Shut SMS #222

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

Text Message Responsa by the Rishonim

Q: Did the Rishonim also answer questions like text message responsa?

A: Yes.  For example, the Rambam was asked if one owes money to a widow, will the Shemittah year cancel it out or not?  He answered: "It will be cancelled" (Teshuvot Ha-Rambam #237).


Arab who Hits

Q: If an Arab hits me, can I hit him back?

A: Through Tzahal…


Water which Drips from Air Conditioner

Q: Is the water which drips from an air conditioner on Shabbat considered Muktzeh?

A: Yes.  On account of Nolad (an item created on Shabbat), since it is created from the moisture in the air.  See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 310 Mishnah Berurah #32.  Unlike what I wrote in my book Shut She'eilat Shlomo 4:103.


Jews – Amalek

Q: How should I respond to the words of a Rabbi who refers to other Jews as Amalek?

A: I – the humble one – am not involved with this issue, and I recommend for you not to be involved with it either.


Ascending on to the Temple Mount

Q: Is there a Mitzvah to ascend on to the Temple Mount?

A: Yes.  In order to bring a sacrifice.  See Rambam at the beginning of Hilchot Chagigah.  And there is also a prohibition of not appearing before Hashem (on the Temple Mount) empty-handed.  Rambam ibid. (See similarly the booklet "Divrei Shi"ach" of teachings between Ha-Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievski, p. 26.  And I have heard that some Gedolei Yisrael explains that one should ascend to fulfill the Mitzvah of Mora Mikdash – showing awe to the Temple, but this is a big Chiddush).


Number on Line

Q: If I took a number and am waiting on line but decide not to wait after all, is it permissible for me to give the number to another person?

A: No.  It is forbidden to help one person on the backs of others.


Cell Phone in Shul

Q: A cell phone rang in Shul, everyone looked at me thinking that it was mine and I pointed at the person whose phone was actually ringing.  Was this Lashon Ha-Ra?

A: One should signal: It is not me.


Ruling in the Name of a Rabbi

Q: I heard in the name of Rabbi… that one should…

A: If you did not hear it with your own ears, do not rely on it.  Check and please let me know.

Q: I asked the Rabbi and he said that he said nothing like this, rather someone asked him for a blessing and he blessed him.

A: The answer therefore hinged on the question (I saw a similar incident in the booklet "Divrei Shi"ach" of teaching between Ha-Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievski, p. 26).


Immersion in the Second Temple Period

Q: How did women immerse in the Second Temple Period, if they did not build Mikvehs?

A: Sea, river, spring, well.  Not only women but also men.  And the forty years in the desert as well, they immersed in Miriam's well, springs and different puddles (And Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievski said that in the desert they immersed Miriam's well.  Derech Shichah Volume 1, p. 318).


Netilat Yadayim Cup

Q: Does a Netilat Yadayim cup made from plastic require immersion in a Mikveh?

A: No.  1. It was made by Jews.  2. Plastic does not require immersion.  3. It is not a utensil for eating.