Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #351

Movement to Ascend to Temple Mount
Q: How should we relate to the movement to ascend to the Temple Mount which continues to grow and was 22,000 Jews in 5777?
A: 1. It is not a movement.  It is a minimal number compared to the 2 million Jews who visited the Kotel.  2. It is not 22,000 Jews but 5000 Jews who ascended multiple times.

Judaism a Religion?
Q: Is Judaism a religion?
A: It is a religion, a nationality and an inner identity.  The inner identity creates a nation, and it therefore has a religion.

Visiting the Kotel According to the Satmar Rebbe
Q: I heard that the Rebbe of Toldot Avraham Yitzchak visited the Kotel.  He follows the philosophy of the Satmar Rebbe, who ruled that it is forbidden to visit the Kotel because it was liberated by the Zionists (Al Ha-Geula Ve-Al Ha-Temura #107).  How could he act in a manner against his Rav?
A: 1. You have to ask him directly.  I was not appointed the spokesman for Toldot Avraham Yitzchak Chasidim.  2. There are those who claim that the prohibition of the Satmar Rebbe was temporary and has expired, but it is not mentioned in his books (I heard in the name of the Biala Rebbe of Har Yona that he heard from Ha-Rav Menachem Rubin ztz"l, the Admor of Muzai and nephew of the Satmar Rebbe, who discussed this issue with his uncle right after the Six-Day War, that the Satmar Rebbe said explicitly that it is a temporary prohibition and he was in doubt as to the how long it should exist.  He said that 5 years is too short, and the maximum is 50 years.  50 years have already passed, so the prohibition has certainly expired.  Ha-Rav Yaakov Yitzchak Rabinowitz, the Admor of Dinov, also heard this from the Satmar Rebbe, as well as other Rabbis who have since passed away, and those still among the living, may they live many years.  This is what the Biala Rebbe of Har Yona said.  However, this is not mentioned in the Satmar Rebbe's books.  Furthermore, in his eulogy for Ha-Rav Shmuel Ha-Levi Wosner, the author of Shut Shevet Ha-Levi (who passed away on Pesach 5575), the Satmar Rebbe, Ha-Rav Zalman, related that Rav Wosner told him that he completely followed the original Satmar Rebbe's philosophy and therefore never voted in an Israeli election and never visited the Kotel.  The two current Satmar Rebbes also do not visit the Kotel).

Tearing One's Name
Q: I tore a piece of my paper with my name on it.  Is there a spiritual problem?
A: No.

Paying Taxes
Q: We are having a difficult time economically.  In an extenuating circumstance such as this, is it permissible not to declare certain income in order to avoid paying taxes?
A: No.  But ask an accountant if there is a legal and ethical way to relieve the tax burden.

Area 51
Q: Is it true that Area 51 in America is connected to aliens?
A: Nonsense.  It is a secret military area, so people have connected it to all sorts of conspiracy theories.

Gratitude to Hashem
Q: Should one express gratitude to Hashem for every little thing or only for the big things?
A: For every little thing.  See Rashi at the end of Bereshit 30:23.

Kipa on a Treadmill
Q: Do I have to wear a Kipa when I walk on a treadmill?  I am not walking 4 Amot (6 feet).
A: You are obligated to do so, just as one is obligated to wear a Kipa when he is sitting down (see Mishnah Berurah 2:11).

Opening and Closing Window
Q: In the dorm, one person is cold and one is hot.  How do we decide if the window stays open or shut?
A: Figure it out together.  This is also good preparation for life, which has many situations like this.

Grave of Tzadik
Q: Is the grave of a Tzadik holy or impure?
A: Both.  It is impure for Cohanim and they have to stay away.  It is holy since the Tzadik is buried there.

Admor of Viznitz-Monsey ztz"l: The Elder of the Admorim

The Admor of Viznitz-Monsey, Ha-Rav Ha-Gaon Mordechai Hager ztz"l, known as Reb Motle, ascended on high.  He was the elder of the Chasidic Rebbes, and passed away at the age of 96.
Some suggest that after the horrors of the Holocaust, where so many of the greatest Rabbis of that generation perished and the glorious Yeshivot of Europe were destroyed, an era of Gedolei Yisrael was brought to an end, and a new one began (Mikraei Kodesh - Hilchot Arba'at Ha-Minim p. 317).  We can ask the same question regarding the annihilation of entire communities during the Holocaust: did the previous period of Jewish history end and a completely new generation begin?  The answer is that, with the kindness of Hashem upon us, many of those communities among them Lithuanian Yeshivot and Chasidic courts did not end, but have been revived.  This has been in the merit of the Rabbis and Chasidic Rebbes, who survived the Holocaust, who looked forward and rebuilt. 
The Admor of Viznitz-Monsey was born in Romania to a father who would later become the Admor of Viznitz.  He was very close to his grandfather, the Admor 'Ahavat Yisrael' of Viznitz.  At a young age, he left his father's home and went to learn with Rebbe Yoel of Satmar.  He considered the Satmar Rebbe and the Admor 'Keren Le-David' of Papa as his Rabbis.
He married the daughter of the Admor Rebbe Yaakov Yosek of Skver.  His wife died without children and he married her younger sister.  Baruch Hashem, they had 14 children.
After the Holocaust, Reb Motle arrived in America with his father-in-law and began to serve as Rav of Viznitzer Chasidim there, first in Boro Park and then in Williamsburg.  He slowly built a Chasidic community which included Holocaust survivors.  After a while, he informed his community that he did not want to live in a crowded city and moved to Monsey in Upstate New York, which had quieter suburbs and villages.
When his father, the Admor 'Imrei Chaim' of Viznitz died in the year 5732, his two sons were crowned as Admorim: Rebbe Moshe Yehoshua as the Admor of Viznitz in Israel and Rebbe Mordechai as the Admor of Viznitz in America.  He is known in America as the "Admor of Viznitz", and Israel as the "Admor of Viznitz-Monsey" or the "Admor of Monsey".
He dedicated his entire life to learning Torah.  He learned Torah 18 hours a day, and asked his Chasidim to learn at least 2 hours a day.  He encouraged his Chasidim to hire Jews, and the Simcha Halls run by his institutions in Monsey employ only religious Jews.  He prohibited carrying in Brooklyn, despite the fact that some Rabbis erected local Eruvim.  He also opposed eating ice cream at the end of a meal on account of a halachic doubt whether one should recite a blessing over it.
The Admor of Viznitz-Monsey had a world-view similar to the Edah Ha-Charedit and Satmar Chasidim, but out of respect for his father, who was on the Mo'eztet Gedolei Ha-Torah, he did not criticize the Agudat Yisrael.  He also did not state an opinion about voting in Israeli elections.  This is similar to the Brisker Rav, Ha-Griz Soloveitchik, who spoke harshly against Mizrachi Rabbis except for Ha-Rav Meir Bar Ilan because he was family (see Mo'adei Ha-Re'eiyah p. 306).
We often speak about the revival of our Nation in Eretz Yisrael and the Redemption of our Nation, which is the great miracle of our generation and our desire for all of Am Yisrael to return here, as our Rabbis taught us.  At the same time, however, there is another miracle occurring: the revival of communities destroyed in the Holocaust, include many Chasidic communities, in various places in the world.  The Admor of Viznitz-Monsey succeeded in rebuilding the Viznitz community in America.  He even met with President Jimmy Carter, along with the Bobover Rebbe and the Satmar Rebbe, for the benefit of the Jewish People.  There are thousands of Viznitz-Monsey Chasidic families around the world today.  His sons and sons-in-law serve as Rabbinic figures in many Chasidic communities throughout the world.  He served as a bridge between the Viznitz communities which existed in Europe and the Viznitz community which exists in America and beyond.

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

Also appears in the Jewish Press:

Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #350

Why Ha-Rav Wears a Non-Black Knit Kipa
Q: In a talk, Ha-Rav said that although the basic Halachah is that one may wear a non-black Kipa, there is a positive aspect to wearing a black Kipa, as was the practice of many in previous generations, including Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah and many of his great students also follow this practice.  If so, why doesn’t Ha-Rav want the Zechut of wearing a black Kipa?  Why does Ha-Rav instead wear a blue Kipa with a white stripe?
A: I want to wear a Kipa similar to that of Tzahal soldiers, who display self-sacrifice to sanctify Hashem's Name (i.e. a knit Kipa with color).

Choosing a Yeshiva
Q: How does one choose a Yeshiva?
A: By finding a place where he will be filled with the most positive character traits and fear of Hashem, and where he will learn the most Torah.

Class on "Road Safety" to Arabs
Q: Can I teach classes on "Road Safety" (both for drivers and pedestrians) in an Arab school?
A: Absolutely.  It is part of the seven Mitzvot incumbent on non-Jews.

Mitzvot Worth 20 Times in Eretz Yisrael
Q: Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah said in the name of the Chafetz Chaim that fulfilling a Mitzvah in Eretz Yisrael is worth 20 times of fulfilling the same Mitzvah outside of Israel (Le-Netivot Yisrael Volume 1, pp. 160, 202.  Sichot Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah - Vayikra, p. 265.  Sichot Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah - Talmud Torah, p. 247).  What is the source of 20 times?
A: It is just an expression to emphasize that fulfilling Mitzvot in Eretz Yisrael is on a different level (The Satmar Rebbe said that fulfilling a Mitzvah in Eretz Yisrael is worth twice that of fulfilling it in Chutz La-Aretz.  Vayoel Moshe, Ma'amar Yishuv Eretz Yisrael 132:1.  He also writes that transgressing in Eretz Yisrael is much more severe than doing so outside of Israel).

Edible Page of Gemara
Q: Is it permissible to print a page of Gemara on edible material to put on a cake and then eat it?
A: No, since it is forbidden to erase words of Torah.  Although there is room to discuss the fact that it was printed for this purpose (See Shut Zekan Aharon 2:70).

Inviting Rabbis to Wedding
Q: My son is getting married and I don't have the courage to invite all of the Rabbis, since it would mean hours of travel for them to get there.  What should I do?
A: Indeed, do not invite them.  It is Bitul Torah (The Meharshag said that his Rebbe, the Maharam Shick, told his grandson not to go to all happy occasions and weddings, adding that when one sits and learns Torah, he never regrets it.  Shut Meharshag 2:125.  And at the wedding of the granddaughter of the Admor of Tzanz from Netanya, they were discussing this Teshuvah, and Ha-Rav Shlomo Lemberger, Av Beit Din Makava Ashdod, said: My father ztz"l would say: And how many weddings where there in the Meharshag's city?  Two or three a year…  The Admor of Tzanz said: In the large cities like Bnei Brak, it is difficult to fulfill the obligation to participate in Simchas…  B"H, Bli Ayin Ha-Ra, there are so many every day, may they increase…  In the weekly parashah sheet 'Betzila Demehimnuta' - Parashat Vayera 5778).

Great Torah Scholars and Redemption
Q: How is it possible that great Torah scholars hold that Redemption cannot come through natural processes?
A: They are great Torah scholars in other areas.