Question: With Hashem's kindnesses, the State of Israel received F-35 Stealth Fighter jets. Should the blessing of Shehechiyanu be recited, or is it not recited because the fighter plane is a weapon of war? If it should be recited, who recites the blessing?
Answer: War indeed causes distress, but for now we are obligated to wage war. The Rambam calls one of the books in the Mishneh Torah Hilchot Melachim U-Milchamot - Laws of Kings and Wars. The censored edition calls this book "Laws of Kings and Their Wars", as if the Nation of Israel only waged wars in the past but no longer does so. This is not true. There is no free nation without war. To our great distress, we therefore must wage war, but we can take pride in the power of the deterrence of Tzahal. How fortunate are we to have merited these planes!
Regarding which blessing to recite: the blessing of "Shehechiyanu" is recited over an object acquired by one person, while the blessing of "Ha-Tov Ve-Ha-Meitiv" is recited over an object acquired for the benefit of more than one person: Hashem is good to me and does good for others )Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 223:2). In this case, the Stealth Fighter jets are obviously for the benefit of the entire Nation of Israel!
Many years ago, I wrote a long Teshuvah that one should recite such a blessing over the acquisition of a pistol (in this case "Shehechiyanu". See Shut She'eilat Shlomo 3:87). This is true all the more for the F-35 jets!
There were Gedolei Yisrael who disagreed with my Teshuvah on the pistol for various reasons, including that it is a weapon of destruction. These included the former Chief Rabbi of Tzahal, Ha-Rav Brigadier General Avi Ronski, Ha-Rav Dov Lior, Ha-Rav Ovadiah Yosef and Ha-Rav David Cohen, Ra"m in our Yeshiva (brought in the book "Ke-Chitzim Be-Yad Gibor Vol. 1, pp. 131-133). Perhaps the four Rabbis who disagreed with me regarding the blessing over a pistol would agree, however, regarding a fighter plane. In any event, I discussed this issue with the current Chief Rabbi of Tzahal, Ha-Rav Brigadier General Ayal Krim, and he agrees that the blessing of "Ha-Tov Ve-Ha-Meitiv" should be recited over the fighter jets. And as the Torah says: And come to the Chief Rabbi of Tzahal who will be in your days (play on the verse "Come to the judge who will be in your days" - Devarim 17:9), and the Chief Rabbi of Tzahal is the halachic authority of the army.
The blessing should be recited by the head of the Israeli Air Force.
And we can add (somewhat in jest) that if the head of the Air Force wants to be strict, and follow all of the opinions, he can buy a new shirt to be worn by a few people and recite the blessing "Ha-Tov Ve-Ha-Meitiv" over the $25 shirt while also having the 90 Million Dollar F-35 Stealth Fighter jet in mind… This reminds us of the story that when Ha-Rav Shlomo Goren was Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, he recited Shehechiyanu on the night of Yom Ha-Atzmaut in Shul as was his opinion. One of the people there questioned it, and Rav Goren waved his tie, as if to say that he was wearing a new tie, and so the blessing was on it. After the davening, Rav Goren scolded the man: It is obvious to you that one says Shehechiyanu on a new tie, but not on a new State?!
Taking a Book from a Beit Midrash
Q: Is it permissible to take a book from a Beit Midrash for a few hours in order to learn from it?
A: Only with the Gabbai's permission.
Giving Tzedakah without Offending
Q: How can I give money to a family member who is in a bad financial state without offending him?
A: Tell him that it is a loan, and then forget about it.
Children's Book about Noach
Q: There is a children's book which depicts Noach as a good and kind grandpa. Is there a problem with it?
A: Yes. One needs to have awe of holiness towards him: He was a righteous man who walked with G-d (Bereshit 6:9. And see Ha-Rav's book on learning Tanach properly "Torat Emet").
Sleeping in a House Where Someone Died
Q: Is it true that if someone sleeps in a house where someone died, even for one night after the Shiva, he must continue to sleep there during the entire Sheloshim?
Milk and Fish in One Oven
Q: What is the Halachah if one cooked meat and fish in the oven at the same time but on different trays?
A: If one did not drip on the other, it is, after the fact, Kosher. Aruch Hashulchan (Yoreh Deah 116:10).
List of Donors
Q: Is it permissible for an organization to pass along a list of donors to others?
A: Our Rabbis forbade one from relating that he received good "Hachnasat Orchim" (hospitality) lest others come to the person who provided it. It is praising another in a loud voice. Arachin 17a. Nonetheless, Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein allows it since the donor always has the option to refuse. There is however an additional problem: perhaps the donor does not want one to tell others that he donated to that organization. One thus violates: "Gossipers go around revealing secrets" (Mishlei 11:13) or violating one's trust, i.e. "Genevat Da'at" (deception) (Shut Igrot Moshe, Yoreh Deah 3:95).
Pesukei De-Zimra Out Loud
Q: Is there worth in reciting Pesukei De-Zimra out loud?
A: Certainly. This aids one to have proper intent. Sefer Chasidim #18. But one should obviously not exaggerate and should not bother others. Piskei Teshuvot 51:70.
Immersing in the Dead Sea
Q: Is it permissible to immerse in the Dead Sea as a Mikveh?
A: It is dangerous to immerse there.
תוויות: Text Message Responsa
Q: Why isn't there an explicit Halachic ruling that smoking cigarettes is forbidden?
A: There are many given by Gedolei Yisrael (Including by Rav. See Piskei Shlomo Vol. 4 under the heading "Smoking").
Being Drunk and Bed-time Shema
Q: Is it permissible for someone who is drunk to recite the Bed-time Shema?
A: If he can recite it properly. But in general, one should not get drunk (See Biur Halachah #695).
Crossing on a Red Light
Q: Is it permissible to cross the street on a red light when it is late at night and there are no cars?
A: It is certainly forbidden. 1. Pikuach Nefesh - it is a life-threatening situation. There are sometimes people who think they can outsmart the system, and have been hit by a car or caused an accident. If the traffic light is still working at night, there is a logical reason for it (including international regulations). 2. The general principle, or in Aramaic, "Lo Pelug" – "We don’t distinguish regarding exceptions" (And Ha-Rav Avraham Genichovsky, Rosh Yeshivat Tshebin in Yerushalayim, was extremely careful not to cross against the light even late at night and even when no one was on the street, lest a child see him from a window and follow his lead. He has added that this is in order to teach a person not to disregard boundaries and accepted standards. And he once noted that crossing against a red light is the mindset of "My power and the strength of my hand" (Devarim 8:17) instead of Hashem providing me with power and strength, i.e. he crosses when he wants and does not need to be concern with the rules. And he referred to the verse: "And Edom (the name of a nation, but also meaning "red") refused to give Israel passage through his border. Bemidbar 20:21. And it is known that Ha-Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv once saw someone crossing at a red light, and said: Rasha - an evil person. The person was very taken aback and asked why he called him that. Rav Elyashiv said that such an act causes blood to be spilled, since children will see you and learn from your actions. Ha-Rav Genichovsky added that the Gerrer Rebbe - the Beit Yisrael - once saw a person cross against a red light and said the verse: "Edom says: Don't pass through me". Bemidbar 21:4. And Rav Genichovsky explained that the Beit Yisrael did not tell jokes, but rather intended that everyone would relate his "Vort" and learn not to cross on a red light. Agan Ha-Sahar, p. 456).
Succeeding in Tests
Q: I keep failing tests. Is there a Segulah in order for me to succeed?
A: Ask someone for help how to prepare for tests. And, of course, Teshuvah, Tefillah and Tzedakah.
Q: Is it possible to be cured from O.C.D.?
A: Yes. If it is mild, a Rabbi can help. If it is more serious, one requires a psychologist. If it is severe, one requires a psychiatrist. 4% of the population suffers from this problem. It is possible to overcome it.
Citizens who Live in Yesha
Q: How many Jews live in Yesha?
A: 340,000. 1/3 secular, 1/3 Religious-Zionist and 1/3 Charedim. Klal Yisrael.
Q: I found a Nargila in the trash. May I take it?
A: Yes, and break it into little pieces and throw it away, so that no one else finds it and uses it. Nargila is a greater killer than cigarettes, and cigarettes kills 10,000 people a year in Israel, 100 times more than Arab terror (See Shut Igrot Moshe, Yoreh Deah 3:35. An observant Jew once came to the yeshiva to speak to Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein and explained that his son was in prison for selling drugs. He wanted Reb Moshe to write a letter to the judge asking to have mercy on his son. Reb Moshe harshly said to him: "Your son causes people to be sick and hurts them. Let him sit in prison!" And the father tried over and over again to convince Reb Moshe, but he in no way agreed to sign such a letter, and added that his actions were against the laws of the country, which are not forfeited. Reshumei Aharon, p. 22).
תוויות: Text Message Responsa