Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #356


Davening for Woman
Q:  As a woman, is it preferable for me to Daven at the Kotel where it is difficult for me to concentrate or at home where it is quiet?
A: At home where it is quiet.

Canceling Soccer Game
Q: How should we relate to the soccer team from Argentina canceling their game (which was supposed to take place in Yerushalayim) on account of threats they received?
A: Competitive sports are nonsense.  B. It was supposed to take place with severe desecration of Shabbat. 

Tefillin in the middle of Shemoneh Esrei
Q: Is it permissible to look in a mirror during the Shemoneh Esrei to make sure that my head Tefillin are in the correct spot?
A: No.  1. One fulfills the Mitzvah of putting on Tefillin if it is in the correct spot on one's head for the amount of time it takes to walk 4 Amot (6 feet).  2. Even if it moves a little to the side, one still fulfills his obligation.  3. One should not be involed in other activities in the middle of the Shemoneh Esrei.

Son Who is Distant from Torah
Q: Our 18-year-old son is distant from Torah and returned home with an earring.  As his mother, do I need to tell him that he should not return home until he removes the earring?
A: Your son is worth more than a text message.  If you want, you may call my wife.  In general, issues such as these are not solved through coercion but through trust.

First-Born Goat
[There is a Torah Mitzvah is give a first-born Kosher animal to a Cohain.  The Cohain sacrifices it in the Beit Ha-Mikdash and eats the meat with his family members in Yerushalayim.  If the animal has a blemish, it cannot be sacrificed but it is still Kosher, and the Cohain may eat it as "non-holy" meat.  After the destruction of the Beit Ha-Mikdash, the only permissible way to eat its meat is if it has a blemish (as there is no possibility to sacrifice it).  At the same time, it is forbidden to intentionally cause a blemish on a first-born.  As a result, when there is a first-born animal, the Cohanim must care for the first-born animal for a long period of time until a blemish somehow develops.  Since there is a fear that a Cohain will cause a blemish because of the hardship of caring for the animals, our Rabbis made a decree that if he does so it is forbidden to slaughter the animal.  There is also a fear that during our time people will shear the animal for its wool or work him, even though it is forbidden to get any benefit from the animal.  The Rabbis therefore suggest that before the animal is born, one makes an agreement of joint-ownership with a non-Jew, which exempts one from the Mitzvah of the first-born animal and the need to give it to a Cohain.]
Q: A first-born goat was born on our Yishuv.  Before it was born a partnership was not made with a non-Jew.  While it is forbidden by Halachah to cause the animal to have a blemish, the laws of the State of Israel require one to make a hole in the animal's ear and place a number in it.  Does this count as a blemish to permit the animal?
A: 1. Placing a number in the ear is only a small hole.  One needs a significant blemish to permit the first-born.  2. I have not lived on a Kibbutz for nearly 40 years, so you should ask the Rav of a Kibbutz or a Moshav who answers such questions all the time (It once happened with Ha-Rav Reuven Ha-Cohain Katz, when he served as the Rav of Petach Tikvah, that there was a knock on the door of his house and when he opened it, he saw a goat tied to the door with a silver sign engraved: "A present for a Cohain, a first-born, for the honorable Chief Rabbi".  Rav Katz was unable to figure out what to do with the goat, so he rented a field in the courtyard of Yeshivat Lomza in Petach Tikvah, and care for the goat for a few years until the goat died.  Ha-Rav Ovadiah Yosef related his story.  And see the book "Ma'aseh Ish" [volume 7, pp. 68-69] that in the Yishuv Bnei Re'em, where Ha-Rav Nachman Kahane of Spinka was serving as the Rav, a first-born animal was born and the owner forgot to make a partnership with a non-Jew.  Rav Kahane traveled to Yerushalayim to asked Gedolei Yerushalayim for all the details relating to the issue.  He met Ha-Rav Amram Blau, who told him to go to Bnei Brak and ask the Chazon Ish, who was not yet well-known.  The Chazon Ish wrote him 28 Halachot explaining all of the details).

Divorced Rabbi
Q: Is there a problem to learn Torah with a divorced Rabbi?
A: No.  If he is a good person.  And one should not learn Torah with a married Rabbi if he is not a good person.

Name from Tanach
Q: Is there are obligation to give a child a name from the Tanach?
A: No.  After all there is Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Meir and Rabbi Tarfon.  But you should name him/her with a Jewish name and not a non-Jewish name.

When Will it be Permissible to Ascend to Har Ha-Bayit
Q: Maran Ha-Rav Kook and Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah forbid ascending to the Temple Mount.  When will it be permissible for all of Am Yisrael to ascend?
A: In order to build the Beit Ha-Mikdash.  The spot is therefore called "The Temple Mount", the mountain of the Temple and not for another purpose.

Dream Chaser
Q: There is a Native-American piece of jewelry called a dream catcher.  Can one buy one?
A: It is nonsense.  The source is from Native-Americans and adopted by the New Age movement.

Guests or Torah Learning
Q: When guests come to visit my parents, do I have to sit and talk to them or can I go and learn Torah?
A: Talk for a short time and then go and learn.

Yearning for Prayer
Q: What can I do so I have a yearning to Daven?
A: Read Mesilat Yesharim many times.