Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #314

Bitul Torah
Q: What is the definition of Bitul Torah?  Is every moment that I am not learning Torah considered Bitul Torah?
A: Each person according to his level.  The more one learns Torah, the more praiseworthy.  See Or Sameach, beginning of Hilchot Talmud Torah.

Personal Prayers
Q: Is a personal prayer from the heart equal to a prayer from the Siddur, or is it even greater?
A: It is less.  The prayers from the Siddur came from the heart of the Members of the Great Assembly (Anshei Knesset Ha-Gedolah) which included prophets.  They are the heart of Klal Yisrael.  A personal prayer is therefore an addition to the prayers in the Siddur and not a substitute of them.

Chabad
Q: Is it idol worship for Chabadniks to say that the Rebbe is alive and is the Messiah, and to Daven to his picture?
A: They exaggerate, but one who says this is idol worship is also exaggerating.

Burying Dentures
Q: Is there an obligation to bury dentures with a person who passed away?
A: No (See Berachot 5b that Rabbi Yochanan would carry a bone [smaller than the size of a piece of barley which would spread impurity – Rashi ibid.] or a tooth [Rashbam on Baba Batra 116a] of his tenth son who died, in order to comfort others who had a loss.  We learn from here that it is not even required to bury an actual tooth.  See Shut Yabia Omer Volume 3, Yoreh Deah #21.  Shut Tzitz Eliezer 10:5 #8.  And see Shut Mishneh Halachot 16:113 who brings a few opinions that one is un fact required to bury a tooth.  And he also relates there that although the Noda Bi-Yehudah held that there is no obligation to bury a tooth, he appeared to his son, Ha-Rav Shmuel Landau,  in a dream and told him to bury his tooth which he left on a bookshelf.  Ha-Rav Shmuel miraculously found the tooth).

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 that the JNF Tzedakah boxes should be placed on the table.  Shut Da'at Cohain (#136).

Marriage, Army, Studies
Q: What is the proper order: Marriage, army, studies?
A: Studies, army and then marriage.  This is in general.  But for specific cases, one should ask a Rabbi who knows the individual.

Name Not in the Tanach
Q: Is it permissible to give a child a name which does not appear in the Tanach?

A: Certainly.  For example, Rabbi Tarfon, Rabbi Akiva, etc.