Shut SMS #160

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

Trip to Jordan

Q: Why shouldn't one take a trip to Jordan? After all, it is part of Eretz Yisrael.

A: Correct, but it is on a lower level of holiness since it is not under our sovereignty. This is similar to when King David fled to Gat, which was under Philistine rule, and he said that it is like idol worship. Ketubot 110b. Furthermore, it is dangerous, and we do not put ourselves at risk for a trip (Shut She'eilat Shlomo 3:312).

Guarding on Shabbat

Q: Is it permissible to violate Shabbat in order to guard one's belongings from Bedouin thieves?

A: Yes, just like the police do, since it is damage to the community. See Shut Amud Yemini (#17). And it is also a continuation of conquering Eretz Yisrael (see She'eilat Shlomo 1:193 which brings a Teshuvah of Ha-Rav Shlomo Goren permitting guarding one's flocks on Shabbat).

Gemara or Tanach

Q: Which is preferable to learn – Gemara or Tanach?

A: Gemara. And a little Tanach (see booklet on learning Tanach at the end of Ha-Rav Aviner's commentary on Yehoshua).

Teaching a Non-Jew Tanach

Q: Is it permissible to teach a non-Jew Tanach?

A: Only the sections which apply to Bnei Noach, i.e. non-Jews (Rambam, Hilchot Melachim 10:9).

Place where a Miracle Happened

Q: If I pass a place where a miracle happened to me, do I recite the blessing of "Blessed is Hashem…Who performed a miracle for me in this place"?

A: Only if it was an unnatural miracle. Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 218:9.

Sheva Berachot

Q: Are newlyweds obligated to have Sheva Berachot twice a day, every day, for the whole week?

A: No. Only what brings them joy.

Q: Can they go on a honeymoon instead?

A: If that is their desire (Re'im Ahuvim, pp. 165-169).

Gan Eden for Animals

Q: Do animals go to Gan Eden?

A: No. Tiferet Yisrael on Pirkei Avot (3:14).

"Long Live our Master"

Q: Is someone who says: "Long Live our Master, our Teacher, and our Rabbi, King Messiah, forever and ever" regarding the Lubavitcher Rebbe a heretic?

A: G-d forbid. But he is mistaken.

Anniversary of Aliyah during Omer

Q: I made Aliyah 10 years ago. Is it permissible to make this day during the Omer into a holiday with music?

A: Holiday – yes. Music – no.

Most Chasidim

Q: Which spiritual leader among the Jewish People had the most Chasidim?

A: Shabbatai Tzvi, may the name of the evil rot. Three Million.