Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #280

Changing One's Place, Changing One's Luck

Q: We do not have children.  Is it worthwhile to move, since changing one's place is one of the things which can change one's luck?

A: The Rambam (Hilchot Teshuvah 2:4) cited the opinion of our Sages that one can change an evil decree by changing his location.  It is not, however, magic.  If a person changes his place he will not see miracles and wonders.  The Rambam explained that if he repents in a serious way, he changes his "location".  This means, "I seriously repented and I am no longer the same person in the same place."  This certainly changes the decree of a person.  This is also brought in the responsa attributed to the Ramban #285.  The essence is to repent, pray and give Tzedakah (And a Yeshiva student, who for a few years did not merit having children, asked Ha-Rav Aharon Yehudah Leib Shteinman: Is it worthwhile to move?  Rav Shteinman responded harshly: There is no such thing!  Is the apartment guilty that you have not merited having children!?  There is no reason to move.  Segulot Raboteinu pp. 121-122). 


Science from the Torah

Q: Is it possible to learn physics from the Torah?

A: No. 

Q: But the Vilna Gaon did?

A: You are not the Vilna Gaon.


Sheva Berachot on Skype

Q: If we are having Sheva Berachot and we have 9 men, is it permissible to add someone via Skype?

A: No (And this is the ruling in the book "Derech Atarim" of Rav Avraham Maimon Ha-Levi #4).


Showering Before Immersion in Mikveh

Q: Is it permissible for a man to shower before immersing in the Mikveh?

A: Our Sages decreed that a woman should not bathe after immersion in the Mikveh.  Women used to bathe after immersing in a Mikveh since they did not immerse in clean Mikvaot as we have today.  They immersed in pits of water which were filled with mud and they emerged filthy, so they bathed afterwards.  As a result, people began to believe that both the Mikveh and the bathing were required for purification.  The Rabbis therefore decreed that it is forbidden to bathe after immersing in the Mikveh (Shabbat 14a and Rama to Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 201:75).  We have similar problems in our time.  Although our Mikvaot are extremely clean, there are women who are sensitive and feel that they need to bathe after the Mikveh.  And a man's immersion in the Mikveh is less strict than a woman's immersion (since in the majority of cases he is not obligated to immerse), therefore a man is obligated to take a shower before immersion in order to not make the Mikveh dirty.  And Ha-Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach would bathe before and after immersion in the Mikveh.  The students asked why he acted this way.  Ha-Rav Shlomo Zalman said: I shower beforehand to fulfill "love your fellow as yourself" - so I do not make the Mikveh dirty and I shower afterwards because of those who do not fulfill "love your fellow as yourself" (Ve-Aleihu Lo Yibol vol. 2, p. 286).


Davening on Har Ha-Bayit

Q: Which is preferable – to Daven Minchah on my own on the Har Ha-Bayit or with a Minyan elsewhere?

A: It is a severe prohibition to enter the Har Ha-Bayit, as the Chief Rabbinate of Israel rules.  Maran Ha-Rav Kook and Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah also ruled this way.


Standing during Ha-Tikvah

Q: Is one required to stand during the Israeli National Anthem, Ha-Tikvah?  What is the source?

A: Yes, just as everyone else, as Hillel says: Do not separate from the community (Pirkei Avot 2:5).