Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #242


Q: How much should one give to someone who makes a Shidduch for them?

A: I recommend 5000 Shekels from each side.

Q: That's a lot!

A: It's a little!  A Shidduch is worth much more than a Million Shekels.  We should remember that the wedding itself costs more than 10,000 Shekels...


Skiing on Shabbat

Q: Is it permissible to ski on Shabbat?

A: It is forbidden on account of various problems: 1. The ski lift, even if it is activated by non-Jews for Jews.  2. According to some opinions, making slits in the snow violates the prohibition of plowing.  3. Leaving the Techum Shabbat.  4. Carry the skis on one's feet from a snowy area to a non-snowy area.  5. Carrying the ski poles.  6. It is a weekday activity (Ha-Rav Chaim Kanieski was asked this same question, and responded: I do not know what it [skiing] is.  They showed him pictures of people skiing, and he said that it is the same as the prohibition of sailing on Shabbat.  In general, Rav Kanievski holds that the Halachah regards snow in a manner similar to water.  The book "Ha-Noten Sheleg" p. 333).


The Blessing of "Poke'ach Ivrim"

Q: Should a blind person recite the blessing of "Poke'ach Ivrim" (Blessed is the One… who opens the eyes of the blind) in the morning blessings?

A: Yes, since it is general gratitude for what Hashem has done in His world.  Shulchan Aruch.  Mishnah Berurah (Shulchan Aruch 46:8.  Mishnah Berurah #25).


Child and Shul

Q: What should I do if my child does not want to come to Shul?

A: If you force him to come and he Davens, it is permissible to force him.  But if he comes and is bored out of his mind, do not force him, but rather come to an understanding with him that if he comes for part of the time and Davens, he will receive a prize (see Ha-Rav's book "Chinuch Be-Ahavah").


Planting a Tree in the Shul's Courtyard

Q: It is permissible to plant trees in the Shul's courtyard?

A: There are some authorities who forbid it just as it is forbidden to plant a tree near the altar in the Temple (since idol worshippers worshipped trees).  Rambam, Avodah Zarah 7:9.  And others permit it.  Therefore, one should refrain from doing so.  But even those who forbid it allow: planting a bush even the height of a person, planting a tree next to the street, and leaving trees that were there before the Shul was established (Piskei Teshuvot 150:19).


Nurse Returning Home on Shabbat

Q: I am a nurse.  If I am working on Shabbat and my shift ends, am I permited to drive home or take a ride from a non-Jew?

A: According to Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein, it is permissible.  According to Ha-Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, it is forbidden.  Therefore, one should return home in a car driven by a non-Jew.  If this is not possible, it is permited for a Jew to drive (Shut Igrot Moshe Orach Chaim 4:80, 5:25.  Shut Minchat Shlomo 1:8.  Ha-Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach adds a note there that this issue was discussed in the important and famous book "Shut Igrot Moshe" by the famous Gaon and Tzadik, Ha-Rav Feinstein, and he only printed his Teshuvah after asking permission from Ha-Rav Feinstein.  See Ha-Torah Ha-Mesamachat pp. 229-230.  Other authorities who hold like Ha-Rav Feinstein include: Ha-Rav Yaakov Yisrael Kanievski in the name of the Chazon Ish.  Orchot Rabbenu Vol. 1 p. 213.  The Brisker Rav, Ha-Rav Velvele Soloveitchik, brought in Asiya #56 p. 64.  Shut Teshuvot Ve-Hanhagot 3:105, 4:80.  Shut Amud Ha-Yemini #17).