Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #258


Naming a Daughter after a Male Relative

Q: I saw that Ha-Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach said that there is absolutely no reason to name a daughter after a male relative (Ve-Alehu Lo Yibul Volume 2, p. 142).  And it is written in Shut Tzitz Eliezer (7:49 #13) that a strict person will refrain from doing so.  What is Ha-Rav's opinion?  Is it permissible to name a daughter after a male relative if he had a name used for both males and females, such as Simchah orYonah, or a name that can be feminized, such as Nachum-Nechama, Yosef-Yosefa or Tzion-Tziona?

A: It is a stricture not to do so, but according to the basic Halachah, it is permissible.


Downloading Songs

Q: Is it permissible to burn disks from songs I download from the internet?

A: It is certainly forbidden.  Copyright.  The creator invested time and money (Shut Igrot Mosh, Orach Chaim vol. 4 40:19.  Shut She'eilat Shlomo 2:374)!


Looking at Non-Kosher Animals

Q: Is it forbidden to look at non-Kosher animals?

A: There is no prohibition against having a picture of a non-Kosher animal or a toy in the form of a non-Kosher animal.  Although the book "Kav Ha-Yashar" says that one should limit one’s looking, this is a stringency not widely accepted.  By the way, many Ashkenazi shuls have lions on the Torah ark curtain.  Be courageous like a lion (Igrot Ha-Re'eiyah vol. 1, Igeret #10.  And in Shut Aseh Lecha Rav 8:60, Ha-Rav Chaim David Ha-Levy points out that there were non-Kosher animals pictured on the flags of the Tribes which they carried in the desert.  The Lubavitcher Rebbe, however, was strict about this practice.  And this is the custom of Chabad Chasidim.  Likutei Sichot vol. 25, pp. 309-311).


Cohain who Embarrassed Another in Public

Q: One who embarrasses another person in public is considered as if he murdered him.  If so, if a Cohain embarrasses someone in public can he recite the Birkat Cohanim, or is it forbidden since a Cohain who murders cannot recite Birkat Cohanim?

A: In this case, it is permissible for him to recite it.  Piskei Teshuvot 128 note #332.


Animal Names

Q: Is it permissible to name a child Aryeh (meaning lion) after a grandfather, or is it problematic since it is the name of a non-Kosher animal?

A: There is absolutely no problem.  Non-Kosher animals also have positive traits.  The Tribes were blessed to be like lions, wolves and donkeys.  The prophet Ezekiel saw the chariot with the image of a lion and eagle.  And throughout the generations, people were named with the names of animals, such as Devorah (bee) and Dov (bear).


Contradictory Rulings

Q: Ha-Rav is sometimes asked a question and gives a different ruling than appears in his books.  It is rare, but it happens.  How do we relate to this?

A: There are times when a question can be answered in various ways and a person is obligated to rule according to his intellectual inclination at that moment.  Sefer Ha-Chaim of Rebbe Chaim ben Bezalel, brother of Ha-Maharal (A halachic question once came to Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein and he gave a ruling which was unlike a ruling published in his Shut Igrot Moshe.  His family members asked in surprised: If Ha-Rav changed his mind then why do we republish Igrot Moshe each year without changing it?  Reb Moshe answered that there are two opinions, and both are the words of the Living G-d.  Meged Givot Olam, p. 56).


Taking Counsel with a Rabbi to Choose a Name

Q: Should we take counsel with a Rabbi in choosing our baby's name?

A: No.  This was never done in the past.  In fact, the Arizal says that when parents name their child, a spark of Ruach Ha-Kodesh shines within them…