Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #325

Law of Return
Q: I heard a story from the Chief Rabbi, Ha-Rav David Lau, that a Jewish grandfather who lived outside of Israel enabled 78 non-Jews - his wife, children and grandchild - to make Aliyah, receive grants for absorption, reduction in buying a house, etc., under the Law of Return.  The Chief Rabbi therefore said that we must change the Law of Return.  Is he correct?
A: The Chief Rabbi does not require my approval, but of course he is correct.

Not Tasty Food from One's Wife
Q: If my wife occasionally cooks food that does not taste good, should I eat it without saying anything or tell her and not eat it?
A: Eat it.  Nothing bad will happen to you.  And thank your wife for it.  In general, thank Hashem that you have a wife and food.

How Much for Etrog Mehudar
Q: How much money should a person add in order to buy an Etrog Mehudar?
A: Another third of the cost.  More than this amount depends on one's ability.  Furthermore, it is possible that other Mitzvot take precedence over buying an Etrog Mehudar, such as Tzedakah or kindness to your wife and children (An Avrech, a married Yeshiva student, who very particular about observing Mitzvot, bought an Etrog Mehudar for $300 and to came to Ha-Rav Shmuel Ha-Levi Vozner, author of Shut Shevet Ha-Levi, to ask him about the Etrog.  Rav Vozner knew the Avrech, who was a true Ben Torah who had very little money, and asked him: Did you already buy clothing and jewelry for your wife for the holiday?  The Avrech answered that he does not have enough money to buy clothing and jewelry.  Rav Vozner said to him: It is preferable that you use the $300 to buy your wife a present for the holiday and purchase an inexpensive Etrog.  In the book "Ve-Lo Shevet Ha-Levi Bilvad, p. 200). 

Filming a Terrorist Attack with a Smartphone
Q: Is it permissible to film a terrorist attack in order to show the world that the Arabs are attacking us and we are only protecting ourselves?  After all, based on the story of Pilegesh Ba-Geva (Shoftim, Chapter 19-21), Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein permits someone to bring organs to a rally against organ donation to shock people, since hearing is not the same as seeing (Shut Igrot Moshe, Yoreh Deah 2:150).
A: It is preferable not to publicize it.  In our time it weakens the resolve of the Nation. When the terrorists see our pain, they are strengthened, as it is written in the lament of King David: "Do not relate it in Gat…lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice" (Shmuel 2 1:20).  It is only permissible when it can aid the police.
Q: In a case where it is permissible, would it be permissible also on Shabbat?
A: It is permissible, since it helps in our war against terrorism, whether in the short term or the long term, enabling us to capture and punish terrorists.  And filming is a Rabbinic prohibition.

Child Who Found Money
Q: My son found 50 shekels in school.  What should he do?
A: Ask his teacher what to do.
Q: Can I trust the teacher?
A: You trust him with your son's education for an entire year and you're not sure you can trust him with 50 shekels?!

Tefillin and Desecrating Shabbat
Q: My friend is leaving Israel on Shabbat and asked if he should take his Tefillin with him?
A: No.  It is performing a Mitzvah through a transgression.

Knit Kipa
Q: What is the source for a Knit Kipa?

A: There is no source and it has no importance.  During the course of the generations, there were hundreds, if not thousands, of different types of head coverings.  The essence is that one's head is covered, i.e. really covered.

Shu"t Trump - Q&A Regarding President Trump & His Daughter, Ivanka

Q: First of all, is Ha-Rav happy that the Americans chose Trump to be the President of the United States?  On one hand, he seems to be more Pro-Israel than Hillary Clinton, but, on the other hand, he is unknown, and we say in Halachah: When there is a known and an unknown, the known is preferable.
A: There are two answers:
1. This question recalls that when Golda Meir became Prime Minister, a student asked Ha-Rav Joseph Soloveitchik: Is it permissible to appoint a woman to such a position? After all, the Rambam (Hilchot Melachim 1:5) brings the Halachah of the Sifri, that we learn from the verse (Devarim 17:15) "You shall surely set a king over you" – a king and not a queen. Ha-Rav Soloveitchik immediately answered: And appointing Ben Gurion was not a question? Although he was not a woman, he was not religious, and it was forbidden to appoint him as well (see Shut Igrot Moshe Yoreh Deah 2:45). The answer is that they did not ask us, and the responsibility of these appointments is therefore not incumbent upon us (Nefesh Ha-Rav, pp. 90-91).
The Americans did not ask me who was best for them.
2. We don't know.  Politics is a not math and it is difficult to predict the future.  There are too many factors at play to know if President Trump will be good for us or not.
Q: Some say that Trump is the Mashiach since "Donald Trump" is the same numerlcal value in Hebrew letters (424) as "Mashiach ben David"?
A: Nonsense.  Ha-Rav Shmuel Eliyahu, Rav of Tzefat, already pointed out that 424 is also the same Gematria as "Chatzi Mana Felafel" (a Half-Portion of Felafel)…
Q: It is known that Trump's daughter, Ivanka, converted to Judaism, and there was a storm over her conversion, which was performed by Ha-Rav Haskel Lookstein.  Is she Jewish?
A: It is impossible to express an opinion regarding such a serious matter of whether or not one is Jewish, based on hearsay.  Regarding the issue, we have not heard that there are questions about Rav Lookstein's conversions.  The two Chief Rabbis, Ha-Rav David Lau and Ha-Rav Yitzchak Yosef already expressed their opinions that there is no issue with his conversions.  Who then are we to ask questions?!  Furthermore, we were told that a Beit Din of the RCA converted her, Rav Lookstein was the one who sponsored her.  I have met with Rav Lookstein many times.  He is an Orthodox Rabbi. He is modern and open, but he is Orthodox.  He is also a man of integrity, with proper character traits and a heart of gold, who has done much good for the Jews of America.  He is also humble, modest and flees from honor.
Q: Then she is Jewish?
A: Yes.  I heard that she openly proclaims that she observes Shabbat and Kashrut.  If only this was the state of all Jews in America.
Q: It doesn't seem like she covers her hair.  Does she wear a wig?
A: I don't know.  It is forbidden to stare at a woman.
Q: I heard that at Trump's Inauguration, a Rabbi permitted Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner to violate Shabbat by being driven by a non-Jew because of Pikuach Nefesh?
A: If it was based on a Rabbi's ruling, then it is violating Shabbat with permission.  I am not an expert in the details but understand, however, that they consult with an Orthodox Rabbi, since they are indeed in a complex situation.  After all, her husband is one of the senior advisors to the President.  The Rabbi instructed them on what to do.  In general, one should choose a Rabbi and ask him what to do in difficult situations.  This is in fulfillment of the dictum: "Get yourself a Rav" (Pirkei Avot 1:6, 16).  By the way, some people say that when Trump's son-in-law is observing Shabbat, the President loses control and begins Tweeting all sorts of things.  This is how people are, if they observe Shabbat, people criticize them and if they violate Shabbat (with permission), people criticize them.  People should stop sticking their noses in their business.
Q: But I also heard that they entered a Church during the Inauguration?
A: See above.  This recalls the words of Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein: "The Rabbi from Minsk should not interfere in a question for the Rabbi from Pinsk".  Reb Moshe did not interfere with matters relating to Eretz Yisrael, and a Rabbi in Israel should not interfere with questions in America (Meged Givot Olam Volume 1, p. 55.  Volume 2, pp. 31-32).  Similarly, when Ha-Rav Aharon Lichtenstein would be asked questions relating to America, he would say: Ask the Rabbis of America (We heard this in the eulogy of Ha-Rav Mordechai Willig, one of the Roshei Yeshiva of Yeshiva University, for Ha-Rav Lichtenstein).
Q: But it once happened that when Ha-Rav Ovadiah Yosef was serving as a Rav in Egypt, a non-Jewish diplomat died and he was brought into a Church for a service.  He was asked to represent the community and enter on account of "Darkei Shalom - keeping the peace".  But he refused (Shut Yabia Omer Volume 2 Yoreh Deah #11)?
A: One who questions them suspects the innocent (Choshed Ba-Kesherim) and disrespects the Rav whom they ask.
Q: Is Ivanka, as a convert, required to honor her biological father, President Trump, since a convert is like a new-born baby?
A: Yes, just as a non-Jew would honor his parents (Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 241:9. See Shut Igrot Moshe Yoreh Deah 2:130 and Shut Yechaveh Da'at 6:60).
Q: Trump was therefore required to honor his father?
A: Correct.  It is related in the Gemara Kiddushin (31a) that Dama ben Netina, who was a non-Jew, honored his father and did not wake him up even though he could have made a lot of money doing so.  In merit, a Parah Adumah was born in his herd.  The Sefardic Chief Rabbi, Ha-Rav Yitzchak Yosef, said: Just as Trump honored his father, he therefore merited what he merited… (In the Parashat Sheet 'Beit Maran' #103).
Q: In sum?

A: Trump has said that he wants to focus on America and what is good for the American People.  We hope that he adopts the Monroe Doctrine of President James Monroe, i.e. America decides for America.  They should decide what is best for them, and we hope that they leave us to choose what is best for us and not try to dictate what we should do.

Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #324

Tzadik the Son of a Wicked Person
Q: Rashi says that Yitzchak's prayer was accepted over Rivka's because he was a Tzadik the son of a Tzadik while she was a Tzadik the daughter of a wicked person.  But isn't someone who does Teshuvah and comes close to Hashem at a higher level?
A: The Mussar Rabbis explain that the way of a child is to rebel against his parents and to be different from them.  Therefore, being a Tzadik the son of a Tzadik requires great sacrifice.

Too Much Salary
Q: I accidentally received too much salary for a long period of time and didn't realize.  My employer is now asking me to return the money, but I already spent it.  What is the Halachah in this case?
A: You have to return it, but can do so in increments, according to your ability.

Shidduch for an Elite Combat Soldier in Tzahal
Q: I am a soldier in an elite combat unit, which goes on dangerous missions, and we were required to sign a confidentiality agreement.  If I go on a Shidduch, it is permissible for me to tell the young woman what I do?
A: It is forbidden.  You should tell her that you are in a combat unit that sees a lot of action.  One must relate one's severe defects on Shidduchim.  Yevamot 45a.  Kehilot Yaakov of the Steipler ibid. #44.  This is not considered a sever defect, but rather a minor "defect", as well as a great merit (This is also the ruling of Ha-Rav Major Shraga Natan Dahan, head of the Halachah Department of Tzahal, given in a class on the subject).

Torah Secrets
Q: Ha-Rav once said that all of the Kabbalist secrets are hinted at in the Gemara.  What is the source for this idea?
A: Rashba in his commentary to Agadot Chazal, Berachot 6a.  Shelah, Ma'amar Torah She-Be-Al Pe, Kavod Elohim, Hester Davar.  And in other places.

How Do We Kow the Calculations of Hashem
Q: I have experienced many disasters and don't understand why.  What transgressions did I do?
A: We do not know the calculations of Hashem.  Do not search for transgressions to explain your misfortunes.  We also do not know the calculations of Hashem for all of the goodness He performs for us, even if we did not merit them (So too, whenever a tragedy occurred, Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein would always say that it was a decree from Hashem and never ascribe it to a particular transgression, since we cannot fathom the ways of Hashem.  In the book "Meged Givot Olam" with additions Volume 2, pp. 87-88).

Organ Donation by a Cohain
Q: Regarding a Cohain who signs an Organ Donor card: doesn't this create a problem for his close relatives who are Cohanim, as they will become impure by coming to the funeral and cemetery, since he is missing an organ?
A: It is permissible since it is an inner organ and not recognizable.  Shut Igrot Moshe (Yoreh Deah 1:251. 2:165).  Shut Tzitz Eliezer (9:48).  Yalkut Yosef (7:30 #3).

Segulah Against Danger
Q: I have to go to a place where there are many Arabs and I am scared.  Is there a Segulah against danger?

A: There is a Segulah of the Admor of Radzin, the Ba'al Techelet: To carry a pistol, or to be escorted by guards (When the Admor of Radzin was searching for the Techelet for Tzitzit, he visited many different areas in Italy, including the basements of non-Jews, in order to try to find a remnant of the Bigdei Kehuna.  People asked him: You aren't scared to go into such places?  He said: I have a Segulah from my grandfather.  He did not however want to say what it was.  His Shamash later revealed it: He carried a small pistol in his pocket…).