Shut SMS #167

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

Annulling Vows on Shabbat

Q: Is it permissible to annul vows on Shabbat?

A: If it is for a Shabbat need (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 228:3).

Parents Walking Down the Aisle

Q: Is it permissible at a wedding for the groom's parents to walk the groom down the aisle and the bride's parents to walk her down the aisle?

A: No.  The custom in Israel is not to do so.  The custom, based on modesty, is for the two fathers to escort the groom and the two mothers to escort the bride.  This has been the custom throughout the generations (Shut Mishneh Halachot 3:147, 4:206).

Honoring One's Wife

Q: Which is preferable – eating Shabbat dinner with one's wife and kids at home, or together with one's Rabbi at the yeshiva and hearing Divrei Torah?

A: There is no question: At home.  You are obligated to make your wife happy and honor her.  The Torah obligates you and you signed the Ketubah.

Q: But Torah learning is equivalent to all of the other Mitzvot?

A: Torah learning obligates you to fulfill what is written in the Torah.  You are certainly not more righteous or more important than the Satmar Rebbe, Ha-Rav Yoel Teitelbaum.  It once happened that that the Satmar Rebbe's wife set up her Shabbat candles at home and not in the hall where they have the Rebbe's Tisch.  The Satmar Rebbe asked the Rebbetzin why she did this.  She responded: Tonight, you are eating at home with just me.  He said: Thousands of Chasidim and other important people are coming to the Tisch (there were usually 3000 participants)?!  She said: I want you to eat with just me.  He immediately gave in, happily.


Q: Is it worthwhile to cancel my Facebook account?

A: Yes.  It causes horrible damage, as I wrote at length in the Parashah sheet: "Be-Ahavah U-Be-Emunah" in the article "The Ten Plagues of Facebook."

Religious Survey

Q: When there is a religious survey, and I see that the votes are contrary to Halachah and are causing a desecration of Hashem's Name, is it permissible for me to vote numerous times in order to change the percentages?

A: No.  One should not lie, and we do not perform a Mitzvah through a transgression.

Unmarried Couple

Q: If there is an unmarried couple and the woman immerses in a Mikveh before relations, what transgression do they violate?

A: Illicit relations.  Rambam at the beginning of Sefer Ha-Kedushah (and there is a prohibition for a single woman to immerse in a Mikveh.  Be'er Heitev, Orach Chaim 303:1.  Yoreh Deah 183:6.  See Shut Ha-Rivash #422).


Q: Is it permissible to take Ritalin on Shabbat?

A: Yes, if it is needed for a person to function properly.

Torah Blessings for Woman

Q: Is a woman obligated to recite the blessings over Torah learning?

A: Yes.  The Torah also belongs to women (see Shut Orach Mishpat #11 ot 2.  Ha-Griz on the Rambam, Hilchot Berachot 11:16 at the end.  Piskei Teshuvot 47:18).

Saving a Non-Jew on Shabbat

Q: Is it permissible to violate Shabbat in order to save a non-Jew?

A: The accepted Halachah is – yes (see Shut Igrot Moshe, Orach Chaim 4:79).