Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #354


Denigrating Gedolei Yisrael
Q: My friend said disparaging things about the Lubavichter Rebbe.  I told him he was transgressing the prohibition against denigrating a Torah scholar.  He showed me quotes from Ha-Rav Elazar Menachem Man Shach against the Lubavichter Rebbe.  Is he correct?
A: No.  He is not Rav Shach.

Charvona, Remembered for the Good
Q: Why do we say that Charvona should be remembered for the good?
A: Our Sages teach that Charvona was wicked, and part of Haman's plan against Mordechai.  When he saw that the plan was not going to work, he fled.  Megillah 16a.  In the song "Shoshanat Yaakov", we say "Charvona, remembered for the good", because he told King Achasverosh that Haman had arranged gallows for the hanging of Mordechai (In the book "Divrei Chana Ha-Shalem" [p. 282], it is related that Ha-Rav Chana Halberstam, Av Beit Din of Kalashitz, once related on Purim that he dreamt that Eliyahu Ha-Navi appeared to him as the Belzer Rebbe, R' Yehoshua, and that R' Chana asked the Belzer Rebbe: why is this non-Jewish servant of the king remembered for good?  After all, we only use this phrase for Eliyahu Ha-Navi who did good for the Jews.  The Belzer Rebbe answered: since Charvona merited Eliyahu Ha-Navi appearing in his likeness, this is enough to remember him for the good.  We find this idea among our Sages that Eliyahu Ha-Navi once appeared to Rebbe Yehudah Ha-Nasi in the guise of Rebbe Chiya and helped in healing a problem with his teeth.  From then on, Rebbe Yehudah Ha-Nasi gave great honor to Rebbe Chiya since Eliyahu Ha-Navi appeared in his likeness [Yerushalami, Kilayim 9:3.  Bereshit Rabba 33:3, and at the end of Parashat Tzav].  Rebbe Chana concluded that it was extremely dear to him that we merited to see Eliyahu Ha-Navi in his dream in the guise of the Belzer Rebbe).  

Davening in Front of a Picture of the Even Sheteiya
Q: Is it permissible to Daven in front of a picture of the Even Sheteiya (The Foundation Stone, which is on the Temple Mount and was in the Holy of Holies) on my cell phone, in order to help me imagine that I was in the Beit Ha-Mikdash, as mentioned in Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 95:2?
A: No.  One should not Daven in front of a picture since it distracts one from having proper intention when saying the words.  Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 90:22.  See Piskei Teshuvah ibid.  By the way, it is not clear whether the rock in the Dome of the Rock is the Even Sheteiya or not.

Chevruta with Someone Who Goes onto the Temple Mount
Q: I have a friend who has Midot Tovot and is a Torah scholar, but goes onto the Temple Mount.  Is it permissible for me to learn in Chevruta with him?
A: No.  1. This is a very severe error.  To our great distress, we have become used to it and it does not shock us.  But all we need is two lines from Maran Ha-Rav Kook to know that one infringement on the holiness of the Temple Mount undoes all of the merit of building millions of Yishuvim in Eretz Yisrael (Igrot Ha-Re'eiyah Volume 2, p. 285).  2. You can certainly be his friend and fulfill Mitzvot with him, but one should not learn in Chevruta with him, since Torah learning is the foundation of having a proper Torah philosophy, and something clearly went wrong with his understanding.  Pri Tzadik (end of Vayikra, end of the article "Amala Shel Torah").
Q: But Ha-Rav was asked if one should cancel a Shiduch with someone who ascends on the Temple Mount, and he responded: No, since a person is judged according to the majority of his actions.  Rambam, Hilchot Teshuvah 3:1 (Piskei Shlomo Volume 6, p. 183)?
A: A person is human, and every person has virtues and deficiencies, and therefore he is judged by the majority of his actions.  This is true for friends, fellow soldiers in Tzahal, etc.  But the Torah is Divine.  It therefore must be exact and we cannot put blurred or confused ideas into it.
Q: We should therefore invalidate such a person?
A: G-d forbid!  Differences of agreement: Yes - division of hearts: No!  We have great love for all of Am Yisrael, but this does not mean we always agree with them.  We love and respect all Rabbanim in Am Yisrael, but this does not mean we always agree with them (See Eruvin 14a-b).  We follow our Rabbis.
Q: Is there a list of books and people from which\whom we should not learn?
A: G-d forbid!  This is what the Vatican has: Index Librorum Prohibitorum, a list of forbidden books, and there is also a list of excommunicated people.  1. We are not discussing specifics but rather the principle of the matter.  2. One needs to use his intellect.  3.  It all depends on whether an alternative exists.  If there is a better alternative, he should learn with someone else.  If a better alternative does not exist, he should be satisfied in the meantime with what he has, i.e. learning with him.

Many Massechtot or One Massechet
Q: What is preferable – learning many Massechtot of Gemara or learning one Massechet really well?
A: One Massechet.

Religious Yishuv
Q: I live in a small Yishuv where everyone is religious.  What is the advantage and what is the disadvantage?
A: The advantage is that together you exist with fear of Hashem (Yirat Shamayim) and radiate a pure life to the entire Nation which lives in Eretz Yisrael.  The disadvantage is that all of Klal Yisrael should live together.

Lost Kippah
Q: My Kippah blew away and I can't find it.  Can I walk with my head uncovered or should I cover my head with my hand?
A: You should cover your head with something.  Your hand does not help since you cannot cover your head with a part of your own body.