Shut SMS #221

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

Immodest Lecturer

Q: If I have to go to a class and the female lecturer is dressed immodesty, what should I do?

A: Stick your head in a book or notebook.  By the way, one should also not stare at a modestly dressed female lecturer (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 152:8-9).


Being Stricter than Your Rabbi

Q: Is it permissible to follow a Chumra which one's Rabbi does not?

A: Only in private, on account of "Yehura" – religious arrogance.  See Baba Kamma 81a (The author of the Kochav Mi-Yaakov once asked the Admor of Hosiatin why he does not prepare all of his water before Pesach to avoid any potential problems of Chametz?  He said that he learned this from what the author of the Degel Machaneh Ephraim said: that since the Baal Shem Tov was lenient, he does not act strictly.  He then asked: What does one lose by being strict, since it is proper to add another stricture on Pesach?  He replied that this is incorrect based on the Gemara in Beitza 36a that Abaye was punished for acting stricter than his Rabbi, Rabbah.  However, in the biography of the Arugat Ha-Bosen, it is told that he was strict to learn with his hat on even on extremely hot days.  He was asked: Why cause yourself distress?  Didn't the Ketav Sofer – your teacher – learn without his hat?  He responded: Is it forbidden to be stricter than one's Rabbis?!  Commentary on Pirkei Avot 'Az Yomru' of Ha-Rav Yitzchak Aharon Goldberger, Dayan and Rosh Yeshiva for Pupa Chasidim, pp. 74.  And see Shut She'eilat Shlomo Vol. 4, p. 285 regarding one who is strict in a place where it was decided to be lenient).


Long Pe'ot

Q: I have begun growing long Pe'ot but my wife says she is embarrassed, since it is not so acceptable in our area.  What should I do?

A: Since it is not an obligation, you should consider Shalom Bayit.


Washing Dishes on Shabbat

Q: It is extremely difficult for me to see dirty dishes in the sink.  Can I wash them on Shabbat even though we do not need them?

A: No.  It is preparing on Shabbat for a weekday.  You should therefore put them in a closed bag on the side.


Sheva Berachot

Q: Is there an obligation to have Sheva Berachot all 7 days?

A: No.  Whatever is most comfortable for the groom and bride.  After all, it is to bring them joy and not to burden them (Re'im Ahuvim pp. 165-169.  And Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein related that when he got married they only had Sheva Berachot on Shabbat, and not on all 7 days as is customary today.  Reshumei Aharon Volume 1, p. 18.  And Ha-Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach once lamented this practice and quoted what the Chatam Sofer wrote in his responsa Even Ha-Ezer #122: "That someone once had Sheva Berachot on Shabbat and the entire community mocked him", and that the Aruch Ha-Shulchan wrote in Hilchot Sukkah #640 that we do not have the custom to have Sheva Berachot every day.  Meged Givot Olam Volume 2, p. 72).


Woman Affixing up a Mezuzah

Q: Is it permissible for a woman to affix a Mezuzah?

A: Yes, since she is also obligated to have a Mezuzah.  Shut Daat Cohain #169.  Shut Yabia Omer Volume 3 Yoreh Deah #18.


Referendum on Yehudah and Shomron

Q: Should there be a referendum on the fate of Yehudah and Shomron?

A: This Land is not our personal property - it belongs to the eternal Nation of Israel for all generations, those who already lived and those who have yet to be born.  The Nation has the authority to make decisions within the framework of Halachah, but does not have the authority to decide regarding that which the Master of the Universe has already decided for eternity, such as Shabbat and the loyalty between a husband and wife (Le-Hilchot Tzibur, p. 53, 99, 111, 139).


Drunk Driver

Q: We have a driver at work who gets drunk.  If I report him, he will get fired.  On the other hand, it is dangerous.

A: You should certainly report it.  He is warned from the outset regarding it.  Baba Batra 21.