here's a sample:
Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Q: What is the source that a Bar Mitzvah is at 13 and a Bat Mitzvah is at 12?
A: It is a Halachah Le-Moshe Mi-Sinai – an oral tradition which Moshe Rabbenu received at Mt. Sinai (Shut Ha-Rosh 16, 1. See also Rashi on Nazir 29b).

"Nusach Achid"
Q: I am Sefardi but feel a closer connection to "Nusach Achid" (The "Unity" Nusach for davening) than the Nusach of Sefardim. Can I use it?
A: "Nusach Achid" is essentially "Nusach Sefard" of Ashkenazim (which was introduced by the Chasidim in Eastern Europe). One should, as much as possible, use the Nusach of one's father and ancestors (Shut Yechaveh Da'at 3:6. We have heard in the name of Ha-Rav Shlomo Goren, who established "Nusach Achid", that his intention was not to create a Nusach to unite Klal Yisrael, but to use in the army where it is difficult to distribute all types of different Siddurim. He therefore chose this Nusach, which contains aspects of the various traditions).

Torah or Gemach
Q: Is it preferable for me to attend a Torah class or perform an act of loving-kindness (Gemilut Chesed) if they occur at the same time?
A: Gemilut Chesed, if there is no one else to replace you. Moed Katan 9a-b.

Payment for Damage
Q: Someone damaged my car and paid restitution. Is it permissible for me to use the money for a different purpose?
A: Yes. He is obligated to pay for the damage, but the money is yours.

Buying and Returning
Q: Is it permissible to buy an object, use it, and return it to the store?
A: G-d forbid.

Homosexual Tendencies
Q: I heard that it is impossible to change homosexual tendencies. If this is so, why did Hashem forbid it?
A: It is not true. But even if there is a tendency which is impossible to change, this does not permit one to violate a transgression. All of us have tendencies, and it is incumbent upon us to overcome them. This is a human being's service of Hashem.

Nostradamus
Q: Are the prophecies of Nostradamus true? Many of them have come to fruition.
A: No. Since they are indistinct, many events can appear to fit within them.

Water Gun
Q: Is it a waste of water (Bal Tashchit) for children to play with water guns?
A: No, since playing is considered essential for children, and the water guns use a negligible amount of water.

Long Hair
Q: Is it permissible for a boy or man to have long hair?
A: No. There are three severe Torah prohibitions that are transgressed by having long hair: 1. Creating an impediment between one's head and Tefillin, and therefore causing a blessing to be recited in vain when putting on Tefillin. 2. Following the ways of the non-Jews (which includes acts of conceit and haughtiness). 3. "Lo Tilbash" (the prohibition of men dressing or appearing as women) (Shut She'eilat 1:23).
Q: How than did the Rogachover (Ha-Rav Yosef Rosen, author of Tzafnat Pane'ach) and Ha-Rav Ha-Nazir (Ha-Rav David Cohain, Rosh Yeshiva in Mercaz Ha-Rav) grow long hair?
A: The Rogachover did not go to the barber because of a concern of "Bitul Torah" (taking away from Torah learning), but he is an exceptional genius, who is not a figure to be imitated. And regarding Ha-Rav Ha-Nazir, the Torah, the Torah commands a Nazir not to get a haircut.

Criticism
Q: My wife doesn't like it when I make a comment about her hair covering. What should I do if she is showing more hair than the Halachah allows?
A: Ask her if she wants you to point it out.
Q: She does not.
A: Then do not do so. It will not help. Rather concentrate your energies on improving yourself.

Cursed Apartment
Q: Is there a problem with renting an apartment in which a man committed suicide?
A: No. The transgression is in the man. The apartment is totally fine.

Appointing a Woman
Q: Is it permissible to appoint a woman to the Knesset? If not, what should we do?
A: We should not appoint a woman. It is immodest. Maran Ha-Rav Kook in Ma'amrei Ha-Re'eiyah, pp. 189-194. We must therefore wait patiently. Everything will work out (When Golda Meir became Prime Minister, a student asked Ha-Rav Joseph Soloveitchik: Is it permissible to appoint a woman to such a position? After all, the Rambam [Hilchot Melachim 1:5] brings the Halachah of the Sifri, that we learn from the verse [Devarim 17:15] "You shall surely set a king over you" – a king and not a queen. Ha-Rav Soloveitchik immediately answered: And appointing Ben Gurion was not a question? Although he was not a woman, he was not religious, and it was also forbidden to appoint him [see Shut Igrot Moshe Yoreh Deah 2:45]. The answer is that they did not ask us, and the responsibility of these appointments is therefore not incumbent upon us. Nefesh Ha-Rav, pp. 90-91).

Appointing a Non-Jew
Q: Is it permissible to appoint a non-Jew to the Knesset? If not, what should we do?
A: We also should not appoint a non-Jew. Rambam, Hilchot Melachim 1:4. Comments of Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah at the end of the book "Mishpatei Ha-Melachim" of Ha-Rav Federbush. . We must therefore wait patiently. Everything will work out.

Parashat Balak: The First Thing we say in Davening Each Morning

[Tal Chermon]

Our first meeting with the Creator in the morning is the verse "How goodly are your tents, Yaakov.” This is how our daily davening begins – with a verse that points to Jewish modesty. How so? Because the entrances of Yaakov’s “goodly” tents did not face one another, and thus prevented intrusions upon the privacy of other families (Rashi on Bamidbar 24:5).

And yet the verse comes from the mouth of an evil person who was completely corrupt: Bilaam. This is a person who had relations with his donkey (Sanhedrin 105b), who was punished in Gehinom for his sexually activity (Gittin 56b) and who caused the Jewish People to sin with the daughters of Moav (Bamidbar 24:14 with Rashi) though he clearly knew that their G-d hated harlotry (Sanhedrin 106a). But when Bilaam experienced a spiritual elevation, through the hand of Hashem which rested upon him, he clearly recognized the modesty which is deeply ingrained within the Jewish nature. He was so amazed by it that he began his third prophecy – the most elevated of all – with this praising of their modesty. Recognizing and acknowledging our essential modesty is how we meet our Creator each and every morning.

Hilchot Kippah

[Be-Ahavah U-Be-Emunah – Chukat 5771 – translated by R. Blumberg]

Why do Jewish men wear a Kippah (Shabbat 156b)? It is out of modesty (Rambam, Hilchot De’ot). The Taz suggests that nowadays it fulfills, “Do not follow non-Jewish practices” (Vayikra 18:3), and that it is legally forbidden to leave one’s head uncovered for even a moment (Taz 8:3). Most later authorities agreed with him. Accordingly, whoever lifts his Kippah to give his head some air should make certain that it remains at least slightly on his head (Leket Ha-Kemach).
How big must a Kippah be? It must cover the head, and as with everything else, “most” is as good as “all”. One should therefore cover at least most of his head, i.e., most of where the hair grows (Shut Ha-Elef Lecha Shlomo 3). If one’s Kippah is smaller than that, some permit it, assuming that it is readily visible from all sides (Shut Igrot Moshe 1:1 and Shut Yechaveh Da’at 4:1).
Does one need a Kippah when one sleeps? It’s not required, but wearing it then is a pious act (Mishnah Berurah 4:11).
During prayers, does a Kippah suffice? Whoever wears a hat must wear it during prayers as well, for he is then standing before the King. He must be dressed as respectfully as possible (Piskei Teshuvot). Yet if someone suffices with a Kippah all day long (i.e. doesn’t wear a hat), then he needn’t make a special effort to wear a hat during prayers.
What if someone cannot wear a Kippah? If someone cannot wear a Kippah, like a spy in enemy territory, he should cover his head with his sleeve to recite blessings. If he has no choice, he can cover his head with his hand (Mishnah Berurah 4:12).
A Little Boy - A little boy should be accustomed as much as possible to wearing a Kippah. The mother of Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak scrupulously covered his head even when he was an infant (Shabbat 156a. Mishna Berura 4:11). But one should not make the infant’s life difficult.
Sports - Even during ball games or running, one needs a Kippah. If it flies off, one should obtain a hat that remains secure.
The Army - In the army, as well, one needs a head covering, even during training, and even during combat. Bar Kochba’s soldiers had their Tefillin on, but as for our humble selves, we can suffice with covering our heads.
Is one allowed to wear a Kippah made of netting with holes in it? The majority has to be fabric and not holes.
Is one allowed to have Biblical verses embroidered on the Kippah, or utterances about the Messiah? One is forbidden to enter a restroom with a verse or part of a verse or utterances from the Torah. And in general, as with any other piece of clothing, the Kippah should be modest and should not draw attention.
Is one allowed to have advertisements on a Kippah, such as about soft-drinks or
shoes? As noted, a Kippah has to be modest and should not draw attention.
Pictures - For the same reason, one should not put a picture on a Kippah.
Must a Kippah be circular, or can it be square or hexagonal? As noted, a Kippah should be normal and not strange, attracting attention.
May one wear Kippot of other religions such as Islam, Christianity or those of the Far East? No. That constitutes following the practices of the non-Jews. Likewise, a keffiyeh is forbidden.
May one replace a Kippah with a thick ribbon, but empty in the middle? No. As above.
Is there any virtue to having a black Kippah over any other color? Yes. Because that’s what people customarily wore in previous generations, but legally other colors are also possible.
When one has no Kippah, can one recite blessings under an umbrella? No. A Kippah has to be attached to the head. Better one should use his sleeve.
If one is committing a sin, like going to a forbidden entertainment spot, must he remove his Kippah so as not to profane G-d’s name? No. His Kippah proclaims that he fundamentally believes in and fears G-d even if he is sinning.
If one’s Kippah fell off in the middle of the Shemoneh Esreh, what should one do?
He should walk over and pick it up. Necessary walking is not considered an interruption.
If someone recites a blessing or prays without a Kippah, should he repeat the prayer or blessing? The Rabbis differ on that. He should not.
If someone is afraid to go among non-Jews wearing a Kippah, must he do so anyway? No. But he should wear a hat that does not identify him as Jewish.
Must one ask a non-observant guest to put on a Kippah? No. He and his way of life should be treated respectfully. A young man visited Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook wearing a Kippah.
Rabbenu asked him why he was wearing it, and he replied: “Out of respect for you.” Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehuda asked, “When I visit you, must I take my Kippah off out of respect for you??”
If a Kippah falls down, must one kiss it upon picking it up? No. It’s not a holy object.
Must a tattered Kippah be placed in a Geniza? No, as above.
Is there any importance to wearing a larger Kippah during prayer? Yes. In prayer, one must conduct oneself as before a king. In prayer we must have reverence, so even if all day long one wears a Kippah improperly, in prayer one should wear it properly.
Does an unmarried female require a Kippah? Such is not the practice. It’s true that a Kippah is part of showing reverence, and a female must show such reverence as well, but she is exempt, just as she is exempt from many other mitzvoth. Maharal explains that this is because women have an easier time fostering reverence than men (even without the aid of a Kippah). And while there have been communities in which little girls wore Kippot when learning Torah (see Shut Yechave Da’at), that is not the practice either (see Shut Tzitz Eliezer).

Expressing Love

A couple once came to a marriage counselor. The wife said: "We have been married 20 years and my husband has never said: I love you." The counselor turned to the husband and said: "This is a serious accusation. What do you have to say for yourself?" He responded: "It's not true that I never said it. I said it one time before the wedding, and we got married based on it. If it changes, I'll inform you…"
This is not the correct path. A spouse not only needs to be loved, and not only needs to know that he/she is loved, but there must be daily expressions of love. And this is true all the more so for a child. A child requires expressions of love.
It is impossible to explain it to a child intellectually. Doesn't he know? After all, the parents bought him a bed, toys, food and signed him up for after-school programs, etc.? No! This is not enough. A parent must tell the child that he is loved, and not once when he first comes into the world, but throughout his entire life!

Shut SMS #119

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

Washing for a Mourner
Q: If I am sitting Shiva, and am very sweaty and uncomfortable, is it permissible to put on deodorant?
A: Certainly. It is also permissible to take a quick and lukewarm shower, since we have the law of an "Istinis" (one who is physically sensitive).

Magen David Adom Training
Q: Is it permissible for girls and boys to touch during Magen David Adom training?
A: Certainly not. By the way, not only is it forbidden, but in general males and females should keep considerable distance from one another (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 152:8).

Kippah for Girls
Q: Why don't girls wear Kippot? Don't they also need to take upon themselves the yoke of the Heavenly Kingdom?
A: Females, in a natural manner, possess more Awe of Hashem and do not require as many Mitzvot. Derush Al Ha-Torah of the Maharal says that anything which is inclined towards something can attain it more easily.

Shehechiyanu upon Being Drafted into Tzahal
Q: At what point should one recite Shehechiyanu when being drafted into Tzahal?
A: When wearing one's uniform for the first time (Mi-Chayil El Chayil vol. 1 p. 320).

End of the World
Q: Is the end of the world coming in the year 6000?
A: No.

Captured Soldier
Q: Is it permissible for a captured soldier to commit suicide?
A: In principle, it is permissible if he fears that they will forcibly extract information from him which will endanger his comrades, since the law of "Rodef" (literally "pursuer" - a case in which one is permitted to kill a pursuer so that the pursued person is saved from harm) applies to him. See the article about Masada by Ha-Rav Shlomo Goren. Today, however, according to the ruling of Tzahal, one should not commit suicide.

Stolen Object
Q: Is it permissible to buy a cell phone from someone who buys from thieves?
A: No. It is placing a stumbling block before the blind. Our Sages say: The mouse is not what steals, but rather its hole - i.e. without the hole, the mouse would not steal. Likewise, without a buyer, the thief would not steal (Gittin 45a).

Reserve Duty during First Year of Marriage
Q: Is it permissible to go to reserve duty in Tzahal during one's first year of marriage?
A: Yes. We are in a "Milchemet Mitzvah" (Obligatory War in which even a groom serves). You are permitted, however, to ask for an exemption (Ha-Rav Shlomo Goren, Piskei Hilchot Tzava, pp. 91-92).

Reviewing Torah Learning
Q: How many times is one required to review his Torah learning?
A: Maran Ha-Rav Kook wrote to his brother that he was surprised to hear that he only reviews his learning 3 times and that he himself does not remember well until he reviews his learning 10 times (Igrot Ha-Re'eiyah vol. 1, p. 9). A student once asked Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah how many times to review one's learning, and he innocently answered: "101 times, as is written in the Gemara" (see Chagiga 9b)! And in Shut Teshuvot Ve-Hanhagot (1:539), Ha-Rav Moshe Sternbuch writes that he heard in the name of the Chafetz Chaim that if one does not review his learning 4 times, he does not fulfill the Mitzvah of learning Torah (also brought in "Meir Einei Yisrael vol. 2 p. 201). And once someone asked the Chazon Ish for a blessing to remember his learning. The Chazon Ish asked: How many times do you review? He responded: 6-7. The Chazon Ish said that he does not remember after 6-7 times of reviewing, but only after 20 times. The essence is that one reviews his learning.

Grade
Q: If I received a higher grade on a test than I deserved, do I have to tell the teacher?
A: Yes. We are obligated to have integrity and not to violate "Genivat Da'at" (deception).

Palestinian State
Q: How should we relate to the suggestion of the establishment of a Palestinian State?
A: It is a religious, national and ethical sin. And this is also true from the perspective of international law, since the League of Nations decided in the year 5680 to establish a state for us that includes all of the Judea, Samaria and Gaza, as well as East Jerusalem. And this was approved by the United Nations.

Meat and Milk for a Baby
Q: Our baby only falls aside after drinking a bottle of milk. Is it permissible to give it to him after he ate meat?
A: Yes. It is a case of a double doubt: The first doubt is that perhaps the Halachah follows the opinion of the the Rashba (Yevamot 114 and Shut Ha-Rashba vol. 1 #92), that it is permissible to give a child something to eat which is forbidden by the Rabbis (although we do not hold this way in practice – see Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 343:1), and waiting between meat and milk is a Rabbinic prohibition. The second doubt is that perhaps the Halachah follows the Tosafot (Chullin 105a) that there is no obligation to wait between eating meat and milk. It is forbidden to mix them, but if I eat meat, clean the table, wash my hands and brush my teeth, it is permissible to eat milk (although we do not hold this way in practice – see Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 89:1). Therefore, there is no problem with giving a child under bar mitzvah milk after meat when there is a pressing need to do so (Shut Yabia Omer vol. 1 Yoreh Deah #4. See Shut Be'er Moshe 8:36 and Shut Chelkat Ya'akov 2:16).