Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #257

Bentchers at a Wedding

Q: I saw that the non-Jewish worker who was cleaning up after a wedding, threw away the Bentchers which were left as a memento (not in order to denigrate them but as part of the clean up).  Perhaps it is preferable to cease this Minhag?

A: This is indeed a new innovation.  And everyone has tens of Bentchers at home and doesn't need a memento.  We should therefore cease this practice unless someone is designated to collect all of the Bentchers which remain at the end of the wedding (See Rosh Ha-Shanah 18 that the Sages established a holiday on the day in which they succeeded in annulling the mentioning of Hashem's Name in official documents, which would be disgraced by being thrown out).  


Earrings for Girls

Q: Why is it permissible for girls to have their ears pierced – aren't they deforming their bodies?

A: It is negligible (Ha-Rav Aharon Lichtenstein – Rosh Yeshiva of Har Etzion, related that his daughter wanted to have her ears pierced, but he had doubts as to whether it is permissible.  They agreed to go together to ask Ha-Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, and follow his ruling.  Ha-Rav Auerbach did not understand what Ha-Rav Lichtenstein wanted from him, and he said: "What is even your question?  By us, boys have a Brit Milah and girls have their ears pierced!"  Ve-Alehu Lo Yibol vol. 2, p. 172).


Stuttering Shliach Tzibur

Q: Can a person who stutters serve as Shliach Tzibur?

A: If the community agrees.

Q: And what about the honor of Hashem?

A: Fearing-G-d is more important than this deficiency.  The Gemara relates about a Shliach Tzibur who could not properly say the letters (Megilah 24b.  See Shai Cohain of Ha-Rav Shear Yashuv Cohain vol. 1 #1).


Drying One's Hands on His Tzitzit

Q: Is it permissible to dry my hands on my Tzitzit?

A: No, since one may not use a piece of clothing through which you perform a Mitzvah for a disgraceful purpose.  Mishnah Berurah 21:12.  Piskei Teshuvah 21 note #8.  But if one is drying his hands to perform a Mitzvah, i.e. Davening or Birkat Cohanim, it is permissible.  It is also permissible to dry one's glasses on his Tzitzit since it is not disgraceful (unlike the ruling in Halichot Shlomo 1:3 #19).  But for removing sweat is forbidden (Makor Chaim by the author of Chavot Yair #2).  It is always forbidden, however, to use one's Talit for any unholy purpose even if it is not disgraceful.  Mishnah Berurah ibid.  


"Harm will Not Befall One on the Way to Perform a Mitzvah" 

Q: How we explain the verse: "Harm will not befall one on the way to perform a Mitzvah", when Tzahal soldiers are killed in wars, and they are clearly performing the Mitzvah of protecting the Nation of Israel?

A: This is not a verse but a Gemara.  Pesachim 8b.  And it says there that this concept is in regard to an infrequent danger.  In general, it is not good to be sustained by quotes taken out of context.  It leads one astray.



Q: I have many difficulties and people tell me that it is because of my name, Rachel, since Rachel Imenu had many difficulties.  Should I change it?

A: This is a wonderful name.  Don't change it (and when Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievski was asked this question, he answered: Nonsense.  Derech Sichah Vol. 1 p. 34.  And so too Ha-Rav Ovadiah Yosef.  Shut Ma'ayan Omer 12:9).