Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #341

"They will no longer be uprooted from their Land"
Q: How can Jews be expelled from their Land when Hashem promised: "And I will plant them on their Land, and they will no longer be uprooted from their Land, that I have given them" (Amos 9:15)?
A: Our Sages said that the redeemer will be revealed, hidden and then revealed again.  Brought in the Rambam at the end of Parashat Shemot.  Small setbacks during the great process of Redemption.  Like small stains on the sun.

Shehechiyanu on the New Tunnel on the Yerushalayim-Tel Aviv Road
Q: There is a new tunnel on the Yerushalayim-Tel Aviv Road (Kvish 1) which greatly eases the traffic.  Is it permissible for me to recite Shechechiyanu when I drive through it for the first time?
A: It does not seem so, since this is not included among the general rules for reciting this blessing.  See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim #222-223.  Perhaps one may recite it if he is happy, since it is "good news" (Ibid. 222:1), but it does not seem so.

Piskei Halachot of Anti-Zionist Rav
Q: There are Rabbis (including Ha-Rav Herschel Shachter) who say that it is forbidden to follow the halachic rulings of a Rabbi who opposes the State of Israel, since their entire philosophy is crooked, and the entire Torah is one matter, with everything intermingled.  What is Ha-Rav's opinion?
A: There are indeed Rabbis who say that one should not accept Piskei Halachot from Rabbis who do not believe that we are in Atchalta De-Geulah (the beginning of the Redemption) and that one should only ask questions of Zionist Rabbis.  Maran Ha-Rav Kook, however, writes in his famous letter #378 (Igrot Ha-Re'eiyah, and printed at the beginning of Orot Ha-Torah) that only one who believes that the Geulah has begun can provide halachic rulings in matters of Teshuvah.  While everything in Torah is indeed interconnected, it is permissible to ask Anti-Zionist Rabbis questions relating to other issues.

Q: Is ISIS one of the lost Ten Tribes?
A: No.

Torah Scholar as Sandak
Q: Should I ask a great Torah scholar to serve as Sandak at the Brit Milah of my son or is it preferable for him to continue learning Torah instead?
A: It is certainly preferable for him to learn Torah.

Q: Is studying philosophy considered Bitul Torah?
A: Torah learning is holy while philosophy is secular.  Philosophy also contains heresy, so one who learns philosophy, needs to do so with personal guidance from a Rav.

Stealing from Parents
Q: When I was young, I would take money from my father's wallet without permission.  This now upsets me greatly.  What can I do?  I am embarrassed to tell him.
A: Return the money in a way he does not realize it.

Chocolate for Soldiers
Q: It is permissible to distribute Milchig chocolate to soldiers, since maybe they are Fleishig?
A: It is permissible, since regarding "Do not place a stumbling block", if one is uncertain that the person will transgress the Halachah, we are "Tolim" (literally "hanging" on the assumption) that he will not violate it (Mishnah Gittin 5:9).

Relying on Science to Establish Halachah
Q: Is it possible to rely on science in order to establish the Halachah?

A: No.  Science is not certain but rather conjecture.  Scientific theory is accepted as long as it is not contradicted (Karl Popper).  It is true that we violate Shabbat to help a person based on a doctor's diagnosis, but this is because even in a case of doubt we violate Shabbat.  Shut Da'at Cohain p. 259.