answers hundreds of text message questions a day! Here's a sample:
Is it permissible to go to the Knight Festival in Yerushalayim?
No, they were Christians and killed Jews during the Crusades.
What is the source that it is forbidden for a woman to drive a car?
She is permitted to (After all, Rivka drove a camel.Bereshit 25:61-64.And see Rabbenu Chananel at the beginning of
Is it possible to have one Chief Rabbi (instead of both a Sefardic Chief Rabbi
and Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi)?
If the Nation puts its trust in him.The
same applies for Rabbis of cities.
or Eretz Yisrael
Which is preferable - a Jew living in Eretz Yisrael who does not observe the
Torah and Mitzvot or a Jew who lives outside of Israel who observes the Torah
Faulty logical: You are negating the intermediary position by presenting the only
two extreme possibilities: One should be a normal Jew, i.e. observing Torah and
Mitzvot here in Eretz Yisrael (Regarding the actual question, see Tal Chermon –
Moadim pp. 134-135, that it depends on one's inner motivation.There are positives on both sides.And this appears to be a dispute between the
Eim Ha-Banim Semeichah and the Satmar Rebbe.The Eim Ha-Banim Semeichah [pp. 28, 58] writes that one who builds the
Land, even without any holy intention, but only for his own benefit, performs a
greater spiritual repair in the upper realms than the greatest Tzadik who
recites his Tikun Chatzot with crying and lamentations over the Divine Presence
and the Exile.And the Satmar Rebbe
completely rejects this notion, since one who performs transgressions in Eretz
Yisrael, makes the Land impure, and his reward is offset by his loss.Vayoel Moshe, Maamar Yishuv Eretz Yisrael
#50-54 and elsewhere).
The current Pope has shown himself to be a major appeaser.Is this positive?
This is a deception, since he has no other choice, by which to bring us close
to Christianity.Christianity is not our
friend at all, but rather it is our greatest enemy in history.See Orot, Yisrael U-Techiyato.
Why don’t we kill all the heretics among the Jewish People?
I see that you want to outdo Hitler.He
murdered one-third of Nation of Israel and you want to murder two-thirds.
Where should one light his Chanukiyah in a hotel?
In his room, and he should remain present the entire time to avoid danger, and
extinguish it after half an hour (since this is the basic Mitzvah).If it is impossible, he should light in the
dining room or outside the entrance of the hotel (This is also the ruling of
Ha-Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv.Ashrei
Ha-Ish, p. 263).
about a Death
Should an older, frail man be informed that his brother has passed away when it
might negatively impact his health?And
what about Shiva?
He should not be informed.It is
considered Lashon Ha-Ra.One is not obligated
in the laws of mourning if he does not know (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah
337:1.See Aruch Ha-Shulchan ibid.
1-2.And when the brother of Ha-Rav
Ovadiah Yosef, Ha-Rav Nissim, passed away, Ha-Rav Ovadiah was not informed
since there was concern for a deterioration of his health).
How do we deal with the recent phenomenon of great Rabbis being accused of
crimes and even being arrested?
This is an important opportunity to teach ourselves two great ethical and
communal principles which apply not only to Rabbis but to every individual.
first principle is that we do not accuse a person of anything before it is
conclusively proven that he transgressed.The police are justified in checking, investigating and arresting if it
is necessary.Their obligation is to
relate to every complaint and clarify whether or it is true.However, we must not decide that someone who
is suspected is guilty.Before anything
is proven, every person – whether a Rabbi, a politician or an average citizen -
is considered completely innocent.
is worthwhile to mention in this context that scientific thinking in general is
based on the idea that anything which has not been proven is not accepted.I remember from my youth hearing a person
speaking loudly into a public telephone and saying: "Sir, I am a Cartesist
(a student of the great French philosopher René Descartes, the father of
critical thinking).I therefore cannot
accept anything before it is proven to be so."
second principle is that there is a severe prohibition of Lashon Ha-Ra, i.e.
relating negative things about a person, even if they are true.This is not only a severe prohibition from a
spiritual, ethical and religious perspective, it is also a phenomenon which
threatens to undermine and destroy society.In ancient Rome, a person who slandered another was punished with exile,
not because the Romans were holy people, but because they made a great effort
to create and advance a healthy society.
when a person is investigated, and all the more so arrested, whether he is a
Rabbi or not, there is a severe prohibition against revealing and publicizing
Can a person who is not a Torah scholar suddenly become a prophet?
Not a prophet and not a person with Ruach Ha-Kodesh, since an unlearned person
cannot be righteous, and righteousness is a condition for holiness and Ruach
Ha-Kodesh.Shaarei Kedusha of Rabbenu
Chaim Vital 3:8.
How then can we explain Manoach?
This was a one-time event.So too
Avimelech and Bilaam's donkey.Shut
the Chuppah Pole
Is it true that if one holds the Chuppah pole it is a Segulah for finding a
There is no source for this (This was also the response of Ha-Rav Chaim
Kanievski.Segulot Raboteinu, pp.
for Chanukah Wicks
I heard that there is a Segulah to find a match by taking the leftover oil and
wicks from the Chanukiyah, burning them and then walking over them 7
times.What is the source?
Nonsense (And Ha-Rav Ben Tzion Mutzafi wrote in Shut Doresh Tzion: I have not
heard about this).
the way, regarding burning the wicks, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 677:4)
writes that one should burn the leftover oil in the Chanukiyah at the
conclusion of Chanukah.The commentaries
add that the same should be done with the wicks which are saturated with the
oil.The reason one should burn them is
because they were set aside for a Mitzvah and may not be used for another
purpose (such as burning or eating).If
they are put aside for the next year, there is a fear that they will
accidentally be used (see Tur ibid. and Mishnah Berurah #19).
so, it would appear that there is no obligation to burn them according to the
basic Halachah, since the only fear is that someone may use them.It would also therefore be permissible to
bury them or place them in a plastic bag and throw them out.
his commentary on Pirkei Avot 'Az Yomru' (pp. 131-133), Ha-Rav Yitzchak Aharon
Goldberger, Dayan and Rosh Yeshiva of Chasidei Pupa, writes that he discussed
this question with the Admor of Pupa.Rav Goldberger once saw the Admor in the middle of the night bothering
himself to burn them in the courtyard, moving them around with a stick in the
fire until they were completely burnt up into ash.Rav Goldberger said that perhaps there is no
obligation to burn the wicks, just as it is permissible to throw out detached
Tzitzit as long as it is done in a non-disgraceful manner, or to place them in
a Geniza according to the custom of those who are meticulous in Mitzvah
observance (Shulchan Aruch and Rama, Orach Chaim 21:1).Similarly, it is permissible to wrap
separated Challah in paper and throw it in the garbage if it is difficult to
burn it, so that no mishap occurs (Mahar"i Steif brought in Teshuvot
Ha-Maor.And also brought in Moadim
Uzmanim 7:177.See also Shut Minchat
Admor of Pupa responded that perhaps his words are correct, but since our Sages
used the term "to burn it", he prefers to perform the obligation
according to what our Sages said.He is
therefore particular to completely burn the wicks.And this is the Minhag among some Chasidim,
and the meticulous burn them among a large group of people.
did see, however that Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievski answered that the wicks may be
buried (Shut Yadon Moshe 12:71).
however, has no connection to a Segulah – M.T.]
[Be-Ahavah U-Be-Emunah – Vayeshev
5774 – translated by R. Blumberg]
Charedim as yourself.
reason: Obviously, they too are Jews. Loving your fellow Jew means loving the
entire Jewish People and not just those similar to you. You don’t need a Torah
source for this. It’s natural. Torah sources serve where the act does not come
naturally, but requires in depth analysis and effort.
reason: Charedim means Torah: Torah learning, Torah observance, devotion to
Torah. When they talk, it’s based on Torah. Even if they err, for example,
regarding Zionism, it’s based on Torah. They’re not like the secular, whose
starting point is not Torah. So the Charedim are closer to us than are the
secular. We and the Charedim share precisely the same goal. Our argument has to
do with the means, the path. The secular, however, have a different goal. Obviously,
deep in their souls their goal is the same, but they express themselves about a
even though the Charedim oppose Zionism, they still contribute a great deal to
it through the vigilance they maintain. One requires a bit of expansive
thinking to understand this, but let us avail ourselves of Maran Ha-Rav Avraham
Yitzchak Ha-Cohain Kook’s words to his disciple, Dr. Moshe Zeidel, who had
complaints against the Charedim: “Those innocent Charedim, who in the depths of
the purity of their hearts opposed Zionism, are the very same people who
refined it and removed a large part of its dross, until they brought it,
through their negative actions, to such a level as being worthy to dress it in
practical, royal attire, rather than the spirit of the House of Israel just
dispersing it.” They, for their part, have “a sort of heartfelt protest based
on their sensing the great light of the soul” (Igrot Ha-Re'eiyah 3:156)
that Maran Ha-Rav Kook and Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Kook loved the secular
more than they loved the Charedim. Nonsense! They loved everybody! Rav Tzvi
Yehudah said that learning the proper attitude to the secular, whom he defines
as “our friends-opponents,” continues: “From here we must learn by a logical
process the special value and need of correcting our relationship with parts of
our public who are within our camp, and who are equal partners with us in
maintaining a vigil on Torah and Mitzvot in the rebirth of Israel and the
return to their land. From the nature of those far removed we learn the nature
of those close (Le-Netivot Yisrael 2:227).
let us not teach the Charedim to love the secular. Let us not teach the
Charedim to love the State of Israel or the Israeli army. Rather, let us teach
ourselves to love the Charedim.
reason: Amongst the Charedim are Torah scholars whom must be related to with
reverence and fear. The Talmud in Sanhedrin says that whoever denigrates a
Torah scholar is deemed a heretic. The Jerusalem Talmud teaches that it’s like
a dome made of stones. If one removes one stone, i.e., if one harms a single
Torah scholar, the entire roof falls down. G-d does not forgive those who harm
love your friend as yourself, including the Charedim.
classified as your “friend” in every way. As Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto wrote,
“The Torah goes ahead and makes a general rule that includes everybody: ‘Love
your neighbor as yourself.’ This means ‘as yourself,’ without any difference;
‘as yourself, without any differences, without tricks and plots, literally ‘as
yourself’”. (Mesillat Yeshaim 11).
Is it worthwhile for the State of Israel to freeze building in the
"Settlements" for the sake of much sought-after peace?
There is no need to be a renowned Middle-East expert to know that the Arabs lie
and deceive.The fact that for well over
60 years, much innocent Jewish blood has been shed, leaving orphans and widows,
is enough for us understand this fact.To our great distress, the Rambam already knew this when, in this very
context, he mentioned the verse: "I am peace, but when I speak, they are
for war" (Tehillim 120:7.Rambam,
foreign reporter once asked me: Hasn't the time come for the State of Israel to
lay down its arms for the sake of peace?Like every Jew, I responded to the question with a question: In your
opinion, what would happen if all of the Arabs countries and all of the
terrorists laid down their arms tomorrow?He answered: The State of Israel would do the same.I then asked: And what happen if the opposite
occurred and Israel laid down its arms?He said: Within 15 minutes, the State of Israel would be wiped out.I then turned to him: If so, who is the
obstacle to peace?
above all, have we ever seen a country in the world give up its territory to
another who threatens it with war, in order to attain peace?!Don't forget – this Land belongs to us.The Arabs have 25 countries, 500 times the
size of our country, and do not need to take a bite out of our Land.
was, is and always will be our Land.It
is our Land according to Hashem, according to the Torah, according to the
Tanach, according to history, according to the League of Nations and according
to the UN.
are not frightened from the threat of thieves at midday.
friend who went on vacation in Alaska told me that while there, he sat by the
sea, fishing. During the flight in the small plane that brought them there,
someone jokingly asked: "What happens if a bear approaches us?" The
group leader didn't laugh. He answered: "Look it straight in the eye and
say to it: 'Hey bear, it's my place!'" Later on when my friend was
fishing, he heard a rustling behind him. He turned around and saw a terrifying
sight – a bear was threatening him. He had the courage to look it in the eye
without blinking and to say: "'Hey bear, it's my place!" The bear
growled, turned around and left.
We must say the same thing, clearly and without fear, to the Americans, to the
Arabs and to the entire world: "'Hey bear, it's my place!"
answers hundreds of text message questions a day! Here's a sample:
with Color Change
Is it permissible on Shabbat to use a baby diaper with an indicator which changes
color to let the parents know when the baby's diaper is wet?
A: Yes.It is an unintentional act.And
it is performed by a baby (see Shemirat Shabbat Ke-Hilchata
18:18 note #70).
Message with Girls
Is it permissible for boys to text with girls?
Certainly not.Kitzur Shulchan Aruch
Is it permissible for me to have two Rabbis, one which I turn to for certain
issues and another which I ask about other issues?
Yes.In the Gemara, Abaye always followed
the opinion of Rav except for three issues in which he followed the opinion of
kissing the Sefer Torah
Is it permissible for the Shaliach Tzibur to carry the Torah close to the Ezrat
Nashim in order for the women to kiss the Torah?
No.1. It is immodest (Kitzur Shulchan
Aruch 152:8).2. We do not change the
accepted order of Davening (Shut Ha-Rashba 1:323.See Shut Orach Mishpat #35).
Does the Halachah still apply that a daughter does not inherit?
Yes.Obviously, the sons may waive their
portion, which is certainly praiseworthy.But, nonetheless, the daughter must be provided with sustenance which is
occasionally more money than the inheritance would be (See Rama, Even Ha-Ezer
113:2.Choshen Mishpat 281:7.And the sons of Ha-Rav Ovadiah Yosef
ztz"l signed a document which would provide their sisters with equal
inheritance from their father).
Is there any significance when a person dies on the Yahrtzeit of a great
No.This always occurs, since there were
hundreds of thousands of Tzadikim, and many have died on each day of the year.
Is there a source for the custom to place a carpet under the feet of the
Cohanim during the Birkat Cohanim?
No.See Piskei Teshuvot 128 note #144.
leading Kabbalat Shabbat
Is it permissible for a woman to lead Kabbalat Shabbat?
G-d forbid!And it is a double
transgression since it is done in the name of the community.See the article "Le-Mikdash Me'at"
of Maran Ha-Rav Kook in Ma'amrei Ha-Re'eiyah.
Is it permissible to place objects on top of Sefarim?
Certainly not, not even a pen (Shut Igrot Moshe, Orach Chaim 4:72).
Supplies at Work
Is it permissible to use office supplies at work, such as paper, tape, pen,
etc. for personal use?
Q: What is
the source that Davening at Kever Rachel is a Segulah for fertility?
A: There is no source.Praying is obviously always beneficial, and
this is certainly true at Kever Rachel (And Ha-Rav Ben Tzion Mutzafi similarly
writes in Shut Doresh Tzion: I do not know of such a Segulah and its source).
Q: What is the source that a
picture of Kever Rachel is a Segulah?
A: There is no source (And
Ha-Rav Ben Tzion Mutzafi similarly writes there: There are those who say this
is a Segulah, but I am unaware of it).
Ring that Fell during Wedding
Q: If the ring fell out of
the groom's hand during the wedding, does this mean something?
A: No.The groom was just excited and nervous (Ner
Be-Ishon Laila, p. 151.And it once
happened that the groom dropped the ring and people whispered: It is a sign.The Rabbi calmed them: It is a simply a sign
that the right time was still a few seconds away…).
New Mother Going Out
Q: Is it forbidden for a new
mother to go out at night during the first 40 nights after giving birth?
Is wearing two or more Talitot a Segulah?
No. (And Ha-Rav Ben Tzion Mutzafi similarly writes in Shut Doresh Tzion: There
is no such Segulah.There are many
stories about why Ha-Rav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg – Rosh Yeshivah of Torah Or –
wears so many pairs of Tzitzit [in his younger years, 150 pairs, and as he has
aged about half that number].Some say
that it is in order to fulfill all of the different opinions regarding Hilchot
Tzitzit.Others explain that he began
when his daughter was ill in order to fulfill a Mitzvah in her merit.But Ha-Rav Scheinberg himself says: "It
is 15-20 Kilo of Mitzvot…""Mishpachah" Magazine of 12 Nisan 5768 #851.This, however, is the unique practice of a
[Be-Ahavah U-Be-Emunah –
Vayishlach 5774 – translated by R. Blumberg]
constantly praise the Master of all, day and night, whether He gives us everything
or nothing. Yet the truth is that He gives us so much blessing, miraculously or
naturally, that even if we wanted to praise Him day and night, our praise would
praise Him for the air we breathe, for the eyes with which we see, for the sun and
the moon, for the flowers and the gardens, for our body and soul.Yet first and foremost, we must praise G-d
for not having made us like the nations of the world, and not having placed us
like the families of the earth, for not having designed our destiny to be like
theirs, nor our lot like that of all their multitude. He is the Master of all,
but within that “all”, we stand out. We belong to the family of nations, yet
within that family we are unique, bearing the souls of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov,
Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah. We are a special family, a marvelous family, an
We were a
family already before the Sinai Revelation, the family of a special Nation, a family
eternally beloved. This is the greatest kindness that exists. How fortunate
that we are who we are, whether or not we are aware of it.
nations – G-d have mercy on them – who are wild men, men on the outside but
wild beasts on the inside. Thank G-d He did not make us like them.
hate them. Every day, in the “Aleinu” prayer, we pray for them, thrice daily: “Perfect
the world under the reign of the Almighty, such that all mankind will call upon
Your Name, and all the wicked of the earth will be turned to You.”
hate them. At the end of our prayers, we pray for them that they should all merit
to become righteous nations. On that day, G-d will be one and His Name one. Yet
in the meantime, there is only us.
man, that he was created in G-d's image, and above him stands Israel, who are
called G-d's children. All flesh are destined to be beloved and upright, and to
live in eternal peace.
We are the
family of Avraham the Hebrew. The entire world was on one side and he was on
the other, and together with that, G-d blessed him. “All the nations of the
earth shall be blessed through you” (Bereshit 12:3).
As far as
all the wicked turning to G-d, that will come to pass. It won't be today or tomorrow,
and apparently not the day after tomorrow either, but it will happen, and we shall
await it patiently.
We are the
disciples of Yehoshua bin Nun, who conquered the Land and settled it. It was he
who authored the “Aleinu” prayer, quoted above, which we have recited down through
the generations, relating to those same nations who shed our blood and who
still continue to do so.
for us, how good our portion and how pleasant our lot. How fortunate we are to
I want to grow a beard but my mother is opposed.What should I do?
You should grow it, and appease her by telling her that you want to marry a
woman who wants a husband with a beard (Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievski related that the
Chafetz Chaim also gave the same advice, and the mother of the man agreed that
he should grow a beard.Minchat Todah p.
Leaving Eretz Yisrael
Is there more of a prohibition for a Cohain to leave Eretz Yisrael for the
impurity of the lands outside of Israel than the general prohibition of leaving
Yes (And this is the opinion of Ha-Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach.Halichot Shlomo – Tefillah, Chap. 10 note
#12.Unlike the opinion of Va-Yoel
Moshe, Maamar Yishuv Eretz Yisrael, Chap. 132 #11 and Shut Teshuvot Ve-Hanhagot
Why is it written in the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 75:3) that it is forbidden
to hear a woman sing during Keriat Shema, it is always forbidden to hear a
Then it is forbidden to even hear your wife sing (And the Rama explains so
for Rav Ovadiah's Honor
Is it permissible for me to give someone a slap who makes fun of Rav Ovadiah?
No.But admonish him.
in Name of Yitzchak Rabin
Is there a problem to Daven in a Shul named in memory of Yitzchak Rabin?
There is certainly no problem.That is a
A Rabbi said that one who watches adult films on the internet is evil.Is this true to such an extent?
Certainly, since these films are made by taking advantage of poor and down-cast
women's weaknesses, forcing them, raping them and destroying them.One who is a partner to wickedness is evil.
a More Beautiful Woman
Rabbi Akiva says that if one finds a woman more beautiful than his wife, he is
permitted to get a divorce.Gittin
90a.This is difficult to understand.
If one finds a woman more beautiful than his wife, it is a sign that the
marriage is in poor condition.
What should we do if European countries boycott Israeli products?
Let's see how they get along without the technological advances we invented in
cell phone, computers and medical equipment.
Counsel with One's Wife
Why did Yaakov Avinu take counsel with Rachel and Leah about whether or not they
should return to Israel, when Hashem explicitly commanded him to do so?
A: One should not give his wife orders but
include her respectfully in the decision.Commentary of the Shelah ibid.
I dress extremely modestly but every time a hair pops out of my head-scarf, my
husband points it out.I am insulted and
I tell him.He then gives me
Mussar.What should I do?
Tell him you are no longer a teenager in high school.And in any case, not all religious high
schools point out to the girls when something needs improvement.If need be, speak to my wife.
Why does the injury Yaakov incurs when wresting with the angel translate into a
prohibition against eating the Gid Ha-Nasheh (sciatic nerve) of an animal?What do the animals have to do with Yaakov's
Answer: This question is not specific to this
halachah but is relevant to many halachot.For example, when a person becomes impure, his purification is affected
by the sprinkling of the ashes of the red heifer.The unsolved murder of a wayfarer is atoned
for by a decapitated calf.A goat is
sent to Azazel as part of the atonement process on Yom Kippur for the
sins of the Jewish People.It is evident
that there is a connection between human existence and the animal kingdom.This is because the whole of existence is a
single organism referred to in Hebrew as the "Datzcham" Unit - an
acrostic standing for the four realms of existence: a. "Domem" –
"Tzome'ach" – vegetation.c.
"Chai" – the animals. d. "Medaber" – the speaking being,
i.e. humans (See Orot Ha-Kodesh 2, p. 361).All levels are interrelated and connected through hidden pathways.We and the animals are connected.This was very obvious in Noach's Ark where
the whole remnant of the animal world was dependent on Noach.Therefore, an improvement in one part of this
united whole, such as in the animal kingdom, can heal and improve another part
of the organism, namely, man.This is
just like a human being who takes a tablet through part of his body and yet is
healed an in entirely different part, because the same vitality flows through all
of the limbs and thus unites them.A
frailty in Yaakov's thigh thus can be reflected in the prohibition to eat a
certain limb in an animal.
Q: Is it true
that one should not pass a knife from one person's hand to another's but rather
should place it on the table and the other person pick it up?
A: Not true (see
Ner Be-Ishon Layla p. 240).
Clothing on the
Q: Can I wear the
dress of a woman who passed away?I was
told that it will bring me negative energy.
A: Nonsense (One
should only refrain from wearing shoes that were being worn by a person when he
passed away.Gesher Ha-Chaim Vol. 1
Q: There is a
concept of a complete fast called "Inedia", in which one eats no food
and is sustained by the air, light and universal energy.Some have followed this method for years and have
A: Nonsense.A person needs food and drink.Those who claim that they do not eat are
deceptive and eat in secret.A critical
medical trial with the head of the cult was stopped after a few days because it
reached a dangerous stage.Students pay
a huge sum of money for these seminars.Three naïve students died from starvation (Skepdic.com).
Segulah for Woman
to Cover Her Hair
Q: My wife does
not want to cover her hair.Is there a
Segulah so she will?
A: Speak to her
heart (And similarly in Shut Doresh Tzion, Ha-Rav Ben Tzion Mutzafi said: There
are no Segulot.Work and you will be
successful in explaining it to her).
To Enrich the spiritual life of the English-speaking World through the Torah of Ha-Rav Shlomo Aviner, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem. By offering English translations of Rav Aviner’s written and oral Torah, this division of the yeshiva aims to expose English speakers to a powerful, sensitive and poetic voice unparalleled in our time. His unfailing optimism, his tolerance and love all Jews, his guidance for harmony within the Jewish family and his dedication to Eretz Yisrael, the State of Israel and Tzahal will inspire and enrich the lives of all who may now have access to his words.