Shut SMS #161

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


Q: Is it permissible to travel in a taxi if the driver offers you a set price? Or must it only be with the meter?

A: It is permissible with a set price, on the condition that he gives you a receipt.

Shomer Negiah

Q: My boyfriend and I took a vow to get married. Is it permissible for us to touch one another?

A: G-d forbid. Only after the wedding. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 152:8.

Learning Torah and Transgression

Q: I feel like a fake because I am learning Torah when I am full of transgression.

A: On the contrary, the Torah gives strength to overcome the evil inclination. One should therefore learn a lot.

Smoking or Girls

Q: Which is worse: smoking or being with girls?

A: Certainly girls. See Sanhedrin 75a: It once happened that a man set his sights on a woman. Rambam, Yesodei Ha-Torah Chapter 5. But smoking is also a severe transgression.


Q: Is it true that on December 21, 2012 there will be a tragedy in the world or an event which will completely change the world?

A: Nonsense. This is a date mentioned on the Mayan calendar. By the way, the descendants of the Mayans themselves do not subscribe any importance to this date. This is an innovation of those involved in the New-Age culture.


Q: I feel that by observing the Mitzvot, I am losing out on all the enjoyments of the secular world.

A: There are many Kosher enjoyments, and those which are not Kosher are nonsense, fleeting and impure.

Wedding Photographer

Q: Isn't there the same permission for a wedding photographer to take pictures of women dancing at a wedding as there is for a male doctor to take care of female patients?

A: No. The photographer is involved with beauty, while the doctor is involved with healing.

Hair Covering

Q: Is it permissible for a married woman to have hair showing down to her shoulders with the scarf covering the top of her head?

A: It is only permissible to be lenient and expose two fingers’ worth of hair, i.e. 4 cm. (Shut Igrot Moshe, Even Ha-Ezer 1:58, 4:112).

Blessing on Spot of Crossing the Jordan River

Q: Should one recite the blessing of "Blessed is Hashem…who performed a miracle for my ancestors in this place" when seeing the spot where the Jordan split and the Jewish People entered Eretz Yisrael?

A: No, since we do not know the exact location where it happened. But it is possible to recite the blessing without mentioning Hashem's Name or Kingdom. Piskei Teshuvot 218:3 (Kum Hithalech Ba-Aretz #25).