Shut SMS #202

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Tevilat Kelim after Mechirat Chametz

Q: There are dishes in the closet where I placed the Chametz which was sold to the non-Jew.  Do the dishes need to be immersed in a Mikveh after Pesach, since they were in the possession of a non-Jew?

A: No.  It is written in the sale of document that we are not selling the dishes but only the Chametz within them.  But even if it were written that we are selling the dishes, the majority of Poskim still exempt the dishes from immersion.  Chochmat Shlomo 448, Aruch Ha-Shulchan Yoreh Deah 120:52, Darkei Teshuvah ibid. #90.  This is the case since the buyer and seller both have in mind that the sale will not be permanent. The non-Jew therefore does not take possession of the dishes.


Rabbi Eliezer

Q: How is it possible that Rabbi Eliezer never said anything which he did not hear from his Rabbi (Sukkah 27b), when it is related that he gave a Dvar Torah which no ear had ever heard (Avot De-Rebbe Natan, Chapter 6)?

A: Maran Ha-Rav Kook explains that Rabbei Eliezer, with his deep ability to listen, understood things in his Rabbi’s words which others did not understand.  Maamarei Ha-Ree’eiyah, p. 204 (and Ha-Rav Avigdor Neventzal wrote that he heard the same difficulty and answer from his teacher, Ha-Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz.  Although he adds that in his humble opinion, there is no difficulty, since Rabbi Eliezer did not say anything which he did not hear from his Rabbi out of a concern that he would err and spread incorrect Torah.  But when Rabbi Eliezer delivered a Dvar Torah which no ear had ever heard, he did so in the presence of Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai, his Rabbi, since if he erred, his teacher would correct him.  In this case, therefore, there was no such fear.  Iturei Cohanim #104).


The Number of those who left Egypt

Q: How is it possible that in such a short time 70 people grew to 600,000?

A: 210 years is 10 generations of 20 years.  If each couple had 6 children – even not at one time – it is 3 to the power of 10 which is approximately 50,000 x 70 = 3.5 million.

Q: I heard that the number 600,000 who left Egypt means 600 families, since 1000 equals a family?

A: Nonsense.  “And they were numbered were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty”.  Bemidbar 1:46.


Adding a Name

Q: Our son is extremely short.  We asked a Chasidic Rebbe what to do and he recommended adding a name.  Is it enough to add it during an Aliyah to the Torah or do we need to do something else?

A: Ask the Rebbe directly, or ask his student.



Q: I am extremely short.  What can I do to grow taller?

A: If you are a child, ask a doctor.  If you an adult, I do not know of a solution.  You should know that many great Rabbis were short.


Learning Tanach with Chazal

Q: Is it permissible to teach children the simple meaning of the Tanach or must we teach them with Chazal?

A: Hashem gave the Torah with a commentary, i.e. the Oral Torah.  See the Rambam’s introduction to the Mishneh Torah (Ha-Rav Yosef Soloveitchik explains the same way.  When he was asked the same question, he said that without the Oral Torah, the Tanach is the “Bible of the Christians”.  He added that Ha-Rav Shimshon Rafeal Hirsch is an expert in fusing the Oral Torah with the teaching of Chumash.  Divrei Ha-Rav, p. 202).


Yahrtzeit Candle

Q: Is there are obligation to light a Yahrtzeit candle on the anniversary of a person’s death?

A: It is a custom, but it is not an obligation.  See Shut Teshuvot Ve-Hanahgot 1:702 (It is brought there that the Vilna Gaon did not hold by the custom to light a Yahrtzeit candle on the Yahrtzeit).