Shut SMS #153

Ha-Rav answers hundreds of text message questions a day! Here's a sample:
Traveling to Rebbe Nachman's Grave in Uman
Q: Is traveling to Uman good or bad?
A: In general, it is forbidden to leave Eretz Yisrael, except in the case of a Mitzvah. Visiting Kivrei Tzadikim (the graves of the righteous) is not defined as a Mitzvah, but as a positive act. Are there no graves to visit in Eretz Yisrael? Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah are greater than Rebbe Nachman (Shut Orach Mishpat #147).

Helping Others Repent
Q: How can we awaken others to repent?
A: Before we help others repent, we ourselves must repent, and increase our proper character traits. This itself will increase the sanctification of Hashem's Name, as explained at the end of Gemara Yoma and in the Rambam, Hilchot Yesodei Torah, end of chap. 5.

Q: Should one have a TV?
A: It is doubly damaging. 1. Content: lowly, surface, Lashon Ha-Ra, insults, violence, immodesty, etc. 2. Form: passive, lacking thought and depth, and intellectually damaging, on account of becoming accustomed to what one absorbs.

Yehoshua and Amalek
Q: Why didn't Yehoshua command Am Yisrael to destroy Amalek?
A: Either because he was not considered a king or it was not possible.

Sandek or Helping Mother
Q: I was asked to serve as the Sandek at a Brit Milah, but my mother asked me to help her with something at the same time. Which is preferable?
A: Certainly honoring your mother. The Pele Yoetz already wrote in distress about people who dole out much money to open the Ark in Shul or to serve as a Sandek – acts which are not Mitzvot from the Torah or from the Rabbis, but express one's love of the Mitzvot. Honoring one's parent is a great Mitzvah from the Torah. Section on "Kibud Av Ve-Em".

Honoring Grandparents
Q: Is honoring one's grandparents like honoring one's parents?
A: It is less, but still a great Mitzvah (Rama, Yoreh Deah 240:24).

Q: Why do people hate Jews? What did we do?
A: It is hatred of Hashem which falls on us. Igeret Teiman of the Rambam.

Kashurt of Chickens in Tiveria
Q: It is true that the Kashrut of the chickens from Tiveria under the supervision of Ha-Rav Avraham Dov Auerbach is problematic?
A: It is not true. He is a great Torah scholar and a Tzadik. It is forbidden to believe such things. In general, slandering of this kind is on account of competition relating to halachic strictures or business. One must be extremely cautious against believing Lashon Ha-Ra.
Q: But Ha-Rav Auerbach himself does not eat this chicken.
A: This is a lie. He does eat it. By the way, it is permissible for a Rabbi to give Kosher certification that allows everyone to eat something, but to be strict on himself and not eat it. But this is not the case here.

Q: I have serious problems of concentration. It is worthwhile to take Ritalin?
A: Yes. It helps a lot. But obviously only after a recommendation from a doctor.