Short & Sweet- Text Message Q&A #311

Tefillin Not Sitting on One's Forehead
Q: If I see that an adult's Tefillin is not sitting in the correct place on his head, but rather on his forehead, should I point it out?  Perhaps he will be embarrassed?
A: You can either ask an older person to point it out to him, or point it out yourself by asking him a question such as: "I should put on my Tefillin this way or the way that I see you have them?"  Or you can put them on the way he is wearing them and have a friend point out to you in front of him that they are sitting in the wrong spot.

First Shot
Q: I am in Tzahal.  I just shot my gun for the first time and am extremely happy.  Can I recite the blessing of Shehechiyanu?
A: Yes.  A good tiding.  Performing a Mitzvah for the first time (Shut Orach Mishpat #268-269).

Drafting Yeshiva Students
Q: Serving in the army is a Mitzvah, but because it is a Mitzvah that can be performed by others doesn't learning Torah supersede it (Moed Katan 9)?
A: Tzahal is currently in need of an additional 8000 soldiers to fill all of its positions.  For example, it is lacking 1000 Kashrut supervisors.  This is a very important and holy job, and is perfect for students from Charedi Yeshivot.

Text Message or Oral Question
Q: Is it better to ask a Rabbi a question orally than in a text message?
A: Certainly.  But sometimes the question is urgent, or a person does not have a Rabbi, or the questioner is embarrassed and wants to remain anonymous.

Note to Refrain from Speaking Lashon Ha-Ra  
Q: Is it a good idea for me to prepare littles notes which remind me not to speak Lashon Ha-Ra?
A: Yes.  It is a good idea which helps some people.  See Zachor Le-Miriam 21:1.

Bar Mitzvah Meal
Q:  Can a Bar Mitzvah meal be dairy?
A: Yes.  Other meals for a Mitzvah may also be.  The essence is that the meal is respectable (see Piskei Teshuvot #194 in the notes.  Shut Teshuvot Ve-Hanhagot 2:485, 3:294).  

Q: Will I get the evil eye if I write a will?
A: Certainly not.  Some authorities even hold that it is a Segulah for a long life.

Travel Expenses
Q: I receive reimbursement for travel for my job, but sometimes I get a ride.  Can I still receive the payment?

A: Ask your work directly, since it depends on the conditions of the job.

Religious Jews in the Israeli Security Apparatus

Question: What is Ha-Rav's opinion about the fact that the heads of the Israeli Police, the Shabak (Israeli internal security service) and the Mossad (foreign intelligence service) are all religious?  It's like a dream come true!
Answer: The question itself shows that we are still suffering from the terrible disease caused by our exile: sectarianism.  And in the words of our Sages: Sinat Chinam – baseless hatred.
The very cause of our national destruction was baseless hatred, i.e. the claim that only one group contains all of the truth, all of the righteousness and all of the integrity, while all other groups are rotten, wanting and wrong.  Or in the words of the philosopher Kant: There is "us" and there is "them".    Or in words of the philosopher Sartre: "The other is Gehinom".  It is a national obligation to wage war with all of our means against sectarianism and the idea of raising our group's flag over another's. 
Maran Ha-Rav Kook described this phenomenon with great pain in his article "Masa Ha-Machanot" (The Journey of the Camps), in relation to the religious and secular, and called for all to remember that we are one Nation (Maamrei Ha-Re'eiyah), "Who is like you, Israel, one Nation in the Land".
We must cease this cursed behavior of relating to a person not according to who he truly is but rather according to the group with which he is affliated.
Regarding the statement: "It is like a dream come true", what dream?  The dream that only the religious are in charge of everything?  This is a horrible dream.  The Messiah has not yet come.
But if the dream is that the religious become involved in all parts of the State and take on responsibility – this is truly a great dream.
We will therefore end on an optimistic and joyous note.  We will point out that the choice of these three individuals proves that two ideas are lies.
1. The First Lie: The religious do not take upon themselves national responsibility.  This is not true.  Many important appointments have been made, not based on any political pressure, but rather on personal abilities and great self-sacrifice.  Ben Gurion once said: "Where are you, the religious, in the military cemeteries?"  When he said it, it was not correct. And all the more so today.
2. The Second Lie: The religious are blocked from being promoted in the security apparatus.  This is not true.  After all, since these three individuals were deemed fit for the position, what they wear on their head did not bother anyone.

The message of the story: We are one Nation.  What binds us together is greater than what separates us. 

Short & Sweet- Text Message Q&A #310

Gemara or Talmud
Q: Why do we use the Aramaic word "Gemara" instead of the Hebrew word "Talmud"?
A: Out of fear of the censor, since the Christians made a decree to burn all of the Talmuds, and they even hated the word "Talmud".

Carrying a Weapon
Q: I live in Yesha and want to carry a gun but my wife is scared to have a gun in the house.  What should I do?
A: Carry a gun.  But in your house, keep it in a safe as the law requires.

Folding One's Talit
Q: Is it true that folding one's Talit on Motzaei Shabbat is a Segulah for Shalom Bayit?
A: No.  And regarding this question, a Tzadik answered: He should fold up his sleeves and help his wife.  This is greatest Segulah for Shalom Bayit (And some relate this in the name of the Satmar Rebbe.  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.  And others say this incident in the name of Ha-Rav Chaim Shmulevitz, Rosh Yeshivat Mir.  The book "U-Piryo Matok - Bereshit" of Ha-Rav Yitzchak Zilberstein, p. 140).

Children at a Funeral
Q: At what age is it appropriate to bring children to a funeral?
A: There are no set guidelines.  It depends on the child.  If one does bring a child, he should talk to the child about it both beforehand and afterwards.  Bringing a child is sometimes necessary as a part of final separation from a beloved person whose has passed away (see a discussion of this issue at the end of Ha-Rav's book for children "Abba Lo Yashuv – Abba Will Not Return" [Hebrew]).

Extra Soul on Shabbat
Q: Is it true that since one gains an additional soul on Shabbat, he does not gain any weight?
A: Nonsense.

Worms for Fish Bait
Q: Is it permissible to use worms for fish bait, or is it forbidden because of "Tza'ar Ba'alei Chaim" (causing pain to animals)?
A: It is permissible.  1. It is a human need (Rama, Even Ha-Ezer 5:14).  2. Some Poskim hold that "Tza'ar Ba'alei Chaim" does not apply to worms (Piskei Teshuvot 156:23 #6).    

Q: Why is it so difficult for me to find a Shiduch?
A: It is impossible to solve this issue in a text message.  You can call and we can think about this together.

"Nusach Achid"
Q: I am Sefardi but feel a closer connection to "Nusach Achid" (The "Unity" Nusach for davening) than the Nusach of Sefardim. Can I use it?
A: "Nusach Achid" is essentially "Nusach Sefard" of Ashkenazim (which was introduced by the Chasidim in Eastern Europe). One should, as much as possible, use the Nusach of one's father and ancestors (Shut Yechaveh Da'at 3:6. We have heard in the name of Ha-Rav Shlomo Goren, who established "Nusach Achid", that his intention was not to create a Nusach to unite Klal Yisrael, but to use in the army where it is difficult to distribute all types of different Siddurim. He therefore chose this Nusach, which contains aspects of the various traditions).

Payment for Damage
Q: Someone damaged my car and paid restitution. Is it permissible for me to use the money for a different purpose?
A: Yes. He is obligated to pay for the damage, but the money is yours.

Hilltop Youth
Q: What is Ha-Rav's view of the Hilltop Youth?

A: Idealistic and courageous youth. They need to learn patience.  The most important thing is that there not be a war between Jews.

Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A for Chanukah - #309

Working when Candles are Lit
Q: Should women refrain from working the entire time the Chanukah lights are lit?
A: It is enough to refrain for a half an hour (Mishnah Berurah 670:4).
Q: Is housework is permissible?
A: Yes.  Food prep, washing dishes and similar activities (Chazon Ovadiah – Chanukah, p. 12.  Shut Kinyan Torah 7:52 #3).
Q: Should men also refrain?
A: Some are strict, but housework is permissible according to the basic halachah (Magen Avraham 670:1.  Mishnah Berurah #3.  Chazon Ovadiah – Chanukah, p. 14).

Chanukah Lights in a Guard House
Q: Should someone on guard duty light in his guard house?
A: Yes. It is his temporary residence (Yalkut Yosef – Moadim p. 208). It is also a nice way of publicizing the miracle.

Waiting for One's Family to Light Chanukah Candles
Q: Should one light Chanukah candles right away at nightfall or wait for one's spouse?
A: If one lights inside the house, he should wait.  If one lights outside, he may wait as long as there are still passersby (The Chafetz Chaim’s rebbe, Rebbe Nachumke of Grodno, once waited several hours until his wife returned home before lighting the Chanukah lights.  The Chafetz Chaim asked him why he waited, and his teacher explained that if one can only buy either Chanukah candles or Shabbat candles, we rule that he should buy Shabbat candles, since Shabbat candles are for "Shalom Bayit" - peace and tranquility of the home [Shabbat 23b.  Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 678:1].  "If Shabbat candles take precedence over Chanukah candles because of Shalom Bayit, then all the more so I should wait for my wife, since if I don't wait for her, she may be distraught."  Ha-Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv explains, however, that this conduct of Rebbe Nachumke only applies outside of Israel where people light Chanukah candles inside: since the lighting is publicizing the miracle to his family, we therefore take "Shalom Bayit" into consideration.  But in Eretz Yisrael, where we light outside, we must light while there are passersby in order to publicize the miracle to them.  If it is too late, we do not fulfill the Mitzvah.  We therefore do not take "Shalom Bayit" into consideration.  Peninei Chanukah, pp. 172-173).    

Operation during Chanukah
Q: Is it permissible to undergo surgery during Chanukah even though the person will not be able to light Chanukah candles?
A: Yes.  It is permissible for a person to put himself in a situation where he will be unable to fulfill a Mitzvah on account of Pikuach Nefesh (preserving life).  See Ha-Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv brought in Ashrei Ish, p. 233.    

Segulah for Chanukah Wicks
Q: I heard that there is a Segulah to find a match by taking the leftover oil and wicks from the Chanukiyah, burning them, and then walking over them 7 times.  What is the source?
A: Nonsense (And Ha-Rav Ben Tzion Mutzafi wrote in Shut Doresh Tzion: I have not heard about this).
[By the way, regarding burning the wicks, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 677:4) writes that one should burn the leftover oil in the Chanukiyah at the conclusion of Chanukah.  The commentaries add that the same should be done with the wicks, which are saturated with the oil.  The reason one should burn them is because they were set aside for a Mitzvah and may not be used for another purpose (such as burning or eating).  If they are put aside for the next year, there is a fear that they will accidentally be used (see Tur ibid. and Mishnah Berurah #19).
If so, it would appear that there is no obligation to burn them according to the basic Halachah, since the only fear is that someone may use them.  It would also therefore be permissible to bury them or place them in a plastic bag and throw them away. 
In his commentary on Pirkei Avot, 'Az Yomru' (pp. 131-133), Ha-Rav Yitzchak Aharon Goldberger, Dayan and Rosh Yeshiva of Chasidei Pupa, writes that he discussed this question with the Admor of Pupa.  Rav Goldberger once saw the Admor in the middle of the night burning the wicks in the courtyard, moving them around with a stick in the fire until they were completely ash.  Rav Goldberger said that perhaps there is no obligation to burn the wicks, just as it is permissible to throw out detached Tzitzit as long as it is done in a non-disgraceful manner, or to place them in a Geniza according to the custom of those who are meticulous in Mitzvah observance (Shulchan Aruch and Rama, Orach Chaim 21:1).  Similarly, it is permissible to wrap separated Challah in paper and throw it in the garbage if it is difficult to burn it, so that no mishap occurs (Mahar"i Steif brought in Teshuvot Ha-Maor.  And also brought in Mo'adim Uzmanim 7:177.  See also Shut Minchat Yitzchak 4:13). 
The Admor of Pupa responded that perhaps his words are correct, but since our Sages used the term "to burn it", he prefers to perform the obligation according to what our Sages said.  He is therefore particular to completely burn the wicks.  And this is the Minhag among some Chasidim, and the meticulous burn them among a large group of people.
Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievski, however, answered that the wicks may be buried (Shut Yadon Moshe 12:71).

This, however, has no connection to a Segulah – M.T.]

Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #308

My Wife is Tired
Q: If my wife is tired, is it permissible for me to Daven on my owe at home and watch the kids so she can sleep?
A: Yes.

Divine Providence
Q: Why isn't Divine Providence mentioned in the Rambam's 13 Principles of Faith?
A: It is included in the first principle: "I believe with perfect faith that the Creator, blessed be His Name, is the Creator and guide of everything that has been created, He alone has made, makes and will make all things".

Choosing a Spouse
Q: After we got engaged, my mother went to a Kabbalist who said that we should break it off since the Gematria of the man's name must be higher than that of the woman's in order for a Shidduch to work out (which is not the case with us).  Is this true?
A: No.  It is a new invention.  What one requires for a successful Shidduch is respect and love.  And by the way, it is good that our Avot and Imahot didn't listen to such advice since Avraham=248 and Sarah=505, Yitzchak=208 and Rivkah=307 and Yaakov=182 and Rachel=238.  If they had listened, none of them would have gotten married and there would not have been Am Yisrael!  Only Leah (=36) is less than Yaakov, but she was not originally supposed to marry him.  You should get married.  Mazal Tov!

Curses on the Sidewalk
Q: There are curses sprayed on our sidewalk.  Is it permissible to spray paint over them?
A: Turn to the local municipality or the local Rabbi.  If this is not possible, then it is a Mitzvah to scribble them out.  

Techelet on Tzitzit
Q: Should I put Techelet on my Talit?  Others who learn in my Yeshiva wear Techelet…
Q: Gedolei Yisrael do not wear Techelet and the Minhag of Gedolei Yisrael is more important than the Minhag of your Yeshiva (Ha-Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv was once asked about a child who learned in a Yeshiva and asked if he should wear Techelet like all the other children there.  He answered: Tell him that I do not go with Techelet.  They asked further: Even though the Minhag there is to go with Techelet?  He answered: Even though.  From the book 'Mi-Pi Ha-Ish' p. 329).

Cohain's Wife who is Pregnant in Cemetery
Q: Is it permissible for the wife of a Cohain who is pregnant to enter a cemetery?

A: Yes.  Even if they know it is a boy, since he is not yet born.  Mishnah Berurah 343:3.  And see Kaf Ha-Chaim ibid. #74).