Q: Is it
permissible to remove one's Talit Katan during a ball game when there is a fear
that they will rip?
A: No.Tuck them inside your pants (And this is also
the ruling in Shut Az Nedberu 2:55).
of Ha-Rav Chaim Na'eh and the Chazon Ish
How do we rule in the dispute between Ha-Rav Chaim Na'eh and the Chazon Ish
regarding halakhic measurements (for example, the size of a
"kezayit")?Who is greater?
It makes no difference.Ha-Rav Yosef
Shalom Elyashiv was asked: how could Ha-Rav Na'eh argue with the Chazon Ish? He
answered that the measurements of Ha-Rav Na'eh were practiced earlier and it
was the Chazon Ish who argued against them.The book Yashiv Moshe p. 130 (see Noda Ba-Shiurim p. 271).
Q: Should one
refrain from naming his children: Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov and Moshe as is
mentioned in the last testament of Rabbi Yehudah Ha-Chasid (Azharot Nosafot
authorities hold that this testament is only for his children.Nonetheless, the custom in this case is to
permit it (and this is also the ruling in Shut Minchat Yitzchak 9:137).
writings, which precede the Torah, had been found with stories and laws similar
to the Tanach.If so, is the Tanach
copied from them?
A: The existence
of these is known.1. There were
prophets which preceded the giving of the Torah.2. There are certain ideas which are relevant
to the universal human spirit.3. The
Master of the Universe included proper and Kosher ideas within the Tanach.Sefer Eder Ha-Yakar of Maran Ha-Rav Kook.
E-mail on Shabbat
Q: Can I read an
e-mail after Shabbat that was sent on Shabbat?
A: After the
fact, it is permissible to benefit from it.Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 318:1.
Q: Is there a
problem with buying clothing and furniture for a baby before the birth, or is
there a problem of the evil eye?
A: There are some
who refrain from doing so, but there is absolutely no halachic
prohibition.On the contrary, it is a
sign of trust in Hashem (Ner Ne-Ishon Laila p. 123.Unlike what Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievski said: The
world is particular [not to do so] because of the evil eye.She'eilat Rav vol. 2 p. 58).
to Count Sefirat Ha-Omer
If someone forgot to count Sefirat Ha-Omer for an entire day and is extremely
sad and embarrassed, can he continue to count with a blessing?
No.There is an opinion which permits
it, but it is a lone view.Shaarim
Metzuyanim Ba-Halachah (120:7).
Question: What is
the difference in worldview between the Charedim and the National Religious
that results in their differing halachic rulings regarding the Mitzvot of
settling the Land, having a country, an Army, etc.?
Answer: the Torah
forbids us to eat from the new grain before the waving of the Omer on Pesach
(Vayikra 23:15). As the Talmud states in Kiddushin 38b: "Chadash [new
grain from the new crop] is prohibited by the Torah."The Chatam Sofer used this dictum as a
metaphor to express his opposition to changes and to modernism within
traditional Judaism (Shut Chatam Sofer 1:28,148, 181, etc.).Amongst the Charedim, “Chadash is prohibited
by the Torah” has become the defining principle of their approach.
For example, what
was "innovative" about Ha-Gaon Ha-Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv was that
he never innovated anything: not in approaches to Torah learning and not in his
halachic rulings. He had absolute loyalty to tradition. He received the word of
Hashem, "Moshe received the Torah from Sinai" (Avot 1:1), and he
passed it on to the next generation in the same format, "handing it down
to Yeshoshua" (ibid.), and so forth.
Due to present
and former attacks against traditional Judaism from all directions, the Charedi
world is by nature conservative, in order to avoid gradual spiritual erosion,
as it says "Strip her to her very foundations!" (Tehillim 137:7).
That is why they opposed collaborating with the Zionists regarding the
establishment of the State and army service. “Chadash is prohibited by the
The Yeshiva World
focuses on one thing: Torah learning. Following the terrible destruction of
European Torah world, today's Charedim are making a monumental effort to build
the world of Torah anew. To whatever extent they do collaborate with the State,
it is for the purpose of advancing that goal.
Thanks to this
outlook, the Charedi Torah world is flourishing more successfully than it has
throughout the Exile.
Avraham Yitzchak Ha-Cohain Kook likewise explains that we relate with suspicion
to anything new.To make what is new
permissible, the way the Pesach Omer makes new grain permissible outside the
Temple, and the way the Shavuot wheat offering makes it permissible in the
Temple we need content. The content that makes the new permissible is the old,
the light “in which G-d enveloped Himself, causing His majestic luster to shine
from one end of the world to the other” (Bereshit Rabbah 3:4). This ancient
light, stored away in the soul of Israel, will cause a new light to shine for
us, a light that will illuminate Zion (Ma’amarei Ha-Re’eiyah, p. 182). In other
words, there are some things that were forgotten over the course of the Exile,
and “having once been forgotten, they are now being institutionalized once
more” (Shabbat 104a and elsewhere). When we are forced to innovate, we do so
using old content, as Rashi says, quoting our Sages on Devarim 11:13: “If you
heed the old teachings, you will likewise heed the new teachings.” In order for
the new to be viable, it must be attached to the old, and this is accomplished
through in depth study (see Ikvei Ha-Tzon, p. 107).
Ha-Gaon Ha-Rav Shlomo Goren, who established the laws of the army, delved into
the old teachings in order to create a Jewish army in keeping with Torah laws
that had been temporarily eclipsed. Those foundations were hidden away, and Rav
Goren reestablished them. Rav Kook likewise said, “The old shall be renewed and
the new shall be sanctified” (Igrot Ha-Re’eiyah Vol. 1, p. 214).
At the Giving of
the Torah, the Jews said, “Everything G-d has spoken we shall do and obey”
(Shemot 24:7), i.e. through Torah learning we will also rebuild the Land of
Israel, the Jewish State and the Jewish army. The old renders the new
Thanks to this
outlook, the National Religious Torah world is burgeoning, returning to its
roots from before the Exile.
is about the means, not the goal. There is no essential difference between the
Charedim and the National Religious regarding the goal. Everyone wants the
entire Jewish People to settle in Eretz Yisrael. Everyone wants there to be a
Jewish State and a Jewish army. Everyone wants that State to be holy, and
everyone wants the nation that dwells in Zion to be holy. There is no argument
over these points. The difference is only over the pathway there, the means to
achieving the ends. Should we first move to Israel or should we first repent in
the Diaspora and only then move to Israel? Should we collaborate with the
Jewish State or not? Should we presently serve in the army, or not?
The argument is
an internal argument, within the family, like the arguments between Rabbi Akiva
and Rabbi Tarfon and between Rashi and Tosafot. There is an argument between us
and them, but we share the same goal. The Charedim bring proofs from the Torah
to back up their approach and we argue that those proofs are incorrect, and
vice versa. The two worlds are headed in the same direction: that of the
Shulchan Aruch, the code of Jewish law. There are not two codes of Jewish law,
one for the Charedim and one for the National Religious. Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi
Yehudah Kook put it this way: "This argument is within the camp. The
spiritual camp consists of the G-d fearing. 'I am a companion to all who fear
You' (Tehillim 119:63)."
It should be
noted that the Charedi halachic authorities are by now likewise engaged in
dealing with the laws affecting settling the Land, building a state and an
army, for they, too, consciously or not, are part of the Nation’s rebirth in
With G-d’s help,
the two worlds will ultimately become one.
Why did you establish a Yeshiva in the so-called Muslim Quarter?
It is a Mitzvah to dwell in the entire breadth of our Land, and all the more so
in Jerusalem, and all the more so in the heart of Jerusalem.
Hasn't the time come to change the wording of "Nachem" (which we
recite on Tisha Be-Av) which describes Jerusalem as the destroyed, shamed and
Please come and visit our yeshiva "Ateret Yerushalayim" which is
located in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem, in the so-called
"Muslim Quarter," and you will be convinced on the spot to leave it
as is (since on the way you can see that much of the Old City is still in a
state of destruction and shame, and is desolate of Jews.Immediately after the Six-Day War, Rabbenu
Ha-Tzvi Yehudah Ha-Cohain Kook was asked whether "Nachem" should be
changed. He answered: "Jerusalem is still scorned and desolate, since the
essence of Jerusalem is the Beit Ha-Mikdash." Le-Mikdasheikh Tuv, p. 11
Q: Is it permissible today to visit the Temple Mount?
A: Since the Chief Rabbinate of Israel posted signs there saying
that it is forbidden, there is not even a question. There is
therefore no need for an answer.
Ascending to the Temple Mount
Q: Why don't we ascend to the Temple Mount?There are great Rabbis who permit it and
other great Rabbis who prohibit it, and these and those are the words of the
A: 1. There are different levels among Torah scholars. Those who
forbid it are the greatest Rabbis of our generation 2. The Chief Rabbinate of
Israel, which is the deciding body in national issues, prohibits it.3. Our Rabbis, Maran Ha-Rav Kook and Rabbenu
Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah, forbid it.
of the Two Brothers
What is the source of the story of the two brothers, one married and one
single, who brought wheat back and forth for each other on the spot that became
the Temple Mount?
It is of non-Jewish origin.See The
Legends of the Jews by Louis Ginzberg.
How the Beit Ha-Mikdash will
Is there a Mitzvah nowadays to build the Temple or will it descend from the
It is a Mitzvah to build it after appointing a King and eradicating Amalek
(Rambam, Hilchot Melachim 1:1-2).
If a Shul is not facing Jerusalem, in which direction should we daven?
Towards the Torah ark.But obviously the
Rabbi who is there should decide (Be'er Heitev 94:3.Shut Meishiv Dvar 1:10.Shut Teshuvot Ve-Hanhagot 1:79.And not like the Magen Avraham ibid. #3 and
Yad Eliyahu brought in the Be'er Heitiv ibid).
in the Wrong Direction
After I finished davening Shemoneh Esrei, I realized that I did not daven
After the fact, you fulfilled your obligation (Be'er Heitev #94.Shut Meishiv Davar 1:10.Shut Teshuvot VeHanhagot 1:79).
rules that one must tear his garment when seeing the place of the Temple in
ruins (Moed Katan 26a and Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim #561).In the Beit Yosef when discussing the
obligation to rip one’s garment upon seeing the cities of Yehudah and Jerusalem
in ruins, Rav Yosef Karo explained that we hold that "in ruins" means
"under non-Jewish control."The Magen Avraham (#1) and Mishnah Berurah (#2) accepted this view.This means that even if there is a Jewish
settlement in the Land of Israel but it is under non-Jewish control, it is
still considered "in ruins", and one must tear his garment upon
seeing it. Our Rabbi, Rav Tzvi Yehudah Ha-Cohain Kook, explained that the same
applies for seeing the place of the Temple in ruins, and just as "in
ruins" means "under non-Jewish control" for the cities of
Yehudah and Jerusalem, so too does "in ruins" mean "under
non-Jewish control" for the Temple Mount.Therefore after the famous call of "Har Ha-Bayit Be-Yadenu - the
Temple Mount is in our hands" during the Six-Day War, he ruled that there
is no longer an obligation to tear one’s garment when seeing the Temple Mount,
even though the Temple is still destroyed.Our Rabbi explained that it is possible to claim that since there is no
Temple, one must tear his garment.One
must understand, however, what prevents us from fulfilling the Divine
Commandment of "Make for me a Temple" (Shemot 25:8).Our inability to build the Temple is not due
to "exile."The Temple Mount
is in our hands and we are in control. But we are prevented from building the
Temple because of halachic and political reasons.These are our reasons, not those of the
non-Jews (Sichot Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah – Yom Ha-Atzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim,
talk for Yom Yerushalayim p. 90 and Tal Chermon - Moadim, p. 218).Our Rabbi wrote, additionally, that we should
also be concerned about ripping our garments when we are not obligated and thus
violating "Bal Tashchit" (wanton destruction of items) when the whole
prohibition for tearing when seeing the Temple in a destroyed state is a
In the book,
"Mekor Chaim" (2:95 #1), Ha-Rav Chaim David Halevy - Chief Rabbi of
Tel Aviv-Yafo for 25 years - wrote that he agrees with our Rabbi's
opinion.He explained that when a close
relative dies, we tear our garments when the "dead is before
us."After the mourning, we observe
an annual Yahrtzeit.Similarly, when our
"dead was before us" – the Temple Mount was under non-Jewish control
– we had the obligation to tear our garments.Now that we have control, the dead is no longer before us, and we
observe an annual Yahrtzeit: Tisha Be-Av.Despite his agreement, Rav Halevy concluded that in order to exempt us
from this obligation, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel must make this decision.
It is related what our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah, did on the day when the
Temple Mount was liberated: "On the day of the liberation of Jerusalem,
our Rabbi and "The Nazir," Rav David Cohain, were together at the
Kotel, and the next day our Rabbi went to him to bring him his book "Le-Netivot
Yisrael" volume 1 which was published on that very 28th of Iyar 5727.Our Rabbi said that while standing facing the
Kotel, he did not tear his garment upon his seeing the place of the Temple
since "it is only considered in a destroyed state when the non-Jews rule
over it" (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 561 and Mishnah Berurah #2), and
this fundamental principle which was stated regarding the cities of Yehudah
also applies to the spot of the Temple."The Nazir" responded in agreement and added: "Is it not
also true that his honor saw that our Master the Rav was there in his Shabbat
clothing and he did not tear?" (He had seen a vision of Maran Rav
Kook).All were astounded and all eyes
turned to our Rabbi, who nodded his head approvingly: "Yes,
certainly" ("Rabbenu" - On the Life of Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah p.
[Note: In the
book "Peninei Halachah" (end of vol. 1 in the second edition), Ha-Rav
Eliezer Melamed - Rav of Har Berachah - writes that our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi
Yehudah, would agree today that one should tear his garment upon seeing the
spot of the Temple, after the horrible desecration of Hashem's Name which have
occurred there.When asked about this,
Rav Aviner responded: "Baruch Hashem, the Temple Mount is still in our hands,
and with Hashem's help it will remain so," i.e. our Rabbi's ruling still
stands that we are exempt from tearing our garments upon seeing the spot of the
Temple – M.T.]
U-Be-Emunah – Bechukotai 5774 – translated by R. Blumberg]
1. When we speak
of the “Kotel”, the Western Wall, we must speak with great reverence. We must follow the example of Rabbi Yehoshua
Leib Diskin, who never dared to approach it at all, or of Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi
Yehudah Kook, who prayed there only on special, sacred occasions, at which time
he would tremble with reverence, and he would keep on trembling for about two
hours after he returned home.
2. All the more
so that we don't insult the Western Wall by saying that it is less holy than
the Temple Mount. The Kotel, today, is like the Temple was in its time.
Presently, the Western Wall is our Temple.
3. The Kotel,
besides constituting the retaining wall of the Temple Mount, was also sanctified through Israel's prayers,
self-sacrifice and pristine longing, such that it constitutes the holiest
synagogue of the Jewish people.
4. When our Sages
said that "the Divine Presence has never left the Western Wall," they
were not talking about the wall of the Temple, but about the Kotel, as the Sages
of Israel have proven. A strident debate over historical/national issues need
not spill over into matters of Jewish law and faith. Rather, it should remain
humbly in its place. Otherwise, even the Kotel’s special value will be lost.
5. The Temple
Mount was never a place of prayer or a place of various religious ceremonies,
and it was forbidden to go there for any other purpose than the Temple worship
or building the temple. Maran Ha-Rav Kook saw with his prophetic spirit, as is
mentioned in Shut Malki Bakodesh, a great vision of a single synagogue shared
by the entire Nation, near the Temple Mount at the Western Wall.
6. Laws regarding
the Temple Mount are not within the domain of the rulings of Rabbi X or Rabbi
Y, but rather, they belong to the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, serving the entire
Jewish People. Moreover, the decision
that one should not enter the Temple Mount is not just anybody’s opinion, open
to rejection. Rather, it is a final decision of whichever Judge “will be in
those times” (Vayikra 17:9).
7. The site of
the Temple Mount and of the Temple is not a matter of national conquest, that
we need to maintain a presence or a settlement there, the way all other parts
of the Land of Israel are. Rather, as
its name clearly states, it is the place and the mountain of the Temple. Its
entire essence is the supreme holiness of G-d letting His Divine Presence rest
Western Wall is the lobby and the Temple is the banquet hall, and there is no
way to reach the banquet hall but through the lobby. Millions of lights from
the banquet hall shed their light upon it.
I am a soldier.I have a new pot and am
unable to immerse it in a Mikveh.Is it
permissible to use it one time without immersion?
No.It is permissible to use disposal
utensils without immersion (if they are used more than 3 times, many Poskim require
their immersion), but a permanent utensil may not be used even once without
immersion.In a pressing situation, it
is permissible to give the pot as a gift to a non-Jew and than borrow it from
him (since the utensil of a non-Jew does not require immersion).Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 120:16.
And what if there is no non-Jew?
Call a military Rabbi, or the 24-hour phone line for soldiers of the Military
Rabbinate 052-941-4414.They will sell
the utensil to a non-Jew, or in a pressing situation, they will permit it based
on the opinion that it is permissible since it is not the soldier's utensil
(Kishrei Milchama of Ha-Rav Ayal Krim 3:58).
Tefillin during Kaddish
Is it permissible to remove Tefillin during Kaddish?
No, since one must have proper intention when answering "Amen, Yehei
Shemei Rabbah", just as it is forbidden to remove Tefillin during the
recitation of a blessing.Mishnah
on a Shul's Talit
If I used the Shul's Talit, do I recite a blessing over it?
One does not recite a blessing over a borrowed Talit, but a Shul's Talit is
meant to be acquired by anyone who is in need of its use.One should therefore recite a blessing over
it.However, if one wears the Talit to
honor the community, i.e. to serve as a Shaliach Tzibur or to receive an Aliyah,
then no blessing is recited.This is the
ruling of the latter authorities - Achronim (Halichot Shlomo, chapter 3
#12.Shut Mishneh Halachot 9:234).
What is the blessing on chocolate?
It has been decided: Shehakol (Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein was once asked about the
blessing on chocolate, and he responded that people have the long-standing
custom to recite Shehakol, and now we must clarify why this is so, since it is
impossible for us to say that Klal Yisrael acts improperly.Reshumei Aharon of Ha-Rav Aharon Felder [who
passed away last week], p. 24.See
Ve-Zot Ha-Berachah, p. 101, for a discussion of why the blessing is not
"Borei Pri Ha-Eitz").
on the Flag
If someone is wearing the flag of Israel, does he have to put Tzitzit on it?
No.It is not a garment nor is it
intended to be a garment.It is a
symbol.It is therefore exempt.Biur Halachah, Orach Chaim 10:11.
for a Girl
If a girl's parents did not have a Kiddush for her when she was born, will it
impede her ability to find a match?
No (There was once a Kiddush in shul for a 25 year-old woman, since her parents
did not have a Kiddush for her when she was born.It was said there in the name of Ha-Rav
Yaakov Yisrael Kanievski, the Steipler Gaon, that she would not otherwise find
a match. When this was related to his
son, Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievski, he said: Who made this up?Wouldn't I have heard this in my house?My father never said that we should made a
Kiddush for the birth of a girl!Derech
Sichah vol. 1 p. 33).
Can a person who smokes serve as a witness at a wedding?Doesn't he violate the prohibition against
safe-guarding one's life?
A: It is permissible if he is unaware of the severity of the
prohibition.Baba Metzia 5b (see Shulchan
Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 32:4, 34:2.Shut
Maharam Mi-Lublin #15 regarding a widespread prohibition.Shut Rabbi Akiva Eiger #96).
Considering recent incidents and in light of what we learn about the Exodus (that
the nations of the world, including Pharaoh and Egypt, Arafat and the
Palestinians, are emissaries for making G-d’s existence clear to all, and for
internalizing the idea of G-dliness on earth in general, and among Israel in
particular), then seemingly we have no reason to get angry at their deeds or to
demand that the blood of our slain brothers be avenged. It would seem that we
should focus instead on ourselves, for, as we said, they are just emissaries.
So what purpose would there be in revenge? And what then would be the meaning
of a “G-d of vengeance” (Tehillim 94:1)?
foundation of the whole Torah is the principle that man has free will (see
Rambam, Hilchot Teshuvah, Chapter 5). If G-d decreed that certain people would be
wicked and then punished them for being so that would be unjust.
evil to us was of his own free will. “G-d did not decree upon Pharaoh to do
evil to Israel.” Quite the contrary, “He sent Moshe to him with a message,
saying, ‘Let My people go! Repent!’” (Ibid., 6:3). But Pharaoh did not repent, so
he was later punished with the removal of his free will.
asks: “Does it not say in advance, ‘They will enslave them and oppress them’ (Bereshit
15:13)? Surely G-d decreed upon the Egyptians to do evil!” Yet Rambam answers,
“Every single one of those who caused trouble and misfortune to the Israelites
had the option, if he so chose, not to do them harm. G-d did not decree upon a
specific person. He only made known to Avraham that his seed was destined to be
enslaved in a land not theirs” (Hilchot Teshuvah 6:5). Therefore, the Egyptians
were ultimately punished harshly, and some time afterwards, the kingdom of
Egypt was entirely annihilated by Babylonia. Babylonia, in turn, fell before
Persia and Media, and later Persia and Media's turn arrived, as in the parable
of “Chad Gadya.” The time of each wicked kingdom to disappear arrives when its
measure is full.
It is the same
with the Arabs who live around us and in our midst. Each of them has free
choice regarding whether to be a total evildoer, an evildoer by half, by a
third, or by a quarter, or to be one of the righteous gentiles. Each of them
will have to give an accounting in the celestial tribunal, and will be held
accountable here on earth as well.
It is true that
the Master of the Universe is also the Master of history, yet we must
distinguish between the Prime Cause and intermediaries. G-d was surely the
ultimate, prime cause of our suffering in Egypt, but the Egyptians were
intermediaries by their own choice, and they were punished for this. Pharaoh’s
daughter Bitya chose to save Moses, and she received her reward. Had she not
saved him, G-d certainly would have produced someone else who would. Yet it was
she who fulfilled the Mitzvah, and she was rewarded. As Mordechai said to
Esther, “If you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance shall arise
to the Jews from elsewhere, but you and your father’s house shall perish”
(Esther 4:14). This is because G-d orchestrates good things to happen through
good people and bad things to happen through bad people. Everyone decides by
means of his free will whether to be G-d’s messenger to increase goodness and
blessing in the world, or to be an instrument of destruction and ruin. Our Sages
recount: “When Turnianus was about to kill Pappos and his brother Lulianus at
Lodkia, Turnianus said to them, ‘If you are from the people of Chananiah,
Mishael and Azariah, let your G-d come and save you from me the way He saved
them!’ They responded, ‘Chananiah, Mishael and Azariah were reputable, and
Nebuchadnezzar was a fair king, and worthy of having a miracle done through
him. But you are an evil king and unworthy of having a miracle done through
you. We have incurred a death sentence from Heaven, and if you do not kill us,
G-d has many other agents of murder, many other agents of harm, many bears,
many leopards, many snakes, many serpents, many scorpions who can come and
strike us.’” (Semachot, Chapter 8).
the enemies of Israel rise up to annihilate us, we have to destroy them totally
so that others will see and be frightened, and sin no more. G-d truly is a “Man
of war” (Shemot 15:3), and “a G-d of vengeance,” and we are commanded to follow
in His path and to take revenge against the wicked. During the course of the
exile we were powerless. Now, thanks to G-d’s kindness, we have a strong army,
and it takes revenge on our behalf against those who seek to annihilate us.
This revenge is not a way of venting our aggression. We, after all, are a
people of refinement and kindness. It does, however, serve to deter and
frighten the evildoers of the earth. It is precisely in this manner that the
Torah commanded us to strike back hard at our enemies.
G-d forbid, one
must not raise complaints and accusations against the Jewish people.
contrary, we must come to their defense. In the meantime, we have not yet
reached a time when “they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears
into pruning hooks” (Yeshayahu 2:4). There are still wars on earth. Our
precious Jewish People sacrifice themselves for the Land, both in the army and
by taking part in settlement. We have to remember this great merit of theirs.
May it ascend heavenward before the Throne of Glory and bring us blessing.
The following is
from the book “Pele Yo’etz”: “In a time of forced apostasy, a woman emerged and
said, ‘Master of the Universe! You know full well the nation that You chose.
Who is like Your people Israel, who are killed for the sanctification of Your
Name.’ When the decree regarding apostasy was later nullified, a preacher
revealed that this was due to what the woman had said.”
In the same way,
Gideon was chosen to save Israel because he defended them. G-d said to him, “Go
with this strength of yours, and save Israel” (Shoftim 6:14; Rashi). Gideon was
not a righteous man, let alone the righteous son of a righteous father. Yet
because he spoke well of Israel, G-d said, to him, “Go with this strength of
yours -- your having spoken well of Israel -- and save Israel” (Zohar, Part 1,
254b. Zohar Chadash 58:22).
Ours is a
remarkable, holy, exemplary generation, a generation that sacrifices its life
for the sake of the people and the Land, a generation that G-d loves and for
whom G- d performs miracles.
If a soldier is forced to write on Shabbat in order to protect lives, is it
preferable to write with a pen or computer?
With a computer, since writing with a pen or pencil is a Torah prohibition, and
writing with a computer in such a situation is a Rabbinic prohibition (see
Kishrei Milchamah 3:41).
in Concentrating during Davening
Despite my best efforts, I can't concentrate during the Shemoneh Esrei.What should I do?
Concentrate at least during the first Blessing – "Avot" and at the
conclusion of each blessing.Shulchan
Aruch, Orach Chaim 98:1.Mishnah Berurah
Tefillin to use the Restroom
If one removes his Tefillin in order to use the restroom, does he recite
another blessing when he puts them on again?
Ashkenazim recite a blessing.There are
divergent opinions among Sefardim (Mishnah Berurah 25:47, 8:37.Biur Halachah 25:12 d.h. Ve-Yesh Omrim.Ben Ish Chai, Shana Alef, Vayera #13.Kaf Ha-Chaim 25:78).
Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah
What is unique about Sichot Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah?
1. It contains the essentials of Rabbenu's philosophy in a manner comprehensible
to all.2. It is based on the weekly
Torah portions.3. It does not explain
individual words and sentences, rather is a meeting with the Master of the
I heard that Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein permits smoking.
This is how he ruled when the doctors said that smoking was not dangerous (Reb
Moshe's son, Ha-Rav David Feinstein, also said that his father's ruling in Shut
Igrot Moshe, Choshen Mishpat 2:76, allowing one to act leniently and smoke was
based on the presumptions of that time that the overwhelming majority of those
who smoked were not in danger.This is
certainly no longer the case.Kovetz
La-Torah Ve-Hora'ah 5772 p. 67).
in the Wrong Direction
After I finished Davening, I realized that I was not facing Yerushalayim.Do I have to Daven again?
You fulfilled your obligation (Be'er Heitev, Chapter 94.Shut Meishiv Davar 1:10.Shut Teshuvot Ve-Hanhagot 1:79).
Washing Uniform on Shabbat
If a soldier's uniform is filthy and unbearable to wear, is it permissible to
wash it on Shabbat?
A non-Jew may wash it for him.Shulchan
Aruch, Orach Chaim 276:2.Mishnah
Berurah #25.And it is considered for
the sake of a Mitzvah.
It is permissible today to name one's son Yishmael?After all, Yishmael, the son of Avraham
Avinu, repented (Baba Batra 16a.Rashi
on Bereshit 25:9).
It is permissible.There was Rabbi
Yishmael Cohain Gadol and others with that name.
Chaim said: Fufilling a Mitzvah in the Land of Israel is twenty times greater
than fulfilling it outside of the Land (Sichot Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah – Vayikra p.
265 and Le-Netivot Yisrael vol. 1 p. 160, 202).
Reb Leib, the son of the Chafetz Chaim, told our Rabbi that when they began to
build "Rishon Le-Tzion" his father said to him: "Reb Leib, it
has begun," i.e. the beginning of the Redemption (Sichot Ha-Rav Tzvi
Yehudah – Bereshit pp. 457-458 and Devarim pp. 485-486, Be-Derech Ha-Torah
Ha-Goelet p. 98).
few years ago, a Torah scholar told me that a few young men wanted to avoid
military service in a non-Jewish army and wasting time from learning
Torah.They wanted to physically injure
themselves in order to be disqualified from the Polish military.But the Chafetz Chaim opposed this: 'A person
is not permitted to injure himself.The
body is not his.And why avoid?Practice in the Army.The Messiah will arrive soon.There will be a State.And when there is a State, there will be a
need for an army.Prepare here.You have the opportunity to prepare for the
army of the State of Israel'" (Sichot Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah – Devarim p.
light of numerous setbacks in recent times, and the handing over of parts of
Eretz Yisrael to the enemy, some people wonder whether ours is really the time
of Redemption. Perhaps we were wrong to believe that G-d is now redeeming His
the Master of the Universe spoke about Redemption, He never promised that there
would be no difficulties along the way.
was certainly G-d’s emissary in the Redemption from Egypt. When he set out to redeem
Israel, he spoke to the Nation and they were enthusiastic. Yet when he went to
speak to Pharaoh, that evildoer refused to listen. In fact, Israel’s plight
worsened, and the Jews were compelled to gather their own straw. Those moments
were exceedingly hard for the people and for Moshe himself.
in his commentary explains that Moshe surely knew that Redemption did not have to
come in an instant, but could come gradually. In fact, some regression was
likely, as indeed occurred at the time, followed by improvement.
quotes our Sages on the verse, “My beloved is like a gazelle” (Shir Ha-Shirim
2:9): “Just as a gazelle comes in and out of view, so does the first redeemer
appear to them, then disappear, then reappear” (Ramban, Shemot 5:22. Shir Ha-Shirim Rabbah 2:22).The gazelle runs in the mountains, suddenly
disappears and then appears once more. Later on as well, it seems to have
disappeared, but it has really just moved forward, and it then reappears further
along. In the same way, Moshe is the redeemer who brought good tidings and put
hope and faith in our hearts. Suddenly he seemed to have disappeared. The
situation grew worse, and then it got better.
the start of the return to Zion, the Arabs perpetrated a terrible pogrom in
Chevron. Not only were many righteous Jews brutally murdered, but the community
was in despair, saying, “This is not what we thought would happen.” Maran
Ha-Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook wrote an article “Return to the Stronghold!”
saying, “We have to be courageous. In the terrifying event which has now occurred
in Chevron, the redeemer seems to have disappeared, but he will be revealed
once more” (Ma’amarei Ha-Re'eiyah, page 360).
must not despair over what is happening. Rather, we must be courageous and persevere.
This is not the first time since the start of our national rebirth that we face
setbacks, and we have to consider that it will not be the last time either.
says in Shir Ha-Shirim 2:17: “Be like a gazelle or a young hart upon the
mountains of Beter.” What is meant by “the mountains of Beter?” This is a
mountain with a cleft [Beter] down the middle. The gazelle passes through the
cleft and none can see it. It was to reassure us about those times that G-d
forged His covenant with Avraham (Bereshit 15), likewise called “the covenant
between the split halves [Betarim].” When we see the gazelle run, all rejoice
and are enthusiastic. The true test of whether we yearn for salvation comes
when we do not see the gazelle, when it is concealed in the mountain cleft.
the Shemoneh Esrei prayer we express this yearning. Rav Kook explains that
yearning for salvation includes two things:
Even when it seems to us as though the Redemption is at a standstill, or
actually regressing, we have to continue to believe that the Master of the
Universe is moving matters forward, only we do not see it.
We have to seize upon all possible means to advance redemption, what Rav Kook called
“creative yearning” (Olat Re'eiyah 1:279).
we face hardships and setbacks, we must not despair, but rather increase our
strength and courage. Then, in the end, we will prove capable of the challenge.
To Enrich the spiritual life of the English-speaking World through the Torah of Ha-Rav Shlomo Aviner, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem. By offering English translations of Rav Aviner’s written and oral Torah, this division of the yeshiva aims to expose English speakers to a powerful, sensitive and poetic voice unparalleled in our time. His unfailing optimism, his tolerance and love all Jews, his guidance for harmony within the Jewish family and his dedication to Eretz Yisrael, the State of Israel and Tzahal will inspire and enrich the lives of all who may now have access to his words.