Shut SMS #223


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

The Western Wall

Q: Is it true that one should not simply say "The Wall" (Ha-Kotel) but rather "The Western Wall" (Ha-Kotel Ha-Ma'aravi)?

A: Yes.  Just as it is said about the ignorant that they call the Holy Ark (Aron Ha-Kodesh) as a "closest" (Aron).  Shabbat 32a (And Maharil Diskin was extremely particular regarding this issue.  To'afot Re'em p. 137.  Chicho Mamtakim Vol. 1, p. 58 #15.  Tel Talpiyot p. 31).

 

"Rabba"

Q: I heard that 3 Orthodox women were appointed as "Rabbot" in America.  Is this permissible?

A: No.  If so, she is not exactly Orthodox.  She is not called a "Rabbah" but rather "Maharat", a Hebrew acronym for Manhigah Hilchatit Ruchanit Toranit, a halachic, spiritual, Torah leader.  This is an initiative of Rabbi Avi Weiss, who has unusual opinions.  It is a slippery slope here (And the Agudat Yisrael of America declared that on account of this action, Rabbi Weiss's Shul is not Orthodox).

 

Dancing with a Broom

Q: What is the source for the custom of dancing with a broom at the wedding of one's last child to be married?

A: There is no source.  It is assumed to be a joke of a Badchan (Wedding entertainer): Sweeping away one's last child.  Approximately 10 years ago, when the Gerrer Rebbe married off his youngest son, he searched for a source for this custom and could not find one. He thus clarified that no great Rabbi did this.

 

Birkat Cohanim outside of Israel

Q: Is it known who is "One of the Sages of our time" mentioned by the Mishnah Berurah in Sha'ar Ha-Tziyun (Orach Chaim 128 #131*) who brings sources that Birkat Cohanim is also a Torah Mitzvah outside of Eretz Yisrael?

A: It is the Aderet, who wrote in one of his books that he brought these proofs and others to the Chafetz Chaim when they met in Warsaw.  I heard this from Ha-Rav Chaim Domb.

 

Dollar from the Lubavitcher Rebbe

Q: Is a dollar from the Lubavichter Rebbe Muktzeh on Shabbat?

A: No.  Since a person does not use it as money but rather as a Segulah (Madrich Le-Dinei Muktzeh, p. 49).

 

Speaking Lashon Ha-Rav about Oneself

Q: Is it forbidden to speak Lashon Ha-Ra about oneself?

A: No.  There is a story that the Chafetz Chaim was once traveling anonymously and said something which lacked respect for the Chafetz Chaim, and the listener slapped him.  But this is a unique story.  It is, however, forbidden to publicize transgressions between oneself and Hashem, since it is brazen.  Rambam, Hilchot Teshuvah (2:5).  

 

Texting on Shabbat

Q: What is the source that it is forbidden to send a text message on Shabbat?

A: Ask a child in first grade and he will tell you that using electricity on Shabbat is forbidden.

 

Reform and Conservative Rabbi

Q: Is it permissible to call a Reform or Conservative Rabbi: "Rav"?

A: Certainly not.  This is shaming the title of "Rav" which belongs to a Torah scholar (Ha-Rav Chaim Jachter wrote that Mrs. Atara Twersky told him that her father, Ha-Rav Yosef Soloveitchik, would correspond with a Conservative Rabbi.  She saw that he wrote in English and not Hebrew, and asked about it.  Rav Solovietchik responded that since he writes in English, he can use the title "Rabbi" for the sake of peace but in Hebrew he would be forced to use the title "Ha-Rav" which he did not want to do.  Beit Yitzchak #40 5768 p. 242.  And similarly, in Shut Igrot Moshe, Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein always uses the term "Rabbi" for a Reform or Conservative Rabbi and "Ha-Rav" for an Orthodox Rabbi).

 

Kissing a Book which Falls

Q: What is the source for giving a kiss to a Sefer which falls on the ground?

A: There is not obligation but this is the custom out of love.  Aruch Ha-Shulchan, Yoreh Deah 282:11.