Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #361

Kipa in the Army
Q: I am going into the army and bought a large Kipa in order to help me maintain my spiritual state.  My parents said that wearing such a large Kipa will prevent people from wanting to connect with me.  What should I do?
A: You should certainly wear a large Kipa, since this is the basic Halachah, and the purpose of a Kipa is to instill Yirat Shamayim (Fear of Heaven).  People will not connect with you based on your clothing but on your Midot Tovot (positive character traits).

Charedim and the Army
Q: How is it possible to explain that Charedim refuse to serve in Tzahal?
A: Instead of involving oneself in what is difficult to understand about the Charedim, one should learn from them to be punctilious in observing every Mitzvah, even those which seem light, and to dedicate every free moment to learning Torah, etc.

Long Peyot and Honoring Parents
Q: It really bothers my mother that I have long Peyot.  She says it embarrasses her.  What should I do?
A: Leave them and try to appease her.

Convert from Does Not Observe Mitzvot
Q: What is the status of a convert who does not observe Mitzvot?
A: If from the first moment of the conversion he did not observe the Mitzvot and deceived the Rabbis, there was no conversion.  If he did observe the Mitzvot from the beginning, but later regressed, he is a Jew like any other.

Woman Covering Hair at Home
Q: Is it permissible for a woman to be at home without covering her hair?
A: It is permissible on condition that only her immediately family is there.  It is preferable, however, to always cover her hair, even in the dark, since Hashem fills the entire world with His honor.  Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 3:1.

Reciting Prayer for the State of Israel in Place of Ketubah
Q: I am performing a wedding on Yom Yerushalayim.  What is Ha-Rav's opinion regarding reciting the Prayer for the State of Israel in place of reading the Ketubah?
A: In theory, it is a beautiful idea to honor the State of Israel, but one should not change the way our Rabbis acted throughout the generations.  The entire purpose of reading the Ketubah is to separate between the Eirusin (Betrothal) and the Nisu'im (Matrimony) (Rama, Even Ha-Ezer 61:9.  Therefore, a great Rav in America, Ha-Rav Eliezer Silver, would read the Ketubah very slowly.  See "Be-Ikvei Ha-Tzon" of Ha-Rav Herschel Schachter p. 268).  In theory, it is even possible to invite a philosopher to read Plato in Greek between them, but we do not make changes (And in America, Ha-Rav Schachter once said that in theory even a monkey could read the Ketubah in order to create a separation. Some people were angered by his remark, mistakenly asserting that he was using an insulting expression towards women.  But Ha-Rav was using a halachic expression: "The act of a monkey".  For example, the Chatam Sofer writes that it is permissible for a monkey to serve as a messenger to deliver Mishloach Manot.  Chatam Sofer on Gittin 22b.  And food prepared by a monkey is still considered Bishul Akum.  Shut Shevet Ha-Levi 9:164).

Medical Negligence
Q: Is it permissible to sue a hospital for medical negligence?  Perhaps it is ungracious after they tried so hard to help?
A: It is permissible.  1. It is deterrence against it happening again.  2. It is not necessarily the same doctor who was both negligent and effective.  3. The hospital has insurance for such cases.

Mother of Hitler, may his name be blotted out
Q: Is it true that Hitler's mother was Jewish?
A: No.  There are those who claim that his father's mother was Jewish, but this has no basis.

Picture of the Rambam
Q: Is the famous picture of the Rambam really the Rambam?
A: No.  He doesn't have Peyot at all.  It is a later picture of someone who is wearing Turkish clothing.

Difficult Pregnancy
Q: My wife has difficult pregnancies, and nonetheless still wants to have another child.  The problem is that I also suffer from this, and it has a damaging effect on our relationship (Shalom Bayit).  Is this a reason to not have another child?
A: Just as your wife courageously enters pregnancy to have another child, you should do the same (see Meshech Chochma on Bereshit 9:7).  You should therefore be brave, and you will benefit two-fold: having another child, and learning to overcome difficulties.

Q&A on Alzheimer's

Q: Which is preferable for a person with Alzheimer's – to be home with limited resources or in a medical facility rich in resources?
A: At home.  He feels better there, and it slows down the progression of the illness.
Q: When there is no choice, can a child help a parent in the bathroom or shower even though it is immodest?
A: Yes (See Pesachim 51a.  Aruch Ha-Shulchan, Even Ha-Ezer 23:8.  Shut Shema Avraham #70).
Q: Sometimes the behavior of a parent suffering from Alzheimer's goes beyond the limit.  Am I still obligated in honoring one's parent?
A: Yes, to the best of your ability (See Rambam and Raavad, Hilchot Maamrim 6:10).
Q: Is a person suffering from Alzheimer's obligated in Mitzvot?
A: To the best of his ability, and where he is mentally aware (See Shut Igrot Moshe, Even Ha-Ezer 1:120).
Q: I don't have the strength to care for a person suffering from dementia.
A: One needs great self-sacrifice to care for a loved one.
Q: Is there any advice for a person suffering from Alzheimer's who forgets to perform Mitzvot and violates transgressions?
A: Writing in a notepad.  And for Shabbat – pre-made sticky notes.
Q: Is it permissible to violate Shabbat for a medical procedure which will extend his life?
A: Yes.  It is considered a life-threatening situation.  See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 328:5 (Shut Igrot Moshe, Orach Chaim 3:91.  See Shut Tzitz Eliezer 8:15 #7.  Shut Bigdei Shesh 1:42 #4).
Q: Is it permissible to violate Shabbat for a medical procedure which will help him remain mentally stable for a longer period of time?
A: Yes (Shut Tzitz Eliezer ibid. #9, 1.  Shut Bigdei Shesh ibid. #5).
Q: Should one pray for his recovery?  After all, there is no medical cure.
A: Certainly.  1. In order that the illness does not worsen.  2. There is constant research and perhaps a cure can be discovered.  3. That he should feel good, as much as possible.
Q: If the person is suffering greatly, is it permissible to pray for his death?
A: Yes (Ketubot 104a).  However, it is on condition that it is for his benefit and not to ease the burden on the family (Shut Tzitz Eliezer Volume 5, Ramat Rachel #5.  Volume 7 #49).
Q: In general, how should one relate to a person suffering from Alzheimer's?
A: With love and respect.