Shut SMS #225

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

Shomer Negiah

Q: We got engaged and are getting married.  Why do we have to be Shomer Negiah?

A: It once happened that a fiancé wanted to touch his fiancée.  She asked him: When you want to eat cake, what do you do first?   He said: I say a blessing.  She then asked: I am worth more or less than a piece of cake?  He responded: Much more!  She said: If so, you need seven blessings for me (i.e. the Sheva Berachot recited under the Chuppah). 


White Pants on Shabbat

Q: Is it proper to buy white pants for Shabbat?

A: According to the Arizal, one should wear 4 white garments on Shabbat (Ben Ish Chai, Lech Lecha #18).  In practice, there is no need (Ha-Rav Ovadiah Yosef.  Halichot Olam Volume, 3, p. 61).


Beit Din Requiring Blood Check

Q: Can a Beit Din require a blood check in order to establish paternity for payment of child support?

A: Yes.  We need to clarify paternity.  If the man refuses, he is obligated to pay.  And Rabbi Saadia Gaon required such checks.  Sefer Chasidim #332 (And so too Ha-Rav Dov Prof. Frimer.  Lev Nediv, p. 75).


Returning Engagement Gifts

Q: In the event of breaking off an engagement, should one return the gifts?

A: Yes.  They were given based on the idea that the couple was getting married.  Shulchan Aruch, Even Ha-Ezer 50:4 (And so too Ha-Rav Dov Prof. Frimer.  Lev Nediv, p. 94).


Train Ticket

Q: Is it permissible to use a train ticket which I found on the floor and still has time on it?

A: It is theft.


Divorced Parents at a Wedding

Q: My parents are divorced.  My father informed me that if I invite my mother to the wedding, he will not give any money towards it.  If I don't invite her, he will pay for all of it.  What should I do?

A: Don't sell your mother for money (for an opposing opinion of Ha-Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, see Kav Ve-Naki 1:290).


Blessing on Lightening

Q: If one saw the light of the lightening but not the lightening itself, should he recite a blessing?

A: Yes.  Piskei Teshuvot 227:3.


Machine-Made Tzitzit

Q: Does one need hand-made Tzitzit, or are machine-made Tzitzit also Kosher?

A: If they are machine made and have Rabbinic certification, they are Kosher.  But hand-made is better.  Piskei Teshuvot 11:2.


Segulah for Learning Torah

Q: Is there a Segulah for growing in Torah learning?

A: Learn consistently and without interruption (And I heard Ha-Rav Herschel Schachter relate that after he was married, he and his wife did not have children, and they therefore decided to visit Eretz Yisrael.  He was told that it is worthwhile to receive a blessing from the Steipler Gaon.  The way it worked was that one bought a book from him and at the same time asked for a blessing.  The Steipler was hard of hearing, and one would communicate by writing on a notepad.  The Steipler yelled in Yiddish: What can I do for you?  Rav Schachter wrote that he wants to buy Kehilat Yaakov on Kiddushin, the Massechet they were then learning in Yeshiva.  He bought it, received the change and said that the Steipler could keep the change as a donation.  The Steipler said that he did not need the money, business is business.  Then Rav Schachter asked for a blessing for children, and he blessed him.  The Steipler asked: What else can I do for you?  Rav Schachter said that he was learning in Kolel, and is it possible to receive a blessing for success in learning?  The Steipler said: All the blessings in the world will not help. Rather sit and learn and you will succeed).


Text Message Answers

Q: I sent a question 3 times and did not receive an answer/

A: I receive approximately 400 text message questions a day, and 600 during the holidays.  To my distress – I cannot answer all of them.  If I do not answer by the following morning, turn to someone else.  I apologize.  And if you are learning in a Yeshiva, it is better in any case for you to ask your Ra"m directly.


Shaliach Tzibur Not Acceptable to All

Q: Must a Shaliach Tzibur be acceptable to everyone in the Shul?

A: A majority is sufficient.  If it were not so, it would be extremely difficult to find a Shaliach Tzibur.  Piskei Teshuvot 581:8.