Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #237


Q: Is it permissible to have a smartphone?

A: If you are positive that you will not go onto any forbidden websites.  For example, if one has the internet blocker Netspark.


Smoking by a Pregnant Woman

Q: I am a medical student.  Should I tell a pregnant woman who is smoking how dangerous this is to the fetus?

A: First ask if she is interested in talking about it.


Burial of a Spouse

Q: Burying spouses next to each other costs thousands of Shekels.  Is it worthwhile to invest money in that?

A: There is no need.  They will be together in the Next World even if they are not buried next to one another.


Printed Ketubah

Q: Is it permissible to use a printed Ketubah or should it be handwritten?

A: There are some who are opposed to a printed Ketubah, but we see that great Rabbis use a printed Ketubah, and they know what they are doing, just as in the case with other documents.  Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat (48:1).  There are those who are strict to hand-write the names, the dates and the amounts of money.  Shach ibid. (#1).  But the basic Halachah is that it is also permissible to print these parts as well.  Shulchan Ha-Ezer (Vol. 2, p. 23).  And on the contrary, some authorities say that a printed Ketubah is preferable.  And there are those who say so in the name of the Vilna Gaon (Halichot Ha-Gra of Ha-Rav Moshe Sternbuch #184 who writes that if it is printed, the witnesses need not read the entire document since it is clear that they are familiar with the contents, which is not necessarily the case if it is hand-written.  And Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein writes that there is absolutely no advantage in a hand-written Ketubah over a printed one.  Shut Igrot Moshe, Even Ha-Ezer 1:178.  Ha-Rav Nisan Alpert – one of the leading students of Reb Moshe – related why his Rav wrote this Teshuvah.  It happened a few times that at a wedding Ha-Rav Feinstein had taken a printed Ketubah and filled it out and Ha-Rav Eliezer Silver then arrived, publically tore up the Ketubah and rewrote it by hand.  This was based on the opinion of Rabbi Yehudah in Mishnah Gittin [3:2] that we should hand-write all documents to ensure that we hand-write a Get.  Gittin 26a.  Although the Shulchan Aruch [ibid.] does not rule this way, Rav Silver was strict like the opinion of Rabbi Yehudah.  Rav Feinstein never said a word but wrote a Teshuvah that there is no advantage to be strict like Rabbi Yehudah's positon.  Ha-Rav Herschel Schachter related this story and added and we would not have known the background to this Teshuvah if Ha-Rav Alpert had not revealed it).


Bus Driver without Change

Q: I heard that according to the law if a bus driver doesn't have change then one is exempt from paying?

A: Yes.  It is logical.  Based on the Mitzvah of returning a lost object, however, one should pay the bus company when he has an opportunity.


Rashi's Commentary

Q: I heard that some of Rashi's commentary on the Tanach is not by Rashi?

A: Divrei Ha-Yamim and Iyov.

Q: It is also true that some of Rashi's commentary on the Gemara is not Rashi?

A: Nazir, most of Nedarim and Me'eilah.  The same is true of the commentary on the Rif attributed to Rashi.


Hotel Room

Q: Is it permissible to have an extra person sleep and shower in a hotel room if others paid?

A: Yes, for an extra change.