Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #285

Righteous Convert

Q: Is it permissible for people to ask me if I am a convert?  And if they ask me, what should I say?

A: It is forbidden for someone to ask, since it has the potential to embarrass (Baba Metzia 58b).  If you are asked and are embarrassed to say that you are a convert, it is permissible to say that you were born a Jew (Yevamot 65b), even though being a convert is a great honor (see Tosafot Kiddushin 70b).


Teshuvah and Geulah

Q: Aren't the Charedim correct that Am Yisrael will first perform Teshuvah and only then return to Zion in purity?

A: This was in fact one of the possibilities, but as it happened, Am Yisrael did not repent in the Exile but will do so here (In the newly released edition of the book "Eim Ha-Banim Semeichah" of Keren Re'em, it is written in the introduction [p. 12] that during the Tena'im ceremony held for the engagement between the granddaughter of Ha-Rav Yissachar Shlomo Teichtel, author of Shut Mishneh Sachir and Eim Ha-Banim Semeichah, and the eldest grandson of the present Belzer Rebbe, the Belzer Rebbe related that in the year 5703, Ha-Rav Teichtal came to his uncle and father [the previous Belzer Rebbe Ha-Rav Aharon and Ha-Rav Mordechai of Bilgoray] in Budapest to ask for a Haskamah for his book Eim Ha-Banim Semeichah.  Rav Mordechai of Bilgoray said to him: There is a dispute in Mishnah Pesachim [10:6]: How far does one recite Hallel during the Pesach Seder prior to the meal?  Bet Shammai says: Until [the verse] "Eim Ha-Banim Semeichah - As a joyous mother of children", while Bet Hillel says: Until "The flint into a fountain of waters".  We currently follow the halachic rulings of Bet Hillel.  In the future, the Halachah will follow Bet Shammai: "Eim Ha-Banim Semeichah" [- a play on the name of his book].

But apparently they were unaware that when the Belzer Rebbe - Ha-Rav Aharon -made Aliyah, he came to Reb Noson - Ha-Rav Shalom Natan Ra'anan Kook, Maran Ha-Rav Kook's son-in-law - and said: You and I had differences regarding the way to bring Jews on Aliyah. We [much of the Haredi world] said that they should first be strengthened in Judaism outside of the Land and only then could they make Aliyah in order to build in holiness; you said that every one of them should quickly come on Aliyah without calculation. After the Holocaust, it has become clear to us that we erred, and we are greatly distressed over this fact.  Sichot Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah – Eretz Yisrael pp. 57, 221-222.  This story is also brought in Imrei Shefer on Ha-Rav Avraham Shapira, p. 37).


Foreign Embassy in Eretz Yisrael

Q: Is a foreign embassy in Eretz Yisrael considered outside of Eretz Yisrael?

A: Not according to Halachah.  It is simply an agreement between nations that it is as if the embassy is their own country.



Q: It is permissible to say "Tu-Tu-Tu" to keep bad luck away?

A: It is a superstition and forbidden.


Bothersome Student

Q: If a student is being bothersome in class, should I send him to the principal?

A: Solve the problem by yourself.


Blessing by an Atheist

Q: Is a blessing said by an Atheist a blessing in vain?

A: This is the opinion of Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein but it is an innovative ruling (Shut Igrot Moshe, Orach Chaim 3:21).