Shut SMS #210

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

Chafetz Chaim and Zionism

Q: Did the Chafetz Chaim support Zionism?

A: No.  He was not in favor and he was not opposed (Ha-Rav Avraham Shapira said that the Chafetz Chaim did not express his opinion in writing on the subject of encouraging Aliyah to Eretz Yisrael.  He was a Torah giant but did not make a declaration, although he knew that secular Jews lived in Eretz Yisrael.  He did not want to become entangled in speaking Lashon Ha-Ra against Eretz Yisrael! Rosh Devarcha, p. 409.  And regarding the Chafetz Chaim making Aliyah, the Chazon Ish related in the name of the Saba Kadisha - Ha-Rav Shlomo Eliezer Alfandari – that if the Chafetz Chaim had made Aliyah, when he arrived in our Holy Land he would have seen the fire of dispute between those close to Ha-Rav Yosef Chaim Zonnenfeld and those close to Ha-Rav Avraham Yitzchak Ha-Cohain Kook.  The Chafetz Chaim would have said: Did I toil and write the books 'Chafetz Chaim' and 'Shemirat Ha-Lashon' for naught?  And he would have immediately yearned to make peace between them, and would have gone from one to the other, trying with all his will to mediate between them.  But the moment he entered Rav Kook's house, the zealots would have taken the Mishneh Berurah and thrown it under the table, and Hashem did not desire this.  He therefore did not make Aliyah.  Likutei Ha-Re'eiyah, p. 166).


Father and Daughter

Q: Is it permissible for a father to hug and kiss his grown daughter?

A: Yes, even if she is married (see Rambam, Hilchot Isurei Bi'ah 21.  Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 152:10).


Shiduch for a Blind Man

Q: Is it permissible for a blind man to touch the face of a woman on a Shiduch for purposes of becoming acquainted with her?

A: G-d forbid!  And if you are sending a text message, it seems you are not blind.  If so, why are you involving yourself with immodest questions?


Bnei Akiva

Q: Is it permissible to say 'Bnei Akiva', since it is forbidden to call a great Rabbi by his name, and it is named after Rabbi Akiva?

A: It is indeed a problem.  But it is not possible to change the name at this point (see Chinuch Be-Ahavah Vol. 2, pp. 308-311).



Q: What is the source for the Rambam's words that anyone who becomes angry is as if he worships idols (also in Hilchot Deot Chapter 2)?

A: Zohar 1:27b. 3:179a and other places there.  But this does not mean that the Rambam took it from there (since it is clear that the Rambam did not see the Zohar), but he certainly took it from Shabbat 105b and Nedarim 22a (Although the Rambam's language is not exactly like the wording of the Gemara, but rather like that of the Zohar).


Downloading Songs

Q: Is it permissible to download songs from You Tube?  After all, the singer knows that people do so?

A: It is only permissible if it is legal.  The knowledge that people break the law does not nullify the law (Shut Igrot Moshe, Orach Chaim 4:40 #19.  Ha-Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv in Sim Shalom p. 23, printed at the end of Mishpat Ke-Halachah.  Shut She'eilat Shlomo 2:374, 3:463).


Smart Phone

Q: Is it permissible to have a Smart Phone?

A: Only on condition that you are 100% certain that you will not look at forbidden things.  Obviously, it is preferable to have a stupid phone.  It is extremely smart to have a not smart phone.  See Rebbe Nachman's tale "The Wise Man and the Simple One".