Shut SMS #177

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

Trial before Wedding

Q: I have gone on Shiduchim with three yeshiva students who said that in order to ensure that we are suited for one another, we should have marital relations after I immerse in a Mikveh.  Is it permissible?

A: G-d forbid!  Prostitution! (In addition, there is a prohibition for a single woman to immerse in a Mikvah.  Be'er Heitev, Orach Chaim 303:1.  Yoreh Deah 183:6.  See Shut Ha-Rivash #422)



Q: Is it permissible for me to watch a movie for my own enjoyment?

A: On condition that it is a Kosher movie, which does not arouse base or forbidden feelings.  We learn this from the laws pertaining to which books are permissible, and this is true all the more so with movies.  Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 307:16.  And this is similar to the question: Is it permissible for me to eat for my own enjoyment?  And the answer: Yes, on condition that the food is Kosher.

Q: And if the purpose is to learn the profession of film making?

A: Same answer.  Similar to this question: Is it permissible to eat in the framework of learning the profession of cooking?  And the answer: Yes, on condition that the food is Kosher.


Reason to Live

Q: Why am I alive?

A: To serve Hashem.  Mesilat Yesharim, Chapter 1.


Mitzvah of Settling Eretz Yisrael is Equal to All the Other Mitzvot

Q: Why do we bring a proof about the importance of the Mitzvah of settling Eretz Yisrael based on the statement of our Sages that the Mitzvah of settling Eretz Yisrael is equal to all the other Mitzvot, when the same is said about Tzitzit and Tefillin?

A: These Mitzvot are indeed important, each in its own way.  See Rambam, end of Hilchot Mezuzah.  But the Mitzvah of settling Eretz Yisrael is the only Mitzvah in the Torah important enough to the point of self-sacrifice from the outset – in making Aliyah, settling the Land and in the army (Minchat Chinuch #425, #604.  Shut Mishpat Cohain #143.  Igrot Ha-Re'eiyah 3, 944.  And this is how the entire Nation of Israel has acted).


Rambam and Settling Eretz Yisrael

Q: Why doesn't the Rambam count the Mitzvah of settling Eretz Yisrael among the 613 Mitzvot?

A: Because it is a general Mitzvah.  Shoresh #4.  But the detailed Mitzvot are brought in the Mishneh Torah (Sichot Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah – Eretz Yisrael, p. 100.  Le-Netivot Yisrael vol. 1, p. 121 [161].  Ha-Notzetzot Or Ha-Geulah, p. 17.  Torat Ha-Moadim, p. 36.  Torat Ha-Shabbat Ve-Ha-Moed, p. 150.  Shut Tzitz Eliezer 7:48.  Ayelet Ha-Shachar, p. 49-50.  All in the name of Maran Ha-Rav Kook).


Tefillin and Toupee

Q: A young man wears a toupee all day long and takes it off at night.  Is it considered an impediment when putting on Tefillin?

A: Yes.  He should therefore put on his Tefillin at home without the toupee and recite a blessing over the Tefillin and put them on again at Shul on the toupee without reciting a blessing (Shut Igrot Moshe, Orach Chaim 4:40 #14.  Shut Aseh Lecha Rav 3:3).


Techelet and Maran Ha-Rav Kook

Q: What was Rav Kook's opinion about wearing Techelet on one's Tzitzit?

A: He was opposed.  He admonished Ha-Rav David Cohain, the "Nazir", for wearing Techelet.  Afterwards, Maran Ha-Rav Kook said that the Nazir was unique, with unique practices, and was therefore permitted to wear it.  But it should only be on his Talit Katan and so that others could not see it (Shut She'eilat Shlomo 4:17).