Shut SMS #219

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

Babies Forgotten in Cars

Q: Are the 3 tragedies of babies dying from being forgotten in cars a hint from Hashem?

A: That we should be extremely careful.


Ashes on a Groom's Head

Q: Should one put ashes on the groom's head as a remembrance of the destruction of the Temple?

A: Yes.  Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 560.  And some are lenient and say that we remember by breaking the glass.  Aruch Ha-Shulchan and Kaf Ha-Chaim ibid.  But it is proper to put them.  Piskei Teshuvot ibid.  And say the verse: "If I forget you Yerushalayim…".  Taz ibid. (During the expulsion from Gush Katif, before Ha-Rav left, he filled a bag with sand from there.  At weddings, he places both burnt ashes from Yerushalayim and sand from Gush Katif on the groom's head). 


Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Ascending on High

Q: When Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah ascended on high was there an obligation for the students to tear their garments?

A: If one considered himself a student (And Ha-Rav Yechezkel Greenwald related that when Rabbenu passed away, this question was asked of Ha-Rav Tzvi Tau, and he directed the students to ask Ha-Rav, who said that anyone who considers himself a student should tear.  Similarly, Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievski told the yeshiva students to tear their garments when Ha-Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv passed away, since they were his students.  The booklet "Divrei Shi"ach, p. 45).



Q: My wife hugs and kisses her relatives.  I spoke to her and it did not help.  What should I do?  Ignore it?

A: Yes.  You are not her teacher but rather her friend.


Meaurement of Ha-Rav Chaim Naeh

Q: I heard that the Kiddush cup of the Chafetz Chaim was like the measurement of Ha-Rav Chaim Naeh and not like that of the Chazon Ish.  What is the source?

A: This is brought by Ha-Rav Moshe Karp as testified by the Chafetz Chaim's grandson, Ha-Rav Hillel Zacks, the Rav of the Brachfeld neighborhood in Kiryat Sefer, who inherited the Chafetz Chaim's Kiddush cup.  Hilchot Chag Be-chag – Pesach, Chapter 19 note #11 (and also brought in Meged Givot Olam Vol. 2, p. 34).  And the author of Einyaim Le-Mishpat, who inherited the Vilan Gaon's Kiddush cup, also testified that it was the smaller measurement.  Ibid.  And I also heard that someone has a Kiddush cup which was given as a gift by the Or Sameach and it is the smaller measurement as well.  As for the Mishnah Berurah, he writes that for Rabbinic Mitzvot, one uses the smaller measurement and for Torah Mitzvot, one should be strict to use the larger measurement.  271:8.  Biur Halachah ibid.  486:1 (and see Ha-Rav's commentary on Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 43:5.  And we can add that Ha-Rav Eliyahu Dessler used to recite Kiddush with a smaller Kiddush cup as long as his wife was alive, since she brought the Kiddush cup from her family and he did not want to insult her.  After she passed away, he began using a larger Kiddush cup.  Ve-Haarev Na Vol 1, p. 369-371).   


Rabbis who Err

Q: Is there an obligation to believe that Rabbis do not err?

A: No.  It is possible that they err.  Moshe Rabbenu erred three times (Sifre Matot 31:21).


Rabbi So-And-So Permits it

Q: Sometimes Ha-Rav answers a question: "Rabbi So-And-So permits it".  Does this mean that Ha-Rav does not permit it, or is there some other reason for Ha-Rav turning the questioner over to another Rabbi's answer?

A: It is either because I do not personally permit it or I do permit it but it is a Chiddush and one needs broad shoulders to allow it (Someone once asked the Chazon Ish if it is permissible for someone who suffering from sweating to shower during the 9 Days?  He answered: "Reb Elya Dushintzer holds that it is permissible".  Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievski wrote that he asked the Chazon Ish about this and he said that he does not permit it.  Orchot Rabben Vol. 1, p. 375.  And see Shut Igrot Moshe, Even Ha-Ezer 4:84.  And Ha-Rav Yehoshua Katz – Rav of Maale Adumim – once asked Ha-Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv a question, and he responded: "Reb Moshe permits it."  Rav Katz said: "But I want to know Ha-Rav's opinion."  Rav Elyashiv said: "My opinion is that Reb Moshe permits it", i.e. but he does not.  And it is related in the book "Oro Shel Olam" p. 343 about Ha-Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach that a woman once came to him after the doctors revealed in prenatal testing that there was a chance that her fetus had a birth defect, and she wanted to have an abortion.  It was known that Ha-Rav Shlomo Zalman was not among those who permitted an abortion in such a case, since he thought that the chance of the baby having a birth defect was low.  When he began to talk to the woman about it, he said that his words fell on deaf ears.  He said to her: "The truth is that I do not understand this matter so much.  I will send you to someone who understands it much more than me.  His name is Ha-Rav Eliezer Waldenberg…"  Rav Waldenberg – the Tzitz Eliezer – permitted abortion in such a case.  See Shut Tzitz Eliezer 9:51, 13:102).