Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #343

Birthday of Convert
Q: On which day should I celebrate my birthday: the day I was physically born on the day I converted?
A: It is preferable to celebrate it on the day you converted (As our Sages say: A person who converts is like a new-born child.  Yevamot 22a).

Mezuzah on Bus
Q: Why doesn't a bus require a Mezuzah?
A: It is not designed to be lived in.  Shut Minchat Yitzchak (2:82).

Music During Davening
Q: I am invited to a Bar Mitzvah which includes musical accompaniment.  Can I Daven there?
A: No.  Davening is Davening, and not a musical experience.

Mezuzah for a Lefty
Q: I am a lefty.  Should I place the Mezuzah on the left-hand side of the door?
A: No.  The Mezuzah is an obligation related to the house and not to the individual (Chovat Ha-Dar 8:1).

Netilat Yadayim for a Cohain When Leaving a Cemetery
Q: When a Cohain leaves a cemetery after the funeral of a close relative for whom he is permissible to become impure, does he wash Netilat Yadayim?  And what if he enters the cemetery on the special path designed for Cohanim?
A: If the Cohain enters the cemetery he washes Netilat Yadayim like all others.  But it is only permissible for him to become impure for his close relative and not for others.  Therefore, he may enter the area for eulogies where his relative is located, but not within the grave site where others are buried.  If he enters the cemetery on the special path designed for Cohanim, he has not truly entered the cemetery and thus does not need to wash Netilat Yadayim (I saw this myself with Rav Aviner.  I once accompanied him to visit his father's grave on his Yahrzeit.  Ha-Rav only walked on the Cohain's path [since he is a Cohain] and he did not wash Netilat Yadayim.  And at his mother's funeral, he did wash Netilat Yadayim since he was in the eulogy area with her, and helped carry her coffin.  He did not, however, approach her grave since there were other graves around her - M. T.).

Tefilat Ha-Derech for One who is Sleeping
Q: If I say Tefilat Ha-Derech and my friend is sleeping, should I wake him up?
A: It depends on what he would prefer.

Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heschel
Q: What is Ha-Rav's opinion about Rabbi Avraham Yehoshua Heschel?
A: It is complex.  On the one hand, he has writings which are full of fear of Hashem, such as his book on Shabbat.  On the other hand, he has writings which are problematic, such as those concerning the Oral Torah.  One must judge each thing on its own merit.

How did the Students of Rabbi Akiva Fall?
Q: How did the students of Rabbi Akiva not treat each other with respect when Rabbi Akiva himself taught that the great principle of the Torah is "Love your fellow as yourself"?
A: In Rabbi Akiva's merit, they only failed in not giving respect but he saved them from baseless hatred to the point of murder.

Mezuzah on Elevator Door
Q: Does an elevator door require a Mezuzah?
A: It is a dispute.  Shut Ha-Levi requires one, while Be-Tzel Ha-Chochma does not (And see Chovat Ha-Dar 5:11 who also requires one).

Rabanit
Q: Should I call the wife of my Rav "Rabanit"?
A: Yes.  The wife of a Torah scholar is like a Torah scholar.

Anniversary of Aliyah
Q: Is the anniversary of the day I made Aliyah considered a holiday for me?  What should I do on that day?
A: Yes.  Thanksgiving to Hashem, Tzedakah, Teshuvah.

Picture of Beit Ha-Mikdash
Q: Does a picture of the Beit Ha-Mikdash or the Temple Mount have to be placed in a Genizah?
A: No.

Learning Book of Eichah (Lamentations)
Q: Is it permissible to learn the book of Eichah on Shabbat?

A: Yes.  It is Torah.  It is also permissible to learn the laws of mourning.