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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.