Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #243

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).


Learning Halachah

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).


Free Choice

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.