Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #362


Immersing a Pocketknife in a Mikveh
Q: Does a pocketknife that includes eating utensils need to be immersed in a Mikveh?
A: Yes, while it is completely opened.

Making a Pesak Halachah for the Mashiach to Come
Q: Is it possible for Gedolei Yisrael to issue a Pesak for the Mashiach to come, which will cause an awakening above and result in his coming?
A: There are those who say it is possible, but we should instead plead with Hashem and not make demands of Him (When the Chief Rabbis of Israel, Ha-Rav Mordechai Eliyahu and Ha-Rav Avraham Shapira, visited the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Rebbe asked them: Perhaps all of the Rabbis should gather together and issue a Pesak that the Mashiach should immediately come!  Rav Eliyahu said: If you join us, we will be a Beit Din of three judges, and we can issue such a Pesak.  The Rebbe replied: I have been ready to do so for some time, but I am only one, and need two others.  Rav Eiyahu said: We will join the honorable Rabbi…  In the book "Be-Tzel Ha-Chochma" p. 304.  See also "Ha-Melech Be-Mesibo" Volume 1, pp. 59-60. 
And during "Chalukat Ha-Dollarim" [when the Lubavicher Rebbe would distribute dollars bills to thousands upon thousands of people to give to Tzedakah] in the year 5750, the Rebbe said to Ha-Rav Moshe Stern, one of the great Poskim of America and author of Shut Be'er Moshe: "I have your Teshuvot, but it is not enough.  You have to help bring the Mashiach.  Perhaps you should write a Teshuvah ruling that the Mashiach should come."
But in the year 5771, when the Ungvarer Rav, Ha-Rav Menashe Klein, author of Shut Mishnah Halachot, visited Ha-Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and asked him to Pasken for the Mashiach to come, Rav Elyashiv politely declined: It is impossible to issue a Pesak that the Geulah should come.  But rather we must believe in it and await it).

Adopted Child
Q: Should parents who adopted a child tell him that he is adopted?
A: Eventually he will find out whether they tell him or not, and it will be a shock to him.  They should therefore tell him when he is young, and he will accept it in a natural manner and grow up with this knowledge.  They should emphasize: You are our child, because we chose you.

Coming of Mashiach
Q: How is it possible for us to expect Mashiach to arrive every day when our Sages tell us that he will arrive in the month of Tishrei or Nisan?
A: He can arrive other times through a miracle.

Rabbi's Blessing
Q: Is it worthwhile to travel a far distance in order to receive a Rabbi's blessing?
A: It is worthwhile to go to Shul to hear Birkat Cohanim, which is a blessing from Hashem, which is much greater than a Rabbi's blessing (It once happened that in the Beit Midrash of the Brisker Rav, Ha-Rav Velvele Soloveitchik, that there was no Cohain for Birkat Cohanim.  The Brisker Rav asked for people to find a Cohain and bring him.  It took about 15 minutes.  Among those Davening were two Chasidim who were clearly impatient to finish Davening, but they stayed out of fear of the Brisker Rav.  After the Davening, the Brisker Rav said to them: You will travel for two weeks with great difficulty and expensive in order to receive a blessing for a Chasidic Rebbe, which you have no guarantee will be fulfilled, but the Torah says "Place My Name on Bnei Yisrael and I will bless them", promising that the blessing will be realized, and you don't have 15 minutes?!  In the book Meged Givot Olam of Ha-Rav Michal Zalman Shurkin Volume 1, p. 98.  Ha-Rav Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman also expressed surprise that people travel great distances to receive a blessing from a Rabbi instead of running to Shul to receive Birkat Cohanim, a blessing from Hashem.  Be-Orchotecha Lamdeni p. 38). 

Nickname of Prime Minster of Israel
Q: Is it permissible to refer to the Prime Minister by the nickname Bibi?
A: No.  We are obligated to honor him in a similar manner as honoring the King of Israel.  See Rambam, Hilchot Melachim Chapter 2 (Shut Orach Mishpat of Maran Ha-Rav Kook #144).

Yizchor
Q: I am married with many young children, Baruch Hashem.  Am I obligated to go to Shul to say Yizchor for my Mother, which would entail finding someone to watch the children?
A: You can say it at home.

Judaism Outside of Israel
Q: Should we strengthen Mitzvah observance of Judaism outside of Israel or send them a message that they should make Aliyah?
A: There is no contradiction.

Cataract Surgery
Q: Should one recite "Birkat Ha-Gomel" after cataract surgery?
A: No.  It is not a life-threatening situation (I saw that when Rav Aviner had cataract surgery he returned to the Yeshiva on the same day with a patch over his eye.  When he removed the patch, he did not recite Birkat Ha-Gomel).