Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #332

Cell Phone on Shabbat
Q: I have a relative who is a Holocaust survivor and on Shabbat she was telling me what she went through.  Suddenly, she pulled out a cell phone and showed me a picture.  Did I commit a transgression?
A: No.  This is considered a benefit that comes to a person against his will.  Pesachim 25b.

Exercising on Shabbat
Q: Is it permissible for me to exercise on Shabbat if it saves me from depression and lying in bed the entire day?
A: Certainly.

Aliyah or More Religious
Q: Which is preferable - to make Aliyah or to be more religious outside of Israel?
A: Good question, but in the long run, the Exile is spiritually dangerous.

Comparing Jews to Nazis
Q: A high-ranking Tzahal officer compared Jews to Nazis.  How should we relate to this?
A: This is what is called "Godwin's Law". If a discussion goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone else to Hitler.  This obviously causes the entire value of the discussion to be lost (see "Godwin's Law" in Wikipedia).

Protection for a Mourner
Q: If a mourner needs to walk in the street, does he require an escort?
A: If there are other Jews in the street, he does not require an escort.  A bride and groom require an escort since they are similar to a queen and king.  A mourner, however, requires an escort so he will not be alone, and if others are in the street, he will not be alone.  See Piskei Teshuvot 239:11 (When Rav Aviner was sitting Shiva for his mother z"l, he came to the Yeshiva one morning so that the students could pay a Shiva call without having to travel far and thus missing Torah learning.  He told me that when he walked through the Kotel Plaza, he did not require an escort, but when he walked through the so-called Muslim Quarter he would need one).

Error in Number of Loops on Tzitzit
Q: Does an error in the number of loops on Tzitzit make them invalid?
A: No.

Babylonian Talmud
Q: Why do we learn the Babylonian Talmud which is from the Exile and not the Jerusalem Talmud, which is a product of Eretz Yisrael?
A: 1. The Babylonian Talmud is written extensively and there are many commentaries on it, while the Jerusalem Talmud is written briefly and has merited few commentaries.  2. The Babylonian Talmud is not exilic.  It is an expansion of the Mishnah, which is a product of Eretz Yisrael.

Army in the Time of Mashiach
Q: Will there be an army during the time of the Mashiach?
A: Yes.  The Mashiach will wage great wars.  See Rambam, Hilchot Melachim Chapters 11-12.
Q: But it is written: "Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning-hooks into spears" (Yoel 3:10)?
A: That will occur much later.  See Rambam, ibid.

Dulling of the Heart to Save One's Life
Q: If someone is obligated to eat non-Kosher food because he is in a life-threatening situation, does the food cause him "dulling of the heart" (dulling of one's spiritual sense, "Timtum Ha-Lev")?

A: No. Maran Ha-Rav Kook writes in his book "Musar Avicha" (p. 19) that the dulling of one's heart comes from violating a prohibition and not from the food itself (Yoma 39a.  And see Meharsha on Shabbat 33a).  Therefore, someone who eats non-Kosher food which is permitted to him, does not experience a "dulling of the heart" (Ha-Griz Soloveitchik, the Brisker Rav, also holds this way.  Uvdot Ve-Hanhagot Mei-Beit Brisk Volume 2, p. 50.  As well as Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievski in his book "Orchot Yosher" #13).

Parashat Devarim: Video Dvar Torah by Rav Aviner - Come and Possess Eretz Yisrael - Promise and Command



The entire book of Devarim is one long speech given by Moshe Rabbenu before his death and before Israel enters the Promised Land. In his humility, he had protested to being appointed, saying: “I am not a man of many words” (Shemot 4:10). Forty years later, at the age of 120, he encompasses the whole history and geography of Israel in his final speech - addressing both the individual and the Nation as a whole.

Throughout the past century, a great debate has been going on regarding whether it is up to us to conquer and settle the land, or whether we should sit and wait for G-d’s promise to be fulfilled. This week’s parashah contains the promise: “See, I have presented you with the Land” (Devarim 1:8). Although this seems to imply that G-d will ensure that we get the Land, we are immediately commanded: “Come and possess the Land which Hashem swore to your fathers, to Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, to give to them and to their descendants after them” (ibid.). “Hashem swore,” but it is up to us to ensure that His word be done. It is both a promise and a command. We must not rationalize that if Hashem swore, there is nothing for us to do but sit and wait. It is precisely because He swore that we know that our efforts are meaningful, and that they will bear fruit. We must conquer and settle the Land.

Ha-Rav Shlomo Aviner's Newest English Book - Prophecies for the Generations

Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim
Presents
Torah from Zion Project

English Books of
Ha-Rav Shlomo Aviner Shlit"a

Rosh Yeshiva of Ateret Yerushalayim in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem. Rav of Beit El & one of the leading Rabbis of Religious-Zionism today.  One of the most prominent students of Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Ha-Cohain Kook, who followed directly in the footsteps of his father, Rav Kook.  Author of more than 150 Hebrew books filled with love of Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael & Torat Yisrael, tolerance & love to all Jews, guidance for harmony within the Jewish family, dedication to the State of Israel & Tzahal, and facing the most pressing questions of the day.   

Our Third Book in the Series
Prophecies for the Generations
Explorations into the Haftarot
In our times there is so much to see, so many miracles which Hashem performs for His Nation.  One must therefore open one’s eyes in order to see the natural fulfillment of the messianic prophesies in the return to Zion, the desert blossoming once again, the Land being rebuilt, the establishment of the State of Israel, the Jews gathering from their places of exile, Tzahal's victories, the booming economy and the Torah spreading throughout the entire length and width of the Land.  The promises of Hashem through the prophets are materializing before our very eyes.

Other books in series currently available:
Short and Sweet - Text Message Q&A - Volume 1 [Revised addition]

Price per book: $25 or 80 NIS (shipping included)

To order: 02-628-4101 [in Israel] or toratravaviner@gmail.com

Thought for the Beginning of the Three Weeks - Hashem Hiding His Face

Question: Why do we say that Hashem hides His face in the world (Hester Panim) when Hashem is everywhere?

Answer: Hashem can be found everywhere, but He sometimes hides; He is here but we cannot see Him. This means that everything which occurs in the world is under Divine direction, even strange events such as destructions, but Hashem is hiding. The Torah says: "I will surely hide My face" (Devarim 31:18). "I will hide" – He is there but we cannot see Him. "He was standing behind our wall, observing through the windows, peering through the lattices" (Shir Ha-Shirim 2:9). The Shechinah (Divine Presence) is always there but there are different levels. For example, Pirkei Avot says (3:6): If ten people learn Torah the Shechinah rests among them…and where do we learn that even five?...and where do we learn that even three?...and even two?...and even one? If the Shechinah is found with one person learning Torah, then why does the Mishnah have to begin with ten people?  Go directly to one person.  Answer: there are different levels of intensity by which the Divine Presence is found in a particular place. There is a level of the Shechinah dwelling when we are in our Land during the Redemption. There is a level when we are in Exile which is called "Shechinta Be-Galuta – the Shechinah in Exile." When the Temple is standing, the Divine Presence rests among us more, and when the Temple is not standing, less so. Hashem is now slowly returning His Divine Presence to Zion. We are in an intermediate stage. He is hiding His face, because there is suffering and pain, and it is impossible to say that we have reached the complete Redemption. But we are not in Exile – pursued, plundered and murdered. In the Haggadah of Pesach, we say: "The day is approaching which is neither day nor night" (from the song "U-ve'chain Va'yehi Ba-chatzi Ha-liela" at the end of the Seder). It is like twilight, there is both darkness and light at the same time. Even though we are certainly waiting for the day which is completely “day,” we know that the Redemption comes "slowly, slowly."

Rabbi Shlomo Aviner Has Some Sound Advice For Bayit Leumi MKs Regarding Halacha

https://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/headlines-breaking-stories/1310103/rabbi-shlomo-aviner-sound-advice-bayit-leumi-mks-regarding-halacha.html 

Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #331

100 Blessings a Day
Q: Does the requirement to recite 100 blessings a day begin from the morning or the night?
A: From when three stars come out at night.  Piskei Teshuvot 46:10.
Q: Who established this obligation?
A: King David.  And some explain that he re-established a decree that had been forgotten.  Ibid. #9.
Q: Are women obligated to recite 100 blessings each day?
A: It is a dispute.  Ibid.

Gemara Aids
Q: Is it permissible to use a Gemara which has vowels and punctuation?
A: Yes.  It is very good.
Q: But one must learn with toil?
A: Don't worry.  There is toil with this as well.

Choosing an Apartment
Q: We found an apartment that fills our needs.  Do we need to ask a Rabbi for approval to buy or rent it?
A: No.

Religious-Zionists and Charedim
Q: Are we as Religious-Zionists closer to the secular Jews or to Charedi Jews?
A: To the Charedim: we have the shared goal of creating a holy State, even though we have a difference opinions on how to get there.  With the secular Jews, we have a difference of opinion regarding the goal itself.
Q: Why do we always talk about connecting with the secular Jews but not with the Charedim?
A: This is a mistake.  We need unity among the entire Nation.
Q: Are we obligated to help the Charedim do Teshuvah regarding their relationship to the State of Israel?
A: We are obligated to help ourselves do Teshuvah.
Q: Should we force the Charedim to join the Army?
A: No.  Things such as this cannot be forced.  We have to have patience.  There are more Chardeim going into the army each year.  Following the enactment of the new law, however, which forced them, the number declined significantly.  The exact opposite of what we want.

Cohanim During the Winter
Q: How will Cohanim work in the Beit Ha-Mikdash during the winter when they are barefoot?
A: The same as in the past: with self-sacrifice.

Dispute in the Gemara
Q: Is it logical that there are so many disputes in the Gemara?
A: They are very few disputes.  There is agreement on 99% of the issues, and disputes about only 1%, but the disputes fill up 99% of the Gemara.

One Book or Many
Q: Is it preferable to learn one book at a time or many books?
A: One book.  One should focus.  What one does, he should do well.  However, a person should learn Torah in a subject that his heart desires (Avodah Zarah 19a).  Therefore, if his learning in many books at a time brings more blessing than learning one book, he should do so.

Transgressions in Eretz Yisrael
Q: Which is worse – transgressions outside of Eretz Yisrael or within Eretz Yisrael?

A: Within Eretz Yisrael, since rebelling against the king is more severe than rebelling in the street.  Therefore, according to the Terumat Ha-Deshen and the Sha'arei Tzedek by the author the Chayei Olam, one who is not a Tzadik should not make Aliyah.  The Halachah, however, does not follow them.  Rather, one should make Aliyah and strengthen his commitment to Torah (see Alo Naale #56).

Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #330

Pesak Halachah before Blessing over Learning Torah
Q: If someone asks me a halachic question before I recite a blessing over learning Torah, is it permissible to answer?
A: Yes, if you answer without given the reasoning (even if you think about the reasoning).  Piskei Teshuvot 47:3.

Endangering Children for Settling Eretz Yisrael
Q: Is it permissible for parents to live in a place in Eretz Yisrael where there is some level of danger involved, or are they endangering their children?
A: Children follow their parents.  Shut Me'il Tzedakah brought in Pitchei Teshuvot Even Ha-Ezer #75.

Establishing Yeshivot
Q: Should we establish Yeshivot in every place?
A: Yes.  A Yeshiva is the heart of life in every place.

Calming a Baby in the Middle of a Blessing
Q: If I am in the middle of reciting a blessing and my baby starts crying, is it permissible for me to make signs with my hands and smile at him to calm him down?  After all, it is forbidden to do anything in the middle of a blessing.
A: After the fact, it is permissible, since calming the baby will aid in reciting the blessing properly.  Piskei Teshuvot 191:2.

Photograph on Shabbat
Q: What should I do if someone is taking a picture of me on Shabbat?
A: Refuse.  If it does not help, turn around or cover your face.

May the Merciful One Bless the State of Israel
Q: Should one add into the Birkat Ha-Mazon: "May the Merciful One Bless the State of Israel, beginning of our Redemption" and "May the Merciful One Bless the soldiers of the Israel Defense Force"?
A: There is no need.  These ideas are already included in the Birkat Ha-Mazon.

Direction of Davening at the Kotel
Q: Should one Daven straight at the Kotel or on an angle towards the Dome of the Rock which was the spot of the Beit Ha-Mikdash?
A: No one knows where the Beit Ha-Mikdash stood.  Although the Radvaz said that the Dome of the Rock is on the spot of the Beit Ha-Mikdash, Poskim have already pointed out that the Radvaz himself has a few contradictions regarding this issue.  Ha-Rav Moshe Sternbuch writes that the Radvaz says this is in the name of the Arabs and one cannot rely on their testimony.  Furthermore, he brings in the name of the Zohar that the location of the Temple is hidden in the ground and is unknown.  And the Arizal said that nothing will be built on top of the spot of the Beit Ha-Mikdash (Shut Teshuvot Ve-Hanhagot 3:39).  And when someone said to Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievski that today we know where the Holy of Holiest is located, and we should therefore Daven on an angle, he responded: We don't know anything (Le-Binyamin Amar p. 84).

Silver and Gold Wedding Anniversary
Q: Is the custom of celebrating a Silver or Gold Wedding Anniversary upon 25 or 50 years of marriage forbidden on account of "Chukot Ha-Goyim" (following the practices of the non-Jews)?
Q: No.  It is a proper and logical celebration in order to increase love and fraternity, peace and friendship (see Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah #175).

Unemployment Check
Q: I receive an unemployment check each month.  Is it permissible for me to work if the payment for this work will only be given to me after my unemployment benefits end?

A: Ask the unemployment office directly.

Yichud Among Pilots or Why Rav Aviner Stopped Answering Military Questions

Translated and summarized from here:

Ever since PM Benjamin Netanyahu publicized the existence of the first female Charedi pilot last week, I have seen much discussion online about whether or not she should really be considered Charedi, and if there is a problem with Yichud in the pilots cabin when flying a plane.  People just don't take well to anybody who does things a little differently than the average.  Anyways, someone asked Rav Aviner about it, and because the topic is interesting, I'll share it here.  
According to what is reported on Srugim, Rav Aviner responded to the query by saying that a similar question was asked about a private plane that was being rented to take a female passenger somewhere. Rav Asher Weiss said there is no Yichud because they will not come to any "hanky panky" as the pilot has to focus on flying the plane and if he gets drawn away from that the plane will surely crash.  Rav Aviner says that in a large plane, even more so it is not a problem. In a large plane there are stewards and stewardesses going into the cabin. And even with auto-pilot, the pilot still has to be alert and focused and ready to take over the controls at any moment.  
Rav Aviner concludes with an anecdote of how he once answered a similar question on a halachic program for the army. He was asked about a pilot with a religious female navigator being Yichud. He says he answered then that it is not Yichud (though he says there were other problems, though he does not specify). After the fact he was called by a reporter asking how he can answer army questions as a civilian. He responded that he is discussing theoretical questions, not practical, so it is ok, though he says after that he stopped answering army-related question and directs them to the IDF Rabbinate.

Hilchot Spinner

Is a Spinner Nonsense
Q: Some claim that the new "Spinner" is nonsense and therefore one should refrain from letting kids play with it?
A: Almost all games are nonsense, but kids need to play.  Every person needs to take a bit of a break (See Rambam, Shemoneh Perakim Chapter 5), and this is all the more so true for children.  The essense is not to overdo it.  Although there are smart games, such as Chess, kids also need easier games.  In sum, it is no different than any other game, and one should not over do it or become addicted to it.

Girl Playing with a Spinner
Q: Is it permissible for a girl to play with a spinner while walking in the street or does it draw unwanted attention to her?
A: It is permissible, since many play with it and it does not especially draw attention.

Spinner in a Shul or Beit Midrash
Q: Is it permissible to play with a spinner in a Shul or Beit Midrash?
A: In general, a Beit Midrash is holier than a Shul. The reason is that in a Shul, we turn to Hashem in prayer, but in a Beit Midrash, Hashem turns to us through Torah learning.  It is therefore permissible to turn a Shul into a Beit Midrash, but not visa-versa, since we go up in holiness and not down.  Nonetheless, there are more leniencies regarding a Beit Midrash since a person spends much of his time there and it is his home.  In a time of need, one may therefore eat and sleep there.  This leniency also applies to other acts which are not Torah learning and prayer on condition that they are not acts of frivolity.  See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim #151.  It is therefore permissible to play with a spinner in a Beit Midrash when one needs it for concentration, but this is forbidden in a Shul.  If one claims: but it helps one concentrate during Davening?  We are not in Shul for so long, and a person can concentrate for this amount of time without it.

Playing with a Spinner during Davening and Torah Learning
Q: It is correct that it is forbidden to play with a spinner during a Torah class, Torah reading and Torah learning?
A: Correct.  Absolutely.  One needs to have awe of holiness.  Berachot 22a.

Spinner on Shabbat
Q: Is it permissible to play with a spinner on Shabbat?  Is it forbidden on account of "Refuah" (medicinal purposes) since it is meant to help people with issues of concentration?

A: 1. If it has lights, it is forbidden on Shabbat.  2. If it does not have lights, it is not forbidden on account of "Refuah", since it is not recognizable as such.  3. It is considered like any other a toy, and is thus permissible for Ashkenazim and an issue of dispute among Sefardic Poskim.  See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 308:45.  Mishnah Berurah 338:21.  Yalkut Yosef - Shabbat Volume 2 308:6.  Shut Or Le-Tzion Volume 2 26:8.  4. If one can take it apart and reassemble it as part of a game, there is no problem of building.

Ha-Gaon Ha-Rav Ephraim Fischel Herschkowitz ztz"l: Rav of Approbations and Rav with Authority

Eulogy given in the Yeshiva]

The elder Posek of America, Ha-Gaon Ha-Rav Ephraim Fischel Herschkowitz ztz"l, has ascended on high.  Although not everyone knows of him, since he did seek publicity on account of his humility, anyone who is involved with Pesak Halachah knew him well.   
Rav Herschkowitz was born in the city of Munkatch in the year 5683 to a family of Spinka Chasidim.  He would accompany his father and grandfather to visit the Admor "Chakal Yitzchak" of Spinka on the holidays.  In his youth, he learned in the Talmud Torah in Munkatch, but when he reached the age to go and learn in Yeshiva, his father did not want him to learn in one of the large, Ashkenazi Yeshivot out of fear that he would lose his Chasidic fervor.  He therefore remained in Munkatch and learned with other young men in the Spinka Kloiz without a Rav and without a Rosh Yeshiva.  If he had a question, he would ask his uncle, Ha-Rav David Schlissel, Av Beit Din of the Beit Din of Admor "Minchat Eleazar" of Munkatch (see Shut Minchat Eleazar 4:64 that Rav David's great-grandfather was Rabbi Akiva Eiger).
Rav Herschkowitz had many positions as a Dayan and Posek during his lifetime and was therefore known by various titles.  After the Holocaust, he served as the Rabbi of Halein, Austria, and was therefore known as the Haleiner Rav.  He later moved to New York and was appointed by Ha-Admor of Sanz-Klausenberg, Rabbi Yekutiel Yehudah Halberstam, author of Shut Divrei Yetziv, to serve as a member of his Beit Din.  He was therefore also known as the Klausenberger Dayan, and he is thus being buried in the section of Klausenberg Chasidim in Netanya.  One may also see his importance in his approbations to hundreds of halachic books.  In merit of this, he was also known as the "Rav of Approbation".
Gedolei Yisrael greatly admired him.  For example, see Shut Mishneh Halachot (4:2) and the accolades given to Rav Herschkowitz by Ha-Rav Menashe Klein, the Ungvarer Rav.  
As a Posek and Dayan, he had interesting halachic positions.
As is known, today everyone learns Mishnah Berurah, but that was not always the case.  Ha-Rav Herschel Schachter, one of the Roshei Yeshiva of Yeshivat Rabbi Yitzchak Elchanan, once related that when he originally learned in Yeshiva there was hardly one set of Mishnah Berurah, while today there are myriads of sets.  And he himself didn't even have a Mishnah Berurah until six years after he was married.  His wife bought him a set as a birthday gift since her father had one.  If someone had a question, he looked in the Shulchan Aruch and its commentaries.
But many Poskim decided that the Mishneh Berurah was the final arbiter of Halachah, including the Tchbiner Rav (Sar Ha-Torah, p. 298), Chazon Ish (Maaseh Rav Volume 1, p. 23.  Kovetz Igrot Volume 2 #41) and Ha-Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv (Ha-Sod, pp. 124-125).  But Ha-Rav Herschkowitz would rule according to the many Chasidic Poskim, such as Shulchan Aruch Ha-Rav of Admor Ha-Zaken of Lubavitch and Shulchan Ha-Tahor - Kamarana.
Here are a few of his rulings: He ruled that one should limit the amount of time he wears Tefillin because of their holiness.  One should therefore remove them as quickly as possible after Davening, and it is preferable to take them off after the Shemoneh Esrei.  And he ruled that women are not obligated to Daven the entire Shemoneh Esrei, since this was the custom in the past generations (See our discussion in Shut She'eilat Shlomo 1:41.  Mishneh Berurah 106:4.  Piskei Teshuvot ibid.).
As said, Rav Herschkowitz was an important Dayan, and ruled in the most complex cases.  During the terror attack on the World Trade Center, a Belzer Chasid was killed.  He and his Beit Din investigated the details and freed the widow from being an Agunah.
One of the most important cases for Chabad Chasidim is what is known as "Didan Natzach".  The grandson of the Frierdiker Rebbe took Sefarim from the Chabad library in New York and sold them, claiming that as the only grandchild, he was the rightful inheritor.  The last Lubavitcher Rebbe, however, said that the books belong to the entire Chabad Chasidim.  After a lengthy legal battle, the Lubavitcher Rebbe was proven right.  The expression "Didan Natzach" means "we were victorious", since this episode also solidified the fact that the Rebbe was indeed the Rebbe of Chabad.  In the middle of this episode, the Lubavitcher Rebbe wanted to take counsel with a major Posek outside of Chabad, who was in way connected to the issue.  He turned to Rav Herschkowitz through a messenger.  Rav Herschkowitz responded that he is unable to render a ruling without hearing both sides of the story, but that it appears to him that the conduct of the grandson is not halachicly correct.    
And as is known, Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein wrote at great length against establishing an Eruv in Manhattan, Brooklyn and in other large cities in America (Shut Igrot Moshe, Orach Chaim 1:139-140, 173. 5:96).  In the world of Halachah, it is generally stated that Ha-Rav Menashe Klein disagrees with him and established an Eruv in Brooklyn.  But Ha-Rav Herschkowitz also held this way and established an Eruv in Williamsburg, where he lived (the opinion of the Satmar Rebbe, who had also lived there, regarding this issue has been the subject of much discussion and several books).  Although some Satmar Chasidim harshly disagreed with this ruling and harassed him, Rav Herschkowitz did not fear anyone and held fast to his opinion.  
On account of his greatness in Torah, he had wide shoulders and the authority to rule about the most severe and complex issues.
During the 11th Siyum of Daf Yomi in 5765 in New York, Rav Herschkowitz was honored as the elder Posek in America to begin Masechet Berachot.  In the first Mishnah of Shas, Rabban Gamliel's sons ask their father how to act according to Halachah in a particular case.  We learn from there the incredible importance of asking questions of a Rabbi when there is a doubt and the incredible importance of a Posek to guide us.
In Rav Herschowitz merited a great halachic authority who illuminated the path for us with humility, self-sacrifice, Torah wisdom and fear of G-d.


May his soul be bound up in the bonds of the living with all of the great Tzadikim and Geonim. 

Reciting a Blessing on Seeing President Trump

Question: If someone sees President Trump should he recite the blessing of "Baruch…She-Natan Michvodo Le-Vasar Ve-Dam - Blessed are You…who has given of His glory to flesh and blood"? (In the Gemara in Berachot 58a, our Rabbis teach that one who sees a non-Jewish king recites the blessing.  It is recorded in the Rambam, Hilchot Berachot 10:11 and Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 224:8.   The Chatam Sofer, Orach Chaim #159, rules that even if one sees the king outside of his area of "rule," one must still recite the appropriate blessing).  
Answer: No, the President of the United States is not a king. 
Halachic authorities mention four criteria in order to be considered a king for this purpose:
1. One must be the absolute ruler of his kingdom or country (Orchot Chaim in name of Sefer Ha-Eshkol, Hilchot Berachot #49, Shut Ha-Radvaz vol. 1 #296).  The President of the United States does not have absolute authority.  He must bend to the will of the Congress whether he likes it or not. 
2.  The king must have the ability to administer capital punishment (Shut Chatam Sofer ibid.).  The President does not possess this power.  While he does have the power to grant life by issuing a pardon, he does not possess the power of death (Shut Be’er Moshe of Rav Moshe Stern vol. 2, # 9).  If he allows Jonathan Pollard to make Aliyah, we can discuss this further. 
3.  The king must have royal clothing.  The President of the United States wears a suit like everyone else (Shut Yehaveh Da’at, vol. 2, #28 and Shut Teshuvot Ve-Hanhagot vol. 2, #139).  
4. The king must have an entourage (see Shut Teshuvot Ve-Hanhagot ibid.  Rav Sternbuch writes there that he heard that Ha-Gaon Ha-Rav Yosef Chaim Zonnenfeld, the great Rav of Yerushalayim before the establishment of the State, once had a private meeting in a tent with the King of Jordan and he recited this blessing even though he was without his entourage).  While the President is traveling with 400 people, most of them are for his protection.

People get very scared about what the President says, but there is no need.  What he says does not mean that this is the way it is.  This is for two reasons: 1. The United States does not help us simply to be kind, but because they profit from it.  They need us militarily.  We handle this part of the world.  They need us technologically.  They make planes in the US, and then bring them here and the "Chevra" makes them into super-planes.  The biggest plane manufacturer has a plant here.  It is not to be kind, but to profit.  They need us no less than we need them.  2. The President must bend to the will of Congress.  The Congress was pro-Israel even before the establishment of the State.  They are sometimes even more pro-Israel than we are because he learned in the Exile to be weak and frightened.  We need to add strength and courage and then the non-Jews will relate to us in a proper manner.  The Monroe Doctrine was stated by President James Monroe that Europe would no longer interfere with the affairs of the US: America for Americans.  Our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah, applied this doctrine to us: We will not interfere with what America is doing and America should not interfere with what we are doing here.

The President of the most powerful country, with the biggest army, the largest economy, the super-power of the world is visiting the tiny State of Israel, and some people say that this is not "Atchalta De-Geulah – the beginning of the Redemption."  Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach in Shut Minchat Shlomo (the last responsum in vol. 1) writes that one is obligated to recite four blessings when the Messiah arrives: 1. "Baruch…Chacham Ha-Razim – Blessed are You…Knowers of secrets" which is recited when seeing 600,000 Jews together and certainly at least this many Jews will go out to greet the Messiah.  2. "Baruch…She-Chalak Mechomato Lirei'av - Blessed are You…who has appointed of His knowledge to those who fear him" which is recited when seeing an outstanding Torah scholar and the Messiah will certainly fit this criteria.  3. "Baruch…She-Chalak Michvodo Lirei'av- Blessed are You…who has appointed of His glory to those who fear him" which is recited when seeing a Jewish king.  4. "Shechechiyanu" – Blessing Hashem for having arrived at this moment.  We still are waiting for this time to arrive, but we are continuing to advance.  After all, the President of the United States is visiting the State of Israel.  Instead of reciting a blessing over the President, I recommend reciting two prayers for the Nation of Israel which we recite every day before the Shema with extra proper intention: "Blessed are You, Hashem, who chooses His Nation Israel with Love" and "Blessed are You, Hashem, who love His Nation Israel."

Q: Should we try to see the President since he is the most honored person in the world?

A: You do not need to run to greet him.  The Gemara in Berachot (9b) says that a person should strive to see non-Jewish kings, so that he will be able to perceive the difference between the non-Jewish kings and the Messiah.  President Trump, however, is not a king.  It is possible to have a king who is not honored and an honored person who is not a king.  Our Sages established this decree for a king, and provided the definition of a king.  Don't worry.  We will be able to tell the difference between him and the Messiah!

RABBI AVINER: RABBINATE’S KASHRUT IS STILL RELIABLE

Portions of the article in the Jerusalem Post:

RABBI AVINER: RABBINATE’S KASHRUT IS STILL RELIABLE


Among some of the worst findings of the State Comptroller’s Report were “heavy suspicions” that significant numbers of Kashrut supervisors do not perform their supervision services; a conflict of interests inherent in the fact that Kashrut inspectors also serve as Kashrut supervisors; and 65% of Kashrut supervisors not having obtained a Kashrut supervision qualification.

Speaking to the Post, [Rav] Aviner expressed confidence that the rabbinate has tackled and will continue to tackle deficiencies in the Kashrut system, which he said are a natural occurrence in any large enterprise.

The Rabbi said that although he acknowledges the flaws and forms of malpractice highlighted in the report, the rabbinate’s Kashrut can still be relied on since the majority of supervisors and food businesses are still trustworthy.
Despite his confidence in the rabbinate’s Kashrut, [Rav] Aviner declined to answer whether he would eat in a restaurant under rabbinate supervision, saying his personal decisions are not relevant to the issue.

[Rav] Aviner also rejected the idea of allowing independent Kashrut authorities to operate, which he said would create mass confusion among consumers.

“There are deficiencies in the IDF and the police as well, but we would not privatize them – and the same applies to Kashrut,” said the Rabbi.


“We would see fraudulent Kashrut organizations saying they are Kosher when they are not, we would have Reform Kashrut, and in the end, consumers won’t have the tools to discern which authorities are reliable and which are not.”

He also rejected the idea of turning the Chief Rabbinate into a Kashrut regulator overseeing independent Kashrut authorities, saying that every process and step of
Kashrut supervision had to be under the authority of a single body.