Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #252

Walking under a Ladder

Q: Is it forbidden to walk under a ladder which is leaning against the wall?

A: Not walking under a ladder is a Christian superstition.  The leaning-ladder makes a triangular shape that recalls the Trinity, and walking under it is considered a desecration of their faith.  One should, however, be careful when walking under a ladder that no object falls on him, and all-the-more-so that the ladder itself doesn't fall on him or anyone else (Ner Be-Ishon Laila p. 234).


Addition in Musaf of Rosh Chodesh

Q: During a leap-year, we add "U-le-Chaparat Pasha" into the Shemoneh Esrei of Musaf.  When do we stop saying it?

A: There are three opinions.  Mishnah Berurah (423:6).  The custom is to cease at the end of Adar Bet (This is also the custom mentioned in Luach Eretz Yisrael).


Father and Son - Yaakov and Yisrael

Q: For Ashkenazim, who are particular not to name a son after a living father, is it permissible for a father with the name Yaakov to name his son Yisrael, or visa-versa?

A: It is permissible.  It is not the same name.


Street Named after a Rabbi

Q: When a street is called after a Rabbi, does one have to call the street Rabbi X or Y, or is it permissible to just say the last name?

A: Rabbi (see Tuvcha Yabi'u Vol. 2, pp. 17-19).


Earth as the Center of the Solar System

Q: Rabbi Nachman of Breslov held firmly that the sun revolves around the earth.  How can we understand this?

A: It is indeed difficult to understand.


Informing a Family about the Death of a Tzahal Soldier on Shabbat

Q: Is it permissible to drive on Shabbat in order to inform a family of the death of a soldier in Tzahal?

A: Yes, out of a fear that the family will find out on their own, and this could be life-threathening to an elderly or ill person.  It is obviously preferable that the driver be a non-Jew.


Smoking on Yom Tov

Q: Is it permissible to smoke on Yom Tov?

A: It is forbidden to smoke even on a weekday (Shut Tzitz Eliezer 17:21.  Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievsky in She'eilat Rav 1:52.  Shut Teshuvot Ve-Hanhagot 4:115.  Ha-Rav Nisim Karelitz in a letter at the beginning of the book "Chaim Le-lo Ishun".  Ha-Rav Ovadiah Yosef in Maran Pe'er Ha-Dor p. 31).      


Wrapping Tefillin Straps around One's Fingers

Q: Sefardim put on the hand Tefillin while seated.  Does the same apply for wrapping the straps around one's finger?

A: This is done standing.  The same is true for removing them (Mishnah Berurah 27:8.  Kaf Ha-Chaim 28:6).


Teachings of Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah

Q: What are the central tenets of the teachings of Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah?

A: Love and faith.  Love of Hashem and Israel and faith in Hashem.  Orot p. 69.