Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #262 - Shut Operation Protective Edge #2

Home Front Command

Q: Ha-Rav always says that one should listen to the Home Front Command.  What is the halachic obligation to do so?

A: 1. "Guard your souls".  2. The obligation to listen to the State and Army.  3. Intellect.


Routine during a Time of War

Q: During a time of war, should we continue on with our normal routine while our soldiers are waging war?

A: Yes.  We have been in this state in different forms for more than 60 years.  The goal of terror is to break life and routine.


Husband Called Up for Reserve Duty

Q: My husband was called up for reserve duty for Operation Protective Edge.  What should we do in our family?

A: Keep your routine, repent, Daven and give Tzedakah.


Operation Protective Edge and Soldiers who have Fallen

Q: Despite my strong faith in Hashem it is very difficult for me to digest the great number of soldiers who have been killed.

A: When Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah was asked this question during the Yom Kippur War, when perhaps a hundred-fold more soldiers fell, he responded: Where is your contract?!  Where is the contract which Hashem signed for you that we would not be killed in war?!


Sin Caused the Need for Operation Protective Edge

Q: What sin caused the war of Operation Protective Edge?

A: You don't know?!  It was on account of the horrible sin of destroying Gush Katif, a sin against Hashem, a sin against the Nation and a sin against the people who lived there - and all because of false dreams of peace.  After all, when we lived there, there were no missiles or tunnels.  We lived in peace and contentment in Gush Katif.    

Q: So should we not forgive the people who destroyed Gush Katif now that we see the results?

A: One is not obligated to forgive them, but it is better to fill oneself with joy than resentment.


Wounded Arabs during Operation Protective Edge

Q: Do our hospitals need to take in Arabs from Gaza who were wounded on account of Hamas?

A: Yes.  Based on 1. morality.  2. national benefit, i.e. we care for other people and in return other people care for Jews.


Operation Protective Edge and Music during the 3 Weeks

Q: Is it permissible to listen to music now since it is a time of war?

A: No.  There is no connection.  But we must be more particular regarding Halachah during this time.


Music for a Soldier during the 3 Weeks

Q: I am stationed on the border with Gaza.  Is it permissible for me to listen to music during the 3 weeks in order to relax and bring a little joy?

A: Yes, if it is a military need.


Special Prayer for Operation Protective Edge

Q: Is there a special prayer to say during Operation Protective edge?

A: Tehillim #35.

Q: I meant something aside from Tehillim?

A: The Prayer for the State of Israel.


Honoring Parents and Operation Protective Edge

Q: I want to go down south and help but my parents object.  What should I do?

A: When you are independent, do as you wish, but as long as you live in your parents' house, consider their feelings.


Operation Protective Edge and Youth Activities

Q: Should we cancel youth activities on account of the war?  After all, our soldiers are waging war?

A: Do not cancel them.  Part of the struggle is not to break the routine of life.  But recite Tehillim at the beginning of each activity for the victory and peace of our soldiers.


Prayer for a Non-Jewish Soldier Fighting in Operation Protective Edge

Q: Is it permissible to Daven for a Druze soldier who was wounded in our war over our Land?

A: Of course, he spilled his blood for this purpose (see Shut Yechaveh Daat 6:60).


Operation Protective Edge and "Harm will not befall one on the way to perform a Mitzvah"

Q: "Harm will not befall one on the way to perform a Mitzvah".  How then are our soldiers killed?

A: It says in the Gemara Pesachim (8b), which mentions this general principle, that this only applies in the case of an infrequent danger.  We do not apply this principle, however, when there is a frequent occurrence such as war.  In general, one should be careful from partial quotes.


Operation Protective Edge - Is there a Problem with Tzahal Waging War during the Three Weeks?

Question: Is there a problem with Tzahal waging war during Operation Protective Edge since it is the Three Weeks, a period of bad Mazal?  The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 551:1) says that if one has a court case against a non-Jew during the month of Av, he should try to avoid it and attempt to move it to Adar (as per Ta'anit 29b), since the month of Av is not an auspicious time for Am Yisrael.  During this month it was decreed in the Desert that we would not enter Eretz Yisrael, the First and Second Temple were destroyed, the Jews were expelled from Spain, the First World War began, etc.  Perhaps it would be worthwhile to postpone Operation Protective Edge until after the Three Weeks?


1.   It is a Recommendation

The Gemara (ibid.) does not say that it is forbidden to have a court case against a non-Jew during Av but rather that he should try to avoid it.  After all, it is not always possible to move a court date.  If he is able, he should postpone it, but if it is not, it is not forbidden.  In our case, we did not choose to wage war right now but rather the non-Jews caused us distress and we needed to defend ourselves.  We did not initiate this conflict, they did.  Hashem ordained that it would occur now.

This is an indescribable miracle, since the area near Gaza is full of terror tunnels which go under Kibbutzim.  They could - G-d forbid - enter those communities and commit horrible atrocities, including killing and kidnapping.  Who knows what could have occurred later.  Hashem performs miracles.  Sometimes we cannot understand what He does, but this time we can.  If they had accepted a ceasefire, for example, they would still have all of their missiles and tunnels.  Hashem truly performed a great kindness.    

2.   One who Performs a Mitzvah will Know no evil

Avoiding a court case with a non-Jew is not a halachic issue but a spiritual one - "One who performs a Mitzvah will know no evil" (Kohelet 8:5).  Waging war is a three-fold Mitzvah: 1. Defense of the Nation.  2. Defense of the Land.  3. The sanctification of G-d's Name. When we are being beaten and murdered, robbed and raped, it is a desecration of G-d's name. And when we fiercely respond to our enemies it is a sanctification of G-d's name (Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook, Le-Netivot Yisrael 1:118).  When one is performing a Mitzvah, he will know no evil.

During one of the wars I was on reserve duty, and three guys with long beards, long jackets and black hats came along.  They gave out Le-Chaims, sang and danced.  They then gave each solider a baggie with 10 Agurot in it and said that they should give the money to a poor person at the end of the war, since "Harm will not befall one on the way to perform a Mitzvah".  All of the soldiers looked at me, since I was the only religious solider in the unit, but I was looking the other way so as not to interfere (since the Gemara in Pesach 8b which mentions this concept states that it only applies in the case of an infrequent danger).  One of the non-religious soldiers said: "I don't understand.  I am risking my life for Am Yisrael.  This isn't a Mitzvah"?  The Chasid answered: Want do you care - you'll have two Mitzvot: 10 Agurot and Self-Sacrifice for Am Yisrael…  All the soldiers looked at me, but I was looking at the beautiful view of Eretz Yisrael.

3.   We are Transforming in a Bad Time into a Good One

The month is Av is a bad month, but the Maharal explains in Netzach Yisrael that although there are good and bad periods, we can transform them.  For example, the month of Kislev falls in the middle of winter in the darkest time of the year, but we have transformed it into a good time with Chanukah.  It all depends on us.  Kislev was transformed and Av can be transformed.  And we already see that this has occurred: The Exile is crumbling and Eretz Yisrael is flourishing.  Rabbi Abba states: “There is no clearer sign that the time of Redemption has arrived than that the Land of Israel produces fruit in abundance" (Sanhedrin 98a. Rashi).  Now there are grapes on the vines and figs on the leaves.

When the first British High Commisioner, Herbert Samuel, who was a Jew, arrived in Eretz Yisrael, he Davened on his first Shabbat in the Churva Shul.  It was Shabbat Nachamu and he received the Haftarah, which described the re-blossoming of Eretz Yisrael.  People said: He is the Messiah!  Not yet, but from that period on Eretz Yisrael was built up, the State was established and we waged successful wars.  Can you see the curse has been transformed into a blessing? 

This military operation is having abnormal successful, both in the realm of advanced technology and in the realm of the aid from Heaven.  The number of soldiers that have been killed and injured is much lower than expected, despite the extremely difficult and complicated mission.

There are natural and supernatural miracles occurring.  On a personal level, we are greatly pained by the loss of each and every soldier, but on a national level, we are in the best state since the beginning of our Exile 2000 years ago.

"I have transformed their mourning into joy" (Yirmiyahu 31:12).

Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #261

Learning Emunah

Q: I learn Emunah from books but find it very dry.  What should I do?

A: Attend classes.  If this is not practical, listen to them (There are thousands of classes on all subjects by Ha-Rav in Hebrew on the website [Rav] Avinerpedia, Sifriat Chava and Maale).


Maran Ha-Rav Kook and Chabad

Q: What is the difference between Maran Ha-Rav Kook and Chabad?

A: Chabad is about perfecting the individual, Maran Ha-Rav Kook is about perfecting the community and the individual within the community (And when Maran Ha-Rav Kook arrived in Eretz Yisrael, Rabbi David Cohain, Ha-Nazir, walked all night from Yerushalayim to Hevron in order to greet his Rav, and heard a class from him there.  After the hearing the talk, Ha-Nazir said to Rav Kook: What Ha-Rav said is like Chabad.  Rav Kook smiled and said to him: "I am building the Nation".  See Safran Shel Yechidim of Rav Hillel Tzeitlin, p. 235).


Second Marriage

Q: I am married to a widow.  When he mentions his previous wife, it arouses jealousy within me and it is difficult.  There are also photo albums in our home that have pictures of her.  It is ok for me to ask him to stop mentioning her?

A: Certainly.  Your jealousy is a natural feeling.  Perhaps it is better if a third party explains to him that it is improper to act in this manner (The Chatam Sofer's third wife was the widow of Rav Tzvi Charif, the author of Tiv Gittin.  The Chatam Sofer once saw her lighting a candle for her first husband on his Yahrtzeit, 25th of Tishrei.  He was upset, but he rightfully did not say anything so as not to cause her pain.  The Chatam Sofer eventually died on the same day of the year.  Zichron Le-Moshe 68:1).


Tefillin at Night for Soldier

Q: Can a soldier who returns at night from an all-day operation, which began the previous night, put on Tefillin?

A: No.  It is forbidden to put on Tefillin at night.  Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 30:2.  But he can put them on during twilight (Bein Ha-Shemashot) without a blessing, and some permit reciting a blessing during this time.  See Piskei Teshuvot ibid. #2.



Q: What is the blessing over Bamba?

A: It is a dispute - Shehakol or Adamah - therefore you should recite Shehakol (Shut She'eilat Shlomo 1:108.  And this is also the ruling in the book "Ve-Zot Ha-Berachah", p. 389.  And there is a dispute between the sons of Ha-Rav Ovadiah Yosef regarding this question.  According to Ha-Rav David Yosef, one should recite Shehakol.  Halachah Berurah Volume 10, 208:30.  And according to Ha-Rav Yitzchak Yosef [who now serves as the Chief Rabbi], one should recite Adamah.  Yalkut Yosef in Klalei Sefak Berachot p. 176.  Ain Yitzchak, Volume 2 p. 573.  And one year on the night of Pesach in Ha-Rav Ovadiah's house, they forgot to prepare bags of nuts to give to the children to keep them awake for the Four Questions, so they gave the children Bamba.  Ha-Rav Ovadiah asked his son Ha-Rav Yitzchak: What is the blessing?  He answered: Adamah.  Ha-Rav Ovadiah recited Adamah over the Bamba, passed it out to all of his grandchildren and told them to recite Adamah.  Sinai Ve-Oker Harim pp. 179-180).



Q: Why are we revolted by terrorists, don't we believe that they are performing Hashem's will?

A: This is not Hashem's will but rather evil.  A wicked person absorbs Hashem's will in a false and evil manner.  See Shemoneh Kevatzim of Maran Ha-Rav Kook 3:42.

Sewing on Motzaei Shabbat

Q: My button fell off on Shabbat and I asked my wife on Motzaei Shabbat to sew it back on.  She said that it is forbidden to sew on Motzaei Shabbat.  Is this true?

A: There are women who have the custom not to perform strenuous labors on Motzaei Shabbat.  Magen Avraham 299:1.  For example, sewing.  Ibid. in the name of the Chavot Yair.  Sewing on a button, however, is not a strenuous labor or the work of an expert.  It is therefore permissible (See Piskei Teshuvot 300:6).


Shut SMS and Fear of Hashem

Q: People sit next to me in Shul during the Davening on Shabbat night and mock the text message Q&A which are published in the Parashah sheets.  What should I say to them?  Should I respond at all?

A: You can respond to them: 1. Davening is in order to Daven and not to read Parashah sheets.  2. Anger and mockery are bad character traits, and they should think about that.  3. The purpose of Torah is to add fear of Hashem and if the opposite is happening to them, these words of Torah were not written for them.  And see the words of the Rambam at the beginning of Moreh Nevuchim: And if one does not find in it anything which benefits him in any way, he should consider as if the book was not written.  But it is better to remain quiet, since people who mock do not have ears which are able to hear.  They should therefore add fear of Hashem through other words of Torah.

The “Mi-Sheberach” Prayer for Tzahal Soldiers

May He who blessed our ancestors, Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov: They were our ancestors and we follow in their path. They were holy, and, simultaneously, they were fighters. Avraham fought against the four kings, and Yaakov fought “with his sword and bow” (Bereshit 48:22, regarding the battle for Shechem).

The same goes for Moshe and Yehoshua Bin Nun, Otniel ben Kenaz and King David. They were not just soldiers from the ranks, but army generals. When a war is imperative to our survival, it is a war of G-d (Orot 14).


Also bless the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces: For they are performing a great Mitzvah, a three-fold Mitzvah of the Torah incorporating: 1. Defense of the Nation.  2. Defense of the Land.  3. The sanctification of G-d's Name. When we are being beaten and murdered, robbed and raped, it is a desecration of G-d's name. And when we fiercely respond to our enemies it is a sanctification of G-d's name (Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook, Le-Nitivot Yisrael 1:118). Essentially, when a person does a Mitzvah he declares G-d's oneness, and when he does so, G-d causes holiness and even blessing to envelop that person. When Yaakov was preparing for war with Esav, he traversed the “Yabok Crossing” (Bereshit 32:23). Yabok stands for Yichud [declaring oneness], Berachah [blessing] and Kedushah [holiness].


The Israel Defense Forces: The I.D.F. is not an occupation force. Our intent is not to plunder foreign lands, but to defend our own Nation and Land. We are an army of defense. That is our essence. Ours is a Milchemet Mitzvah according to all opinions, a moral, compulsory war.


Who stand guard over our Land: How fortunate we are that through G-d's grace we received our Land, but we must protect it day and night, and not fall asleep while at watch. Rashi comments on the words, “May your doorbolts be iron and copper” (Devarim 33:25), “This refers to the entire Jewish People, whose warriors would sit in the border towns closing them off from enemy attack, as though those towns were locked with iron and brass locks and bolts.” Sure enough, we have 350 million enemies all around us, and they are assisted by some billion Moslems and some billion Christians, plus several more million Arabs helping them from within. The Guardian of Israel, and His faithful emissaries, will neither rest nor sleep.


And over the cities of our G-d: This Land is the Land of G-d. It is the holy Land. It is the Land of holiness. It is “the Land which G-d keeps His eyes on from the start of the year to the end of the year” (Devarim 11:12). It is the Land in which G-d is returning His Divine presence to Tzion. Every people sacrifices its life for its Land, all the more so we for our holy Land.


From Lebanon to the Egyptian Desert, and from the Great Sea to the wilderness: We are commanded regarding this entire Land not to abandon any part of it to any other nation (Ramban's Addendum 4 to Rambam's Sefer Ha-Mitzvot).


Wherever they are, on the land on the sea or in the air: This is a holy army. This is a beloved army.  This is an army full of love for Israel, one which sacrifices its life for the sake of Israel. This is an army full of friendship and camaraderie and unity. This is an army in which every soldier is infused with a new spirit, a spirit of self-abnegation for the sake of the Jewish People. This is an army in which it is both a supreme duty and a lofty privilege to participate.


G-d will leave our enemies who rise up against us smitten before them: Our enemies are the enemies of G-d. “When the ark was to set out, Moshe would say, ‘Advance, Hashem! May Your enemies be scattered, and may Your foes flee before You!” (Bamidbar 10:35).


Your enemies: “These are the enemies of Israel, for whoever hates Israel hates the One whose word brought the world into being” (Rashi).


G-d will preserve and rescue our soldiers from all trouble and suffering and from every plague and illness: “When the soldier enters into battle, he should rely upon the Hope of Israel, its Deliverer in times of trouble. And he should be aware that he is fighting for the sake of G-d's Oneness. He should take his life in his hands and have no fear... Whoever fights with all his heart and without fear, with the sole intention of sanctifying G-d's name, can rest assured that he will not be hurt and no harm will befall him, and he will go on to produce a fine Jewish home. G-d will bring him and his children everlasting merit, and he will merit the World-to-Come. As it says (Shmuel 1 25:28-29), 'For G-d will grant my lord an enduring house, because my lord is fighting G-d’s battles, and no wrong is ever to be found in you… The life of my lord will be bound up in the bundle of life in G-d’s care’” (Rambam Hilchot Melachim U-Milchamot 7:15).


And He will bestow blessing and success upon all their endeavors: “I will bestow My blessing upon you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven and the sands on the seashore.  Your descendants shall seize the gates of their foes” (Bereshit 22:7).


He will drive our enemies down under them and He will crown them with the crown of salvation and victory: “If he saves people sentenced to die, he brings merit to his soul as though he has fulfilled the entire Torah, for our sages said, ‘If someone saves the life of a single Jew it is as though he has saved an entire world’ (Sanhedrin 36a). Of such people they said, ‘Even the most worthless Jews are as full of Mitzvot as a pomegranate is full of seeds’ (Berachot 27a). Many Jews leave an outward impression of being empty vessels, but they possess this Mitzvah of saving a Jew, thereby surpassing the greatest Rabbis of Israel” (Pele Yo’etz, Erech: Hatzala). How much more so this is true of someone who saves many Jews.


For it is Hashem your G-d who goes before you to fight for you with your enemies, to save you: “Hashem of hosts is Hashem, the G-d of Israel, and the hosts of Israel are the hosts of G-d” (Orot 24), “Who is that uncircumcised Philistine that he dares defy the ranks of the Living G-d?” (Shmuel 1 17:26); “I come against you in the Name of Hashem of hosts, the G-d of the ranks of Israel, whom you have defied” (ibid., v. 45). “When you take the field against your enemies… Have no fear of them, for Hashem your G-d, who brought you from the Land of Egypt, is with you… Hear, O Israel! You are about to join battle with your enemy. Let not your courage falter. Do not be in fear, or in panic, or in dread of them. For it is Hashem your G-d who marches with you to do battle for you against your enemy, to bring you victory” (Devarim 20:1-4).

Shut Mivtza Tzuk Eitan – Q&A on Operation Protective Edge

Unity from the Time of the Kidnappings

Q: What can I do in order to help continue the amazing unity among Am Yisrael that began during the time of the teens' kidnapping?

A: Speak with others, telling them that what binds us together is greater than what seperates us.  By the way, there is a place which has even greater unity: Tzahal!


Hamas as Agent of Hashem

Q: Is Hamas an agent of Hashem, causing us to atone for our transgressions?  And if not, why doesn't Hashem destroy them and make it easier for Am Yisrael?

A: For the same reason that since the time of Kayin there are evil people and murderers in the world (see Ha-Rav's book "Ve-Gavar Yisrael" which discusses the problem of evil in the world and why bad things happen to good people).


Warning Siren in the Middle of Shemoneh Esrei

Q: What should a person do if he is in the middle of the Shemoneh Esrei and hears a warning siren for an incoming missile?

A: He should run to the bomb shelter and continue to Daven the Shemoneh Esrei there.  This is based on two factors: 1. It is a case of a life-threatening situation.  2. Walking in the middle of the Shemoneh Esrei without speaking is not considered an interruption.  For example, if I am Davening the Shemoneh Esrei and a child is bothering me to the point that I cannot concentrate, I can move to another place.  Or if I am Davening by heart and I cannot remember "Ya'ale Ve-Yavo," I can go and get a Siddur.  Speaking is forbidden, but there is no problem of moving if there is a need (Mishnah Berurah 104:2).  Therefore, if I am in the middle of the Shemoneh Esrei and I hear a warning siren for an incoming missile, I should go to the bomb shelter without talking and continue to Daven where I left off (Piskei Teshuvot, Orach Chaim 104.  Shut Be'er Moshe 3:13.  Nes Lehitnoses by Ha-Rav Yoel Schwartz at the end, in the Q&A of Ha-Rav Yitzchak Zilberstein during the Gulf War #39). 


Missiles Will Not Fall on the City of…

 Q: A Rabbi said that missiles will not fall in a particular city.  Is it permissible to rely on him and not enter the bomb shelter?

A: In general, one should obey the directives of the Home Front Command.  But you should ask the Rabbi directly (These were the words of Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievsky regarding Bnei Brak, based on the promise of the Chazon Ish.  However, I heard that Rav Kanievsky said that one should go into the bomb shelter in order to feel distress with the rest of Am Yisrael.  See Rashi on Shemot 17:12).


Operation Protective Edge and Torah Learning

Q: If I learn Torah in order to protect myself from the missiles, is it considered a violation of "One who makes unworthy use of the crown [of Torah] shall pass away" (Pirkei Avot 1:13)?

A: No.  It is considered learning Torah not for its own sake (see Nefesh Ha-Chaim, Sha'ar #4.  Shut Yechaveh Daat 3:73).


Missile Fire

Q: Does one who goes out of his house during missile fire, violate "Guard your soul very carefully" (Devarim 4:10).

A: One is always obligated to follow directives of the Home Front Command and not try to outsmart them.


Feelings during Operation Protective Edge

Q:  During this time, should we be frightened, recite Tehillim and Daven, based on the idea that we should cry out to Hashem during a time of distress, or should we not get excited and continue in our routine in order to show that we will not bow to terror and will not be scare us?

A: Continue on with strength and courage during our state of war, which began with the establishment of the State of Israel.  But a courageous person also Davens to Hashem, as we see with Yaakov Avinu before his meeting with Esav: He sent gifts, Davened and prepared for war (Rashi on Bereshit 32:9).


Helping Tzahal

Q: What can I do in order to help Tzahal be victorious?

A: Repent, Daven and give Tzedakah.  It is already certain, however, that Tzahal will be victorious, but you can help make the process faster and less costly. 


Sleeping in a Bomb Shelter

Q: It is permissible for me to sleep in a bomb shelter with my husband if other men are also there?

A: Yes, in a corner.


Adding to the Prayers during Operation Protective Edge

Q: In light of the situation, should we add prayers to the Davening?

A: There is no need.  This is the normal state of war with our enemies, which has been going on since the establishment of the State of Israel.


Operation Protective Edge and Traveling Southward

Q: I live in Northern Israel.  Is it permissible to travel to the Kotel for a Bar Mitzvah when missiles are currently falling in Yerushalayim and the south?

A: It is a negligible risk.  You may travel unless the Home Front Command says otherwise (see Piskei Teshuvah, Yoreh Deah 157).

Jewish Terror in Revenge for the Murder of the Three Teens

Q: What is the law regarding the Jews who murdered the Arab teen?  Is it permissible to take revenge on the Arabs for the murder of the three Jewish teens?

A: 1. A person is considered innocent until proven guilty.  2. It is certainly forbidden to murder one person on account of another person's transgression.  In general, it is forbidden to murder a non-Jew.  After all, ours souls were at Mt. Sinai and heard: Do not murder.  In any case, it is the terrorists who should be punished, not civilians.  3. Punishing terrorists must not be via the act of individuals, but rather through the decision of the entire Nation, i.e. via Tzahal, with the Government's permission, since the consequences are paid by the entire Nation.

Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #260

Making Aliyah

Q: When I make Aliyah, should I kiss the tarmac at the airport or wait until I get to actual rocks or dirt of Eretz Yisrael?  Do I recite Shehechiyanu and when?

A: Yes, kiss the tarmac.  And recite Shehechiyanu before kissing the ground (see the booklet "Oleh Chadash").


Religion or Nation

Q: Some claim that it would be good for us to have separation of religion and state in the State of Israel.  

A: Judaism is not a religion, it is a Nation - a Nation with a religion (as indicated by the blessing over Torah learning: "Who Chose us from all of the nations and [afterwards] Gave us His Torah").



Q: Many people testify that they have seen aliens.  Is this true?

A: Nonsense.  People have made such claims for 60 years and there is not one proof in the world which verifies them (When the first man walked on the moon, a huge dispute erupted over whether there was life on other planets.  The Satmar Rebbe - Ha-Rav Yoel Teitelbaum - exerted with total certitude that there was no life on the moon.  If there was life on the moon, he reasoned, the Ponevizher Rav – Ha-Rav Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman, who was a most successful fundraiser for his yeshiva in Bnei Brak, would have gone there collecting!  Builders, by Chanoch Teller, p. 352).


The Drink "BLU"

Q: Is it proper for a religious youth to drink energy drinks such as BLU?

A: It is forbidden, even for non-religious youth.  It contains much caffeine which is dangerous.


Ha-Rav Chanan Porat

Q: Even if a Rabbi waives his honor, his honor is not waived since it is not only his honor but the honor of the Torah.  Why then do we refer to Ha-Rav Chanan Porat Ztz"l by his first name?

A: The Halachah is that a Rabbi's honored may be waived, but he is not allowed to waive all of the Torah's honor.  I, the humble, therefore always called him Ha-Rav Chanan (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 240:7).



Q: I worker as a ticket-checker on the bus to ensure that the passengers pay.  Is it permissible for me to wake up someone who is sleeping or is it considered stealing sleep (Gezel Sheina)?

A: You are obligated to wake him.  Stealing sleep (Gezel Sheina) is based on the Mitzvah of "Love your fellow as yourself", and here it is necessary (see Piskei Shlomo Volume 3, "Stealing"). 


Traveling on Shabbat

Q: If a person drives his wife to the hospital to have a baby on Shabbat, can he use Waze in order to take the shortest route?

A: Yes, activating Waze is a Rabbinic prohibition, while traveling extra is a Torah prohibition (See Ha-Rav's commentary on Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Volume 3, Chapter 93).


Charedi or Religious-Zionist

Q: I am in doubt what to be.  Who is correct - Charedim or Religious-Zionists?

A: Depends on what issue.

Q: So which path should I take?

A: Torah.  "We will do everything which Hashem said".  Shemot 24:3.


Picture of the Even Ha-Shetiya

Q: Is there a problem with seeing a picture of the Even Ha-Shetiya (the Foundation Stone, which is on the Temple Mount and is on the spot where the Kodesh Ha-Kedoshim stood)?

A: It is forbidden, since it was photographed by someone, whether a Jew or non-Jew, who transgressed by entering the Temple Mount.


Kopi Luwak

Q: Is Weasel Coffee Kosher?  The coffee beans are eaten by small animals, digested and defecated whole, and ground into coffee.

A: There is a doubt.  There is a dispute if the urine of a non-Kosher animal is forbidden (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreah Deah 81:1).  The beans also absorb the secretions from the digestive system, which is what gives it taste.  It is therefore a doubt (see Techumin Volume 31, p. 423 which leans towards permitting it).  Nonetheless, it is forbidden on account of Bal Tashchit since the cost is astronomical.