Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #339

Preparing Oneself for Difficulties
Q: Is there a proper way to prepare oneself for difficulties which Hashem brings upon a person?
A: The proper way is to always see the good, to see that the majority of one's life and the majority of the world is good (Moreh Nevuchim 3:12), and to know that the difficulties are for the good (Mesilat Yesharim, Chapter 19).

Paying Taxes for Pidyon Ha-Ben
Q: I am a Cohain and received money at a Pidyon Ha-Ben.  Do I have to declare it as income for tax purposes?
A: No.  It is a minimal amount of money, a rare occurrence and is considered a gift (Similarly, Shut Revivot Ephraim 6:389 brings from the Sefer U-Vacharta Ba-Chaim p. 68 that Ha-Rav Chaim Kreiswirth, Av Beit Din of Antwerp, said in his eulogy for Ha-Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky, Rosh Yeshivat Torah Ve-Da'at, that he would pay taxes on the Mishloach Manot he received.  This, however, is an act of piety and not an obligation, since the amount one receives of Mishloach Manot is negligent).

Zionism
Q: How do we know that the Zionist Rabbis are correct and not the Charedim?
A: This was a major question when the movement to return to Zion began, since there were many opposing factors.  But now that we see the building of Eretz Yisrael, the ingathering of the Exiles, the establishment of the State of Israel, the military victories, the unity of the Nation and the incredible Torah community in Israel, it has become clear.  In Eretz Yisrael there is great physical and spiritual success, while in the Exile there is great physical and spiritual destruction (See Nefesh Ha-Rav pp.87-88).

Language of Maran Ha-Rav Kook
Q: What language did Maran Ha-Rav Kook speak – Yiddish or Hebrew?
A: I believe that he spoke Yiddish to those who did not understand Hebrew.  Otherwise, he spoke Hebrew with an Ashkenazi pronunciation.  See Le-Shelosha Be-Elul.  When Rav Kook was unable to return to Eretz Yisrael during the First World War, he served temporarily as Rabbi in England.  In order to learn English, he read the Soncino translation of the Tanach.  As a result, when he spoke English, people said he spoke like a prophet…  

Texting While Driving
Q: I am riding in a car while my Rav is texting while driving.  Is it permissible for me to point out to him that it is forbidden?
A: Ask him directly.  In fact, 20% of fatal car accidents are a result of texting while driving (see Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 242:22).

Problematic Book
Q: Is it permissible to read a good book which contains a few problematic parts?
A: It is similar to eating Kosher soup with a few pieces of non-Kosher meat in it.

Crib Death
Q: It is true what they say that crib death is on account of disputes among Am Yisrael?

A: 1. No one knows the secrets of Hashem.  2. Disputes are certainly a bad thing and one should resolve them.