Shut SMS #197


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

Difficult Prohibitions

Q: Why does the Torah forbid me from things which are difficult for me to uphold?  I am not an angel!

A: Your soul is higher than that of an angel.  Midrash Mishlei 4:25.  Sanhedrin 93a.  Place faith in it and you will ascend higher and higher.

 

Ahavat Yisrael

Q: Is there a Mitzvah to love each and every Jew?

A: Certainly.  See Mesillat Yesharim, end of chapter 19 (and Tanya, Chapter 32).

 

Light Drugs

Q: Is it forbidden to use light drugs?  What is the source?

A: There is no such thing as light drugs, they are all hard drugs.  They are forbidden by the law, and one will be punished with jail time, and they are forbidden by the Halachah.  Rambam, Hilchot De'ot Chapter 4. (Shut Igrot Moshe, Yoreh Deah 3:35.  An observant Jew once came to the yeshiva to speak to Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein and explained that his son was in prison for selling drugs, and he wanted Reb Moshe to write a letter to the judge asking to have mercy on his son.  Reb Moshe harshly said to him: "Your son causes people to be sick and hurts them.  Let him sit in prison!"  And the father tried over and over to convince Reb Moshe, but he in no way agreed to sign such a letter, and added that his actions were against the laws of the country, which are not forfeited.  Reshumei Aharon, p. 22)

 

Charedim

Q: Why don't Charedim serve in Tzahal?

A: They are good and righteous people, but they err in this area (Even the current Satmar Rebbe – Ha-Rav Zalman Leib Teitelbaum – says: "If you recognize the government and are supported by it – what justification do you have to abstain from serving in the army?!"  Mishpachah Magazine #1085, 29 Kislev 5773).

 

Davening from a Siddur

Q: Is there a preference to Daven from a Siddur as opposed to a cell phone?

A: Yes, it is the normal way.

 

Dressing up Like Rabbi on Purim

Q: Is it permissible to dress up as one's Rabbi on Purim?

A: No, imitating a Rabbi is shaming a Torah scholar. Our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah, scolded someone who dressed up on Purim like the Chief Rabbi, Ha-Rav Shlomo Goren (Rabbenu p. 130.  It once happened in Yeshivat Be'er Yaakov that a Torah scholar gave a Dvar Torah at a Sheva Berachot and told a story about Ha-Rav Aharon Kotler.  During the story, he imitated the speech pattern of Ha-Rav Kotler.  The Rosh Yeshiva, Ha-Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapira, immediately scolded him and would not speak to him for the rest of the day!  Another time, a similar incident occurred and one of the students imitated Ha-Rav Menachem Man Shach, and Ha-Rav Shapira scolded him: "It is forbidden to imitate Gedolim!"  Meged Givot Olam, p. 47).

 

Mishloach Manot through a Messenger

Q: Is there an obligation to send a Mishloach Manot through a messenger?

A: There are those who say that there is an obligation (Shut Binyan Tzion 1:44.  Brought in Mishnah Berurah 495:18), but the majority of authorities say that there is no obligation (Orchot Rabbenu Volume 3, p. 53.  Halichot Shlomo, Chapter 19 note #44.  Shut Az Nidberu 5:40.  Shut Avnei Yashpe 1:133.  And the Satmar Rebbe explained the position of the Binyan Tzion that if Shimon is not in front of Reuven and Reuven sends Shimon a Mishloach Manot through a messenger it is a clear sign that Reuven remembered Shimon.  But if Shimon is in front of Reuven and he gives him a Mishloach Manot, it is not a sign that he loves him and had forethought.  Shut Divrei Yoel #64 note 2).