Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #246


Q: Is it permissible to call a child "Avram"?  After all, the Gemara in Berachot (13a) says: "Bar Kapara teaches: Anyone who calls Avraham 'Avram' transgresses a positive Mitzvah.  Rabbi Eliezer says: He transgresses a negative Mitzvah", and this is brought in Magen Avraham (156:2).

A: There is no explicit prohibition, but it is improper to do so (And Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievski answered that the Gemara in Gittin 50a quotes "Avram Choza'ah", and that which the Gemara says that "Anyone who calls Avraham 'Avram' transgresses a positive Mitzvah" – only applies to Avraham Avinu.  Derech Sichah Vol. 1 p. 32.  And see Shut Minchat Yitzchak 4:30).


Tzedakah Organizations

Q: I heard that there are many Tzedakah organizations in which much of the money goes into the pockets of the administrators.  How can I know which organization is trustworthy?

A: You should request oral certification from a Rabbi, Rebbitzin or social worker. 


Emunah of Women

Q: Is there a difference between men and women regarding Emunah?

A: No.


Soldier Davening during Guard Duty

Q: If I Daven during guard duty and an officer asks me how it's going, is it permissible to interrupt my Davening to answer him?  If I do not answer he will discover I am Davening. 

A: It is forbidden to Daven during guard duty without explicit permission.  If it is not possible to Daven before or after guard duty then you are exempt: one who is involved with one Mitzvah is exempt from performing another Mitzvah.  Sukkah 26a.  With all halachic questions, one should call the 24-hour-a-day phone line of the military Rabbinate 052-9414414.


Mourner at a Wedding

Q: My Rabbi in Yeshiva is supposed to be the Mesader Kiddushin at my wedding in a month, but he is a mourner.  Is it permissible for him?

A: Yes.  But I don't understand why you don't ask him directly.


Comforting Mouners

Q: I heard that it is forbidden to say to a mourner: "What can we do".  Why?

A: It imples that if it were possible to do something, we would, and it is impossible to do something against a decree of Hashem.  Baba Kamma 38a.  The Meharshal says, however, that this is only if one makes such a statement complaining against Hashem as if – G-d Forbid – He did an injustice.  But if it is said to ease the mourner's pain, the halachah is that it is permissible (Yam Shel Shlomo #10).


Weekly Parashah and Current Events

Q: Is there really a conection between the weekly Parashah and current events or do Rabbis just give creative give Divrei Torah?

A: There is a connection.  Magen Avraham, Chapter #580 (and so too the Tosafot on Megillah 31b).


Elderly Dog

Q: We have an elderly dog who suffers a great deal.  Is it permissible to put her to sleep?

A: Yes.  It is proper.  "His mercies are on all His works" (Tehillim 145:9.  And Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein would stand during Pesuki De-Zimra, recite it outloud, and passionately say: "Hashem is good to all, His mercies are on all His works".  Meged Givot Olam p. 72).