Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #245

Baba Sali

Q: Did the Baba Sali, Rabbi Yisrael Abuchatzeira who died in 5744, only perform wonders or was he also a great Torah scholar?

A: Someone who is not a Torah scholar cannot perform wonders.  The Baba Sali was also a great Torah scholar, Dayan, Av Beit Din and Posek, but most of his halachic writings have disappeared.


Immersing Dentures

Q: Do dentures require Tevilat Kelim (immersion in a Mikveh) as do utensils?

A: No.  Dentures are not a utensil, and their use on Shabbat is not called "Grinding" (Tochen) but eating (And this is also the ruling in the book "Tevilat Kelim" of Ha-Rav Tzvi Cohain 11:20 in the name of Ha-Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach).


There is no Messiah for Israel

Q: How did the Tana (Rabbi of the Mishnah) Hillel say that there will not be a Messiah for Israel?  It lowers the expectation for the Redmpetion and lessens hope.

A: There is a misunderstanding.  1. This is not Hillel the Elder but rather Rabbi Hillel. 2. The Gemara rules that the Halachah does not follow him (Sanhedrin 99a).  3. Rashi explains that he does not say that there will not be Redemption but rather that Hashem will redeem us without the Messiah.  It is always worthwhile to learn from the original source and not to be sustained by partial, surface quotations.       


Smoking and Non-Kosher Food

Q: Is smoking as severe a prohibition as eating non-Kosher food?

A: There is an aspect to smoking that is more severe (And Ha-Rav Asher Weiss said that smoking cigarettes is like eating Treif food, and we are stricter with dangers than with prohibitions.  Today there is no doubt that smoking kills.  From his class on Parashat Ki Tzetzei 5767).


Divine Messenger

Q: What is unique about Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah among all the other Gedolei Yisrael?

A: Maran Ha-Rav Kook and Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah are special Divine messengers for the appeareance of Torah during the revival of Am Yisrael in its Land.


Pollard for Terrorists

Q: Is it permissible to release terrorists in exchange for Jonthan Pollard?

A: It is certainly forbidden, and he himself opposes it.  He is not a murderer like them but a national hero.  And see the Gemara regarding redeeming captives in Gittin 43.  But if they are releasing murderers in any event, it is a great Mitzvah to take advantage of this opportunity to free him.


Stories of Tzadikim in the Restroom

Q: Is it permissible to read stories of Tzadikim in the restroom?

A: No.  They are full of fear of Heaven (Ha-Rav Ephraim Greenblatt was also asked about reading stories of Gedolei Yisrael, such as Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein and Ha-Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky, and he responded that it is forbidden.  Shut Revivot Ephraim 8:504).


Writing Name in Cement

Q: I wrote my name in wet cement on the sidewalk and now people are stepping on it.  Will it bring me bad luck?

A: No.  But you are obligated to donate money to the city since you vandalized public property.