Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #316

Financial Advice from Rabbi
Q: Should one seek a Rabbi's advice in financial matters?
A: No.  He does not understand this area more than anyone else (unless he studied it).  See Sefer Ha-Tanya, letter #22.

Working in a Bakery
Q: Is it permissible to work in a bakery?  After all, cakes and cookies are not healthy!
A: It is permissible, since the buyer is free to eat a small amount, and this will not cause damage to his health (Mishnah Gittin 5:9). 

Fulfilling What The Holy One Blessed Be He Decrees
Q: How is it that we do not tell miracle stories about the truly great Rabbis but rather only about those who are not Gedolei Ha-Dor?
A: The greatest miracle is to possess proper character traits, fear of Hashem and Torah learning.  A story is told about a group of Chasidim and a simple Jew.  The Chasidim each related how great his Rebbe was, since whatever he decreed, Hashem fulfilled.  The first said: we arrived at a river and my Rebbe decreed, and Hashem split the river.  The second said: we arrived at a sea and my Rebbe decreed, and Hashem split the sea.  The third said: We arrived at a mountain and my Rebbe decreed, and Hashem divided it and we walked right through it.  The fourth said: it was pitch dark and my Rebbe decreed, and Hashem illuminated the entire darkness with a beam of light.  The simple Jews did not say a word.  They asked him about his Rebbe.  He said: My Rebbe does not decree and Hashem fulfills, rather he fulfills what Hashem decreed!  They all agreed that this is truly the best… (This principle is also found in the Divrei Yoel [Vayera p. 365], where the Satmar Rebbe explains that Avraham Avinu could have prayed to Hashem to nullfy His request to sacrifice his son, and he would certainly have been answered, as we find in the Gemara [Moed Katan 16b]: "A Tzadik decrees and The Holy One, Blessed be He, fulfills".  But Avraham Avinu did not do so, rather he went to fulfill Hashem's will.  Ha-Rav Yitzchak Tuvia Weiss, Gavaad of the Eidah Ha-Charedit in Yerushalayim, notes that this is similar to what the Chafetz Chaim once said: Although it is true that "A Tzadik decrees and The Holy One, Blessed be He, fulfills" is a high level, "The Holy One, Blessed be He, decrees and a Tzadik fulfills" is an even higher level.  In the book "Rabbenu Ha-Gadol Amaro" p. 159).

Shteinman = Kook
Q: I saw graffiti on a wall which said "Shteinman = Kook".  What does it mean?
A: It is meant as an insult to Ha-Rav Aharon Yehudah Leib Shteinman since he doesn't oppose certain Charedim from serving in the Charedi units in Tzahal.  He is therefore compared to Maran Ha-Rav Kook.  By the way, Ha-Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv once walked past this graffiti and thought it was meant as a compliment and said: Ha-Rav Shteinman is certainly a great Gadol, but not on the same level as Ha-Rav Kook… (We heard this from Ha-Rav Refael Schnorr, who is a Ra"m in our Yeshiva and the Rav of the neighborhood Maale Zeitim).

Netilat Yadayim in the Morning
Q: If I am in a place with no water, how do I Daven in the morning?
A: Clean your hands off well, recite the blessing "Al Nekiut Yadayim" (for cleaning hands – instead of "Al Netilat Yadayim") and Daven.  Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 4:22.  When you arrive at a place with water, perform Netilat Yadayim.  Aruch Ha-Shulchan 4:19.

Moshe Rabbenu Receiving Torah
Q: When Moshe Rabbenu received the Torah on Mt. Sinai did it include the stories and events that had not yet happened?
A: No.  Gittin 60.

Guarding a Member of Knesset who Desecrates Shabbat
Q: It is permissible to guard a member of Knesset who desecrates Shabbat?
A: Yes.  It is a severe transgression that he violates Shabbat, but we are nonetheless obligated to protect his life (see Teshuvah of Ha-Rav on protecting youth in Poland on Shabbat in Piskei Shlomo Volume 1 - Shabbat - Forbidden Labors).