Shut SMS #152

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

Birth Control
Q: We are about to get married. Is it permissible to use birth control after the wedding? We feel that we have not yet built a strong enough connection between us.
A: There will be at least nine months during which to build.
Q: And if we know that it will not be enough?
A: Then delay the marriage.
Q: And if there is an actual emotional problem?
A: If an observant psychologist determines that this should be delayed, he knows what he is talking about.

Shomer Negi'ah
Q: A young woman is sitting next to me on the bus and fell asleep on my shoulder. Should I wake her and explain to her that I am Shomer Negi'ah (do not touch the opposite gender)?
A: You should wake her and simply apologize to her for doing so. The same applies even if she is not young.

Woman Riding a Bike
Q: Is it permissible for a woman to ride a bike?
A: Yes, on condition that she is wearing a modest skirt. The same applies to riding a horse (Rabbenu Chananel on the beginning on Pesachim).
Q: Does the same apply in an Orthodox neighborhood?
A: It depends on the local custom.

The Most Effective Segulah
Q: What is the most effective Segulah for success?
A: The Belzer Rebbe said that there is no greater Segulah than "Yirat Hashem" (Fear of Hashem), as it says (Devarim 28:58): "If you do not observe all of the words of the this law, which are written in this book, to fear this Glorious and Awesome Name of Hashem, your G-d" (Shut Az Nedbaru 1:79 #179. Beit Baruch 1, 405. Brought in Shalmei Yehudah chap. 10 note #41).

Ta'anit Ester
Q: Is it permissible to have a Purim party on Ta'anit Ester?
A: No. It is a day of repentance and seriousness.

Receipt
Q: Which is preferable – buying from a non-Jew with a receipt or from a Jew without a receipt?
A: There is no question of preference. It is forbidden to buy without a receipt.

Alcohol
Q: How much enjoyment can one have from alcohol?
A: It is an extremely bad trait to drink alcohol. One should refrain, except for Kiddush and other Mitzvot (Rambam, Hilchot De'ot chapter 4).

Fireworks
Q: Is it permissible to set off fireworks on Purim?
A: No. It disturbs other, it is dangerous and – if I recall correctly – it is against the law.