Using Disposable Dishes and Plasticware on Shabbat

Question: Is it permissible to use disposable dishes and plasticware on Shabbat, or does it impinge on the honor of Shabbat?
Answer: It is permissible.  It potentially saves time washing dishes on Shabbat in a permissible manner of course) for the next meal and also saves one from the stress of washing all of the dishes after Shabbat, and this itself brings "Oneg Shabbat – Joy of Shabbat".  If one is able, it is preferable to use beautiful disposable dishes.
Ha-Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv was similarly asked: In a family blessed with many children, there are many dishes used during the course of Shabbat.  In order to lighten the load of washing all of the dishes, the husband wanted to use disposable dishes, including a disposable tablecloth, so that after the meal they could simply roll up all of the dishes in the tablecloth and throw them in the garbage.  The wife, however, asked: Even though it would certainly make things easier, isn't using disposable dishes disrespectful to the honor of Shabbat?  After all, if an important guest came to one's house, wouldn't we bring out the fancy dishes?  Rav Elyashiv responded: There is no impingement in using disposable dishes, and there is no disrespect to the honor of Shabbat (Va-Yishma Moshe Volume 1 p. 106).
Ha-Rav Yitzchak Zilberstein asked his brother-in-law, Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievsky this same question, and Rav Kanievsky answered with a story from his uncle, the Chazon Ish.  As is known, the Yeshiva world honors Shabbat by wearing a nice tie.  A Yeshiva student once approached the Chazon Ish and described how difficult it is for him to wear a tie in the summer because he sweats a lot.  He therefore asked: Is it permissible not to wear a tie or is it disrespectful to the honor of the Shabbat?  The Chazon Ish answered that if there is no enjoyment of Shabbat, there is no honor, i.e. if the Yeshiva student does not enjoy wearing the tie, than there is no honoring of Shabbat in doing so.
According to the Chazon Ish's answer, we can also say in our case, since washing the dishes can be a great stress, using disposable dishes is therefore not disrespectful to the honor of Shabbat.  And Ha-Rav Yitzchak Zilberstein says that since there are fancy disposable utensils today, it is preferable to use them rather than the simple ones.  Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievski agrees with him, although he holds that the basic Halachah is that it is even permissible to use simple disposable utensils and there is still no impingement on the honor of Shabbat.
Ha-Rav Zilberstein also added that lightening the burden on the wife/mother is in and of itself honoring Shabbat (Aleinu Le-Shabei'ach – Shemot p. 530).
There was once a young couple who was very close to the Bostoner Rebbe and Rebbetzin.  The couple was also close to Ha-Rav Yosef Solovietchik, who was Rav in Boston, along with teaching at Yeshivat Rabbenu Yitzchak Elchanan.  The couple was once invited to Rav Soloveitchik's home for a Shabbat meal.  The Bostoner Rebbetzin asked the young woman: What did you see there?  She answered: It was quite similar to what you do but there was one difference: They use disposable utensils.  The reason is that Rav Soloveitchik's wife wants to participate in her husband's Motzaei Shabbat class, and if she needed to wash dishes, she wouldn't be able to do so.  The Bostoner Rebbetzin went to her husband and told him this practice of Rav and Rebbetzin Solovietchik and asked: I am willing to eat on China every meal, but we have 30-40 guests every Shabbat and I wash dishes until Tuesday.  Why can't I use disposable dishes?  The Bostoner Rebbe said: You can use disposable dishes.  The Bostoner Rebbetzin said that she is so grateful to this young woman who told her what she saw at the house of Rav and Rebbetzin Soloveitchik (The Bostoner Rebbetzin Remembers pp. 165-166).
Nonethess, Ha-Rav Shammai Kehat Ha-Cohain Gross, Rav of Kehilat Machzekei Ha-Dat of Belzer Chasidim and author of Shut Shevet Ha-Kehati, holds that since one would not use disposable utensils for an important guest or at a wedding, one should be strict not to use them on Shabbat for adults, but can be lenient with using them for children (Kuntres Dvar Hashem Zu Halachah – Tefilah U-Bar Mitzvah #6).

If someone is adamant that NON-disposable dishes should be used, he should roll up his sleeves and help his wife wash dishes after Shabbat.  Satmar Chasidim end Shabbat very late due to a long Seudat Shelishit and the Rebbe's talk. Once, on a Saturday night, the Satmar Rebbe saw that one of his Chasidim was the last one in the Beit Midrash and was folding his Talit with great precision. The Rebbe asked him what he was doing. The Chasid said that he saw in various books that care in folding one's Talit is a Segulah for Shalom Bayit. The Rebbe responded: A better Segulah is to go home and help your wife wash dishes (Others tell this story in the name of Ha-Rav Chaim Shemuelitz.  In the book: "U-Piro Matok – Bereshit" of Ha-Rav Yitzchak Zilberstein p. 140).

Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #297

Food Coupons on Shabbat
Q: Is it permissible to buy a food coupon on a weekday in order to redeem in on Shabbat for food?
A: Yes.  Shemirat Shabbat Ke-Hilchata (29:15).

Candy at Nursery School
Q: We only give only children healthy food at home.  At nursery school they give out candies.  Should we forbid our children to eat it?
A: It is impossible to do so.  "You shall not muzzle an ox when it is threshing [the grain]" (Devarim 25:4).  It will break them.  Since it is only a small amount, it will not damage them.  Rambam, Hilchot De'ot 4:10.

Wearing Tzitzit
Q: Why are we obligated to wear a four-cornered garment in order to fulfill the Mitzvah of Tzitzit?  What is the transgression if one does not wear them?
A: It is correct that there is no transgression.  But when Hashem is angry with a man, he will also punish him for avoiding fulfillment of this Mitzvah.  Menachot 41a.  Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim #24.

Who is Hashem?
Q: Who is Hashem – in one sentence?
A: One who has G-d in one sentence does not have G-d.

Shehechiyanu on Donating Blood
Q: I am about to donate blood for the first time in my life.  Is it permissible for me to recite Shehechiyanu?
A: Yes. 1.  One recites Shehechiyanu on reciting a Mitzvah for the first time (Shut Orach Mishpat pp. 268-269).  2. We recite Shehechiyanu over good news (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 222:1).  Furthermore, the Bach (Orach Chaim #29) writes that there is a major difference between the blessing of Shehechiyanu and all other blessings: since the Shehechiyanu is recited over joy, one does not violate taking Hashem's name in vain by reciting it, even in a case where it is not certain that it should be recited. And even though there are those who disagree (Pri Megadim #225), it is possible to rely on the Bach’s opinion. 

Maran Ha-Rav Kook and JNF Tzedakah Boxes
Q: I heard in a class by a Charedi Rabbi that Rav Kook preferred Eretz Yisrael over the Torah, and he therefore ruled to remove the Tzedakah boxes of Rabbi Meir Baal Ha-Nes and replace them with JNF Tzedakah boxes.

A: It is a lie!  On the contrary, Maran Ha-Rav Kook ruled that the Tzedakah boxes of Rabbi Meir Baal Ha-Nes should remain affixed in the wall, as was the custom, and the JNF Tzedakah boxes should be placed on the table.  Shut Da'at Cohain (#136).

Is it Permissible to Cheat on a Test?

Question: I heard that it is permissible to cheat, since it isn't "Genevat Da'at" (deception), as the teachers know that cheating occurs, and it would be "a decree that the community cannot live up to [and which therefore is not binding]."  Furthermore, in our institution, there's serious competition among the students to be accepted into a particular program, for which math, English, and Talmud are the main subjects, and the students are accepted based on their relative ranking of grades.  Since there's rampant cheating in all of the subjects, I am asking if I too may cheat, since it is likely that otherwise I'll be harmed.
Answer: G-d forbid that it is permissible to cheat on tests and the like!  It is "Genevat Da'at" (Rambam, Hilchot Deot 2:6), which is a Torah prohibition according to most authorities (Smag, Negative Mitzvah #155), and is included in the prohibition of "Do not steal."  This is because "mind-stealing" (i.e. deception) is considered stealing, as it says [when Lavan accused Ya'akov], "You stole my mind" (Bereshit 31:26), and "Avshalom stole the mind of the people of Israel" (Shmuel 2 15:6).  Furthermore, it is possible that one is also violating "Stay far from a matter of lying," which is a much broader prohibition than "Do not lie," as it also includes indirect lying, various strategies, and even indirectly causing a misunderstanding by one's silence -- as we see from all the examples in the Talmud (Shevuot 30-31).  In addition, even without any verse, it is clear that cheating shows a lack of integrity. For a person to study Torah, he must first have integrity -- an ethical character trait that is both elementary and general.  Only on its foundation can one build the holiness of Torah.  The claim that "teachers know students cheat" does not make it permissible, just as the police's knowledge that there are thieves does not validate theft. In fact, it is the opposite -- the police force uses this knowledge to prevent theft. Similarly, a teacher's knowledge of cheating does not signify approval, but rather the opposite.  The proof is that if a teacher discovers a student cheating, he will punish him.  The claim that the prohibition of cheating is "not a decree the community can live up to" also does not apply, because this is not a new decree, but an old decree of the Creator who commanded us to have integrity.  Thank G-d, many students do not cheat.  As for the concern that you will be at a disadvantage if you do not cheat, this is also not grounds for permission.  Many times people of integrity suffer the consequences of their honesty, but "It is better for me to be called a fool all my life than to become evil in front of G-d even for a moment" (Mishnah, Eduyot 5:6). Other people's stealing does not permit you to steal. In the end, the truth will win out and people of truth will be the leaders of the world.