Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #267

Donation to a Yeshiva

Q: Which is preferable – a few wealthy donors supporting a Yeshiva, or many poor donors?

A: Many poor donors, so that all Klal-Yisrael will have a part in the Yeshiva (It once happened that a wealthy individual wanted to donate the entire sum needed to build the Chafetz Chaim's Yeshiva in Radin.  The Chafetz Chaim refused.  He explained that he wanted all of Klal-Yisrael to have a part in the Yeshiva and asked that a Tzedakah box be placed in each house.  The wealthy person had a Din Torah against the Chafetz Chaim in the Beit Din of Ha-Gaon Ha-Rav Chaim Ozer Grozinski so that he would have to accept the entire donation.  Rav Chaim Ozer ruled that they should compromise).


Chilul Hashem

Q: How is it possible that there are people who are Torah observant but act in a repulsive manner?

A: This is the definition of Chilul Hashem.  Yoma 85.  Rambam, Hilchot Yesodei Ha-Torah Chapter 5.


Eretz Yisrael

Q: Is living in Eretz Yisrael a goal in and of itself or a means to learning Torah and performing Mitzvot in completeness and contentment?

A: It is a goal in and of itself, which also brings completeness and contentment, as does performance of every Mitzvah in the Torah.  See Orot Eretz Yisrael #1 (see Ha-Rav's book "Am Ha-Artzo" which discusses this question in the first chapter).


Lying Child

Q: What can I, as a mother, do if my 4-year old is lying?

A: I apologize: this is too complicated of an issue for a text message.  You can call my wife (or look in Ha-Rav's book on educating children: Chinuch Be-Ahavah).


Saying Verses By-Heart

Q: I teach Torah and quote many verses, but I saw that the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (1:6) writes that it is forbidden to recite verses by-heart.  Do I have to open up a Tanach each time I quote a verse?

A: You are not obligated to do so.  1. It is permissible to recite a verse which you know well.  2. According to Tosafot, one is only obligated to recite a verse from a Tanach if he is fulfilling a Mitzvah for others by doing so.  3. It is permissible to do so if it is a burden on the community (Piskei Teshuvot 49:9.  See there for further permissible manners of doing so).


Ruach Ha-Kodesh

Q: How does one merit Ruach Ha-Kodesh?

A: Following the path laid out in Mesilat Yesharim, from beginning to end.


Reading Books in a Store

Q: Is it permissible for me to read books in a store if I do not intend to buy them but am careful not to ruin them?

A: This is theft.  The books belong to the store and it is forbidden for you to use them without their permission.



Q: Is it forbidden to use WhatsApp?

A: If it contains Lashon Ha-Rav, insults and idle talk.


Spitting in Front of Avodah Zarah

Q: What is the source for spitting when seeing a Preist?

A: There is no source.


Shaming the Kotel

Q: I sometimes Daven at the Kotel and see great Torah scholars there.  Two of my classmates told me that we are obligated to Daven on the Har Ha-Bayit and not at the Kotel, and say "You enjoy talking to a wall"?!  I am confused.  What should I do?

A: Don't listen to the mockers of the generation but rather to its great Rabbis.



Q: I heard that the Arizal said not to say Yigdal?

A: Correct.  Mishnah Berurah 68:2.  But the Shelah did say it, and this is the custom (And Ha-Rav Yosef Soloveitchik said that reciting Yigdal, which includes the foundations of Emunah, is forbidden because of "Chukot Akum" - imitating non-Jewish practice.  This is because it is seen as similar to the Catholic practice of reciting the Catechism – an oral review of their articles of faith.  Nefesh Ha-Rav, p. 231).