Tying Shoes before Musaf
Q: I am a Cohain. When I put my shoes back on after Birkat Cohanim in Shacharit on Shabbat, do I have to tie them or can I wear them untied until I Daven Musaf?
A: You must tie them properly right away, since one should stand as before a king (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 91. Mishnah Berurah #1, 12-13).
Q: I do not have time to learn everything. Which subjects in Torah learning take precedence?
A: Learning the Halachot which are required for day-to-day living. Sefer Chasidim #1011. Shut Chavot Yair #124. And also books about Emunah and ethics. Will of Ha-Rivash, Chap. 11 #13.
Q: Why do Yeshivot learn the Massechot of Nashim (Laws relating to marriage) and Nezikim (Laws relating to damages) as opposed to day-to-day Halachot?
A: Because it helps one develop the ability to learn in depth. Later, one should learn the day-to-day Halachot in depth. Keraina De-Igarta of the Steipler Vol. 2 Letter #1. Since if one is a Lamdan (serious Torah learner) and violates transgressions, this is a desecration of Hashem's Name. See Piskei Teshuvot 155:3.
My Sister's Clothing
Q: Is it permissible for me to take my sister's clothing without her permission, since they were bought with my parent's money?
A: Certainly not. They belong to her.
Buying Tefillin without Paying Taxes
Q: Is it permissible to buy Tefillin from a Sofer Stam who does not pay taxes?
A: It is forbidden. Shut Yechaveh Da'at of Ha-Rav Ovadiah Yosef (5:64).
Repentance out of Love or Fear
Q: Which is preferable to learn – books which awaken repenting out of love or out of fear?
A: Both. See Igrot Ha-Re'eiyah of Maran Ha-Rav Kook, Letter #378 (also published in part at the beginning of Orot Ha-Teshuvah).
Q: If Hashem sees and plans the future, how do we have free choice?
A: This is a complex question for a text message. Ask a Rabbi orally or see Rambam, Hilchot Teshuvah end of Chapter 5. Shemoneh Perakim Chapter 8.
Books of the Maharal
Q: Which book of the Maharal do you recommend learning first?
A: Netivot Olam on proper character traits, and then Netzach Yisrael on Am Yisrael.
Magen David Adom or Counselor
Q: Which is preferable – volunteering as a medic in Magen David Adom or as a counselor in a youth group?
A: Both are good on the obvious condition that everything is Kosher and modest. But performing a kindness for the soul is much higher than a kindness for the body.
More than Israel has Kept Shabbat
Q: What is the meaning of "More than Israel has kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept them"?
A: It is a heretical statement of "Echad Ha-Am", which means that Shabbat does not have Divine value but only a communal-national value.