Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #289

Serving in Tzahal and Torah Scholars
Q: Is it true that it is impossible to serve in Tzahal and also blossom into a Torah scholar?
A: You should repent for shaming Torah scholars by asking this question.  After all, many great Torah scholars served in Tzahal, including: The Chief Rabbi Ha-Rav David Lau, Ha-Rav Tzvi Tau (Nasi of Yeshivat Har Ha-Mor), Ha-Rav Shear Yashuv Cohen (Rav of Haifa), Ha-Rav Shmuel Eliyahu (Rav of Tzfat), Ha-Rav Avraham Yosef (Rav of Holon) and many others (Note: Ha-Rav Aviner also served in Tzahal – M.T.). 

Child who Talks to Doll
Q: Our seven year old pours his heart out to his doll when he is laying in bed.  Is this a problem of idol worship?
A: Certainly not.  It is not only permissible but good.

Humility in Torah Learning
Q: What should I do if the Tosafot's words do not seem logical?
A: You need humility to realize that they are logical.  It is you who is not thinking logically.  When Rabbi Akiva Eiger writes on a Tosafot: "Tzarich Iyun" - it requires investigation, he does not mean that the Tosafot requires invetigation but rather he himself requires investigation in order to understand their words (In his youth, Ha-Rav Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman, who later became Rosh Yeshiva of Ponovezh, spoke in learning with Reb Chaim Brisker.  A Tosafot came up and the Ponovezher Rav said that it was difficult to understand, and he repeated it a few times to emphasize that the Tosafot's words were truly difficult.  Reb Chaim disapproved of this expression and said: "The Tosafot is not difficult, only your head has difficulty understanding it."  Rabban Shel Kol Bnei Ha-Golah – Toldot Ha-Grach p. 559 note #25.  And Ha-Rav Ovadiah Yosef once said to his grandson that the abbreviation of the letters "Tzadi-Ayin" does not mean: "Tzarich Iyun" - it requires investigation, but rather "Tzarich Amal" – it requires toil.  Maran Shel Kol Bnei Ha-Golah p. 136).

Reusing Water Bottles
Q: Is it true that reusing small plastic water bottle is unhealthy?
A: There are those who claim that bacteria from one's mouth and hands build up in them and there is a problem with BPA.  Ask a doctor (See Wikipedia – Reusing Water Bottles).

Visiting the Sick
Q: I heard that one who visits a sick person but does not Daven for him does not fulfill the Mitzvah of Bikur Cholim.  Is this correct?
A: This is the ruling of Rama (Yoreh Deah 335:4).  But his intention is not that the person does not fulfill the Mitzvah at all, only not in its entirety.  Chafetz Chaim in Ahavat Chesed (3:3).

Student without Tzitzit
Q: If a student in my class stubbornly refuses to wear Tzitzit, should I wait patiently or demand that he put them on?
A: If he is negatively affecting others in this area, then demand it, like Shammai. If he is not, then wait patiently like Hillel. Ain Aya, Shabbat 31.

Anorexia
Q: What should be done with a young woman who is anorexic and refuses food and treatment?
A: There is no choice, she must eat and have treatment. This is a life-threatening situation. She must therefore be hospitalized.

Sadness
Q: How does one free himself from sadness?

A: Through the intellect.  By seeing things in their proper proportion, and recognizing that the most important and joyous thing in the world is serving Hashem.  Pele Yoetz, Erech "Atzvut".