Shut SMS #216

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



Q: Hasn't the time come to change the wording of "Nachem" (which we recite on Tisha Be-Av) which describes Jerusalem as the destroyed, shamed and desolate city?

A: Please come and visit our Yeshiva "Ateret Yerushalayim" which is located in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem, in the so-called "Muslim Quarter," and you will be convinced on the spot to leave it as is (since on the way you can see that much of the Old City is still in a state of destruction, and shame and is desolate of Jews.  Immediately after the Six-Day War, Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Ha-Cohain Kook was asked whether "Nachem" should be changed. He answered: "Jerusalem is still scorned and desolate, since the essence of Jerusalem is the Beit Ha-Mikdash." Le-Mikdasheikh Tuv, p. 11 #1).


Wife's Clothing

Q: My wife wears strange clothing and it really bothers me.  When I point it out, she gets insulted.  What should I do?

A: Patience.  It is impossible to change such things by force.  For a woman, her clothing is her identity, and she feels as if you are stifling her identity.



Q: Is there an idea of having a Chuppah before sunset?

A: No.  But there is an obligation to have the Chuppah at the time promised on the invitation.


Woman Reading the Ketubah

Q: Can a woman read the Ketubah under the Chuppah?

A: The entire purpose of reading the Ketubah is to separate between the Eirusin (Betrothal) and the Nisu'im (Matrimony) (Rama, Even Ha-Ezer 61:9.  Therefore, a great Rav in America, Ha-Rav Eliezer Silver, would read the Ketubah very slowly.  See "Be-Ikvei Ha-Tzon" of Ha-Rav Herschel Schachter p. 268).  In theory, it is possible to even invite a philosopher to read Plato in Greek between them.  But we do not make changes (And in American, Ha-Rav Schachter once said that in theory even a monkey could read the Ketubah in order to create a separation.  Some people were angered, mistakenly asserting that he was using an insulting expression towards women.  But Ha-Rav was using a halachic expression: "The act of a monkey".  For example, the Chatam Sofer writes that it is permissible for a monkey to serve as a messenger to deliver Mishloach Manot.  Chatam Sofer on Gittin 22b.  Or that food prepared by a monkey is still considered Bishul Akum.  Shut Shevet Ha-Levi 9:164).


Davening in a Chabad Minyan

Q: Is it permissible to Daven in a Chabad Minyan, where they believe that the Rebbe is the Messiah?

A: Yes.  A person who errs is still counted as part of a Minyan (And similarly, Ha-Rav Aharon Yehudah Leib Shteiman answers this question: "Is it possible to Daven with someone who believes in nonsense?!"  Be-Zot Yavo Aharon, p. 371).


Conversion and Intermarriage

Q: Isn't intermarriage more severe than conversion not according to the Halachah?

A: If the conversion is not according to Halachah, then it is intermarriage.


There is no Smoke without Fire

Q: Is it true that there is no smoke without fire, and if people talk about someone, it is a sign that there is some truth to it?

A: Incorrect.  There are evil people who defame others (see Chaftez Chaim, Hilchot Lashon Ha-Ra 3:7).  People also spread lies about Moshe Rabbenu (see Rashi on Bemidbar 16:15 and on Devarim 1:12).


Shehechiyanu on Television

Q: I bought a TV, should I recite Shehechiyanu?

A: We do not recite a blessing on a calamity (Berachot 54a-b).


Shiduch Controlled by His Mother

Q: I decided to get married, but I see that in every matter, the boy's mother's decides for him, and he therefore wants to live near his parents.  What should I do?

A: Since he is controlled by his mother, break it off.  "A man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife" (Bereshit: 2:24).