Shut SMS #218

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



Q: I saw a great Torah scholar with a Smartphone.  Doesn't he know that there are forbidden things there?!

A: No.  He does not know.  And it once happened that a student asked Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein how he walks on a particular street on which there are forbidden images.  He responded: I didn't notice that there were forbidden images.


Jews as Amalek

Q: How should we relate to a Rabbi who calls Religious Zionist Jews Amalek?

A: Anyone who does not speak to the heart of a matter, indicates that he has nothing to say about the matter.  In practice, all segments of Am Yisrael are lacking and together we form a whole.  But certainly no one is Amalek (see Igrot Ha-Re'eiyah, Vol. 1 Igeret 311.  And see Sichot Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah – Bereshit, pp. 382-383). 



Q: I asked a text message question and received an answer that it was permissible. For your information, I later saw that a certain Rabbi forbids it.

A: It is known.  But you did not state in your question that you wanted an answer according to his opinion.  Please note this the next time you ask (see introduction to Piskei Shlomo).


Charedi Torah Scholars

Q: Why are there more Charedi Torah scholars than Religious Zionist Torah scholars?

A: Because Charedi Torah scholars began 2000 years ago, and Religious Zionist Torah scholars began 100 years ago, but the quantity and quality grows at an incredible pace.


Immodest Movie

Q: If there is a movie with immodest parts, is it permissible to watch it and not watch those parts?

A: It is forbidden, just as it is forbidden to travel on an immodest road, unless there is no alternative route, and one is therefore forced to travel on it.  But here one is not forced to do so, since it is entertainment.  Baba Batra 57b.


Bad Breathe

Q: I am newly married and I do not know how to tell my husband that he has extremely bad breathe.

A: Blame the problem on yourself and tell him that you are very sensitive.


Shomer Negiah

Q: Is it permissible to touch a girl indirectly, such as with a pencil?

A: The Yetzer Ha-Ra is so creative!  As is written in the Gemara: A person's inclination renews itself each day (Sukkah 52b.  Kiddushin 30b).


Tearing One's Garment over Yerushalayim and the Cities of Yehudah

Q: Why don't we tear our garments over seeing Yerushalayim and the Cities of Yehudah in their destroyed state?

A: Because they are under Jewish sovereignty.  See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 560, Mishnah Berurah in the name of the Beit Yosef (and see Kum Hithalech Ba-Aretz #1-2).


Spies or Golden Calf

Q: Which was worse – the Sin of the Spies or the Sin of the Golden Calf?

A: Each was worse than the other in a particular way.


Local Custom

Q: I am Ashkenazi and Daven in a Sefardi Shul.  Should I stand for Kaddish (as is Ashkenazi, but not Sephardi, custom)?

A: Act as everyone else (see Massechet Derech Eretz, Chapter 5: "A person should not stand among those who are seated or sit among those who are standing").


Lashon Ha-Ra at Work

Q: My fellow workers speak Lashon Ha-Ra against other workers in a foreign language because they think I don't understand it.  Should I tell them that I do understand to save them from speaking it or refrain since it will embarrass them?

A: Certainly inform them.  It is preferable to embarrass them a little here than a lot in the World to Come.