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Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #365


Mashiach Arriving at Any Time
Q: How is it possible to believe that the Mashiach will arrive at any time when reality does not work through sudden miracles but gradually?
A: We believe in miracles.  We do not rely on miracles but we believe in them.

Beit Ha-Mikdash Built on Tisha Be-Av
Q: If the Beit Ha-Mikdash is built on the day of Tisha Be-Av, do we continue the fast or stop?
A: Some Poskim say that it is similar to a fast for rain (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 575:11).  If it begins to rain before noon, the fast is stopped, if it rains after noon, the fast is completed (This is also the opinion of Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievski in the book 'Siach Ha-Nechama Al Bein Ha-Metzarim' p. 73).

Roman Numerals on Watch
Q: Is it permissible to wear a watch with Roman Numerals?
A: Yes.  There is no prohibition regarding Roman numerals themselves, just as there is no prohibition for the commonly-used numbers, which were a Turkish creation that was adopted first by the Arabs and then by the entire world.

Pharoah Spoke Hebrew?
Q: Did Pharoah and Billam speak Hebrew or did the Torah translate what they said?
A: The Torah translated what they said.

Shaul and David
Q: Why did Shaul chase after David?
A: Shaul was a Tzadik but he mistakenly thought that David would cause damage to Am Yisrael.

Source for the Expression "Baseless Love"
Q: What is the source for the expression "Ahavat Chinam" (Baseless Love)?
A: Maran Ha-Rav Kook.  The Gemara in Yoma (9b) says that the Second Temple was destroyed because of baseless hatred (Sinat Chinam) between Jews.  Maran Ha-Rav Kook explains that since we destroyed it through baseless hatred, the remedy to building it is baseless love.  Many Gedolei Yisrael later adopted this expression:  The Admor of Viznitz, Ha-Rav Yisrael Hagar, said: "It is better for me to stumble 100 times in baselessly loving Israel than one time in baselessly hating Israel" (Ner Yisrael - Ha-Rav Ha-Kadosh R' Yisrael Mei-Viznitz p. 332), the Lubavitcher Rebbe (Likutei Sichot, Volume 7 Vayikra p. 326.  Ibid. Volume 34 Devarim p. 229) and Breslov Chasidim: "Ahavat Chinam is good for the world".

The Souls of Converts Were at Sinai
Q: Are converts lacking in some way since they are not the offspring of Avraham Avinu?
A: Our Rabbis already asked this question and answered that the souls of converts were at Mt. Sinai.  Shabbat 104.  And they are the offspring of Avraham Avinu in their souls, if not physically (See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 53:19 and 199:4 that converts say "Avoteinu" [our forefathers] in the Shemoneh Esrei and Birkat Ha-Mazon).

Lashon Ha-Ra to Hashem
Q: If I am speaking with Hashem, is it permissible for me to tell him Lashon Ha-Ra?
A: Yeshayahu Ha-Navi was punished when he told Hashem Lashon Ha-Ra about Am Yisrael, saying: I dwell among a Nation of impure lips (Yeshayahu 6:5).

Honoring Older Sister
Q: Is there an obligation to honor an older sister just as one is obligated to do so for an older brother?
A: Yes.  Ha-Chida (Birkei Yosef, Yoreh Deah 240 #17).

Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #364


Following One's Rav in Everything
Q: Must a person follow his Rav in every area of Halachah?
A: In the Gemara Shabbat (40a) Abaye said "I follow Rav (his Rabbi) except in three cases."

The Book "Va-Yoel Moshe"
Q: On our Tzahal base there is a copy of the anti-Zionist book "Va-Yoel Moshe" of the Satmar Rebbe.  Is it permissible for me to put it in the Geniza?
A: No.  1. It belongs to Tzahal.  2. It contains Divrei Torah (see our book "Alo Na'ale" – A Response to Va-Yoel Moshe).

List of Good and Bad Kids on the Black Board
Q: Is it a good idea for a teacher to write a list of "good" and "bad" kids on the corner of the black board?
A: G-d forbid!  Someone who asks such a question seems to never have felt what it is like to see his name listed as a "bad child".

Beautiful Script or Fear of Heaven
Q: Which is most important in a Sofer Stam – beautiful writing or true fear of Heaven?
A: Fear of Heaven. 

Visiting Graves of Rabbis from Earlier Generations or Our Generation
Q: Is it preferable to visit and Daven at the graves of Rabbis from earlier generations or Rabbis from our generation?
A: The Sedei Chemed (Ma'arechet Eretz Yisrael #1) brings Poskim who say that it is permissible to leave Eretz Yisrael to visit the graves of Tzadikim, but in Shut Mishpat Cohain (#147), Maran Ha-Rav Kook expresses amazement: "How is it possible to say that there is a Mitzvah to travel outside of Israel for this…  Why isn't the love of our Forefathers buried in Chevron sufficient that one need not leave Eretz Yisrael?!"  It is therefore certainly preferable to visit the graves of earlier generations (Although, in the newspaper "Yated Ne'eman", Ha-Rav Shmuel Baruch Genut brings in the name of Ha-Rav Aharon Yehudah Leib Shteinman that it is preferable to visit the graves of those closer to our generation who understand our suffering and struggles rather than the graves of those of earlier generations, who are so distant from our comprehension and exalted above our level.  And Ha-Rav Chaim Kanieski wrote to Rav Genut that one can visit both, and they are equally beneficial for salvation.  Rav Genut points out that when the Brisker Rav was ill, he sent a Minyan of Gedolei Yisrael [including Rav Shach and Rav Shteinman] to Daven for him at the the graves of the Rashbi and Rabbi Yosef Karo, the Beit Yosef, and not at the graves of others.  The Chazon Ish also said that there is a special matter to Daven at the grave of Rabbi Yosef Karo, since he is the Rav of all Yisrael, since he wrote the Shulchan Aruch and everyone is connected to him and his Torah).  

Chosen People
Q: How do we know that we are the Chosen People?  Another nation can claim the same thing!
A: The majority of the world has been influenced by our Torah.

Eating in a Hotel
Q: If I am a guest in a hotel, can I invite my friend to eat at the end of the meal when there is so much food remaining and it will otherwise be thrown out?
A: Ask directly at the hotel.

Shabbat Candles that Blew Out
Q: If the Shabbat candles blew out after I lit them, is it a bad sign?
A: Definitely not.  Piskei Teshuvot 263, notes #33, 176.

Standing During Lecha Dodi
Q: Should one stand during Lecha Dodi in Kabbalat Shabbat?
A: Some have the custom to sit, and to stand only for the last stanza (Aruch Ha-Shulchan, Orach Chaim 262:5).  And some have the custom to stand during its entirety.  Everyone should follow his family's custom (In the book 'Beito Na'avah Kodesh' [Chodesh Adar p. 77], it is related that the Belzer Rebbe, Maharash, had a tradition from the author of Lecha Dodi, Ha-Kadosh Rebbe Shlomo Elkabetz, that he conditioned its recital on 3 things: 1. To stand during its entirety.  2.  Not to talk during its recital.  3. To sing it.  It is told there that one of the times that the Admor Maharid of Belz and the Admor Chakal Yitzchak of Spinka met at the vacation city of Marinbad, the Belzer Rebbe told the Spinker Rebbe that the custom in Belz is to recite Lecha Dodi without singing it since it lasts so long and they are strict to stand during its recitation.  It is related elsewhere that the Spinker Rebbe stood for part of it and sat for part of it in an attempt to fulfill both standing during it as well as singing it.  In the booklet "Ma'aseh Avot" published at the end of the book "Likutei Chakal Yitzchak" p. 371).

Videos of the Temple Mount
Q: Is it permissible to watch a video of the Temple Mount filmed by someone who went up there despite the prohibition?
A: Certainly not.

We Love Satmar Chasidim!


We love Satmar Chasidim because their philosophy is not based on hatred of Eretz Yisrael but, just the opposite, they love Eretz Yisrael so much that they do not want its holiness to be damaged.  It is therefore forbidden to return to it before the proper time.  This is similar to Rav Yehuda in the Gemara.  On the one hand, he said that anyone who ascends from Bavel to Eretz Yisrael violates a positive Mitzvah (Berachot 24b).  On the other hand, he loved Eretz Yisrael so much that he held, unlike others, that a special blessing was made on balsam oil: we bless Hashem "who creates oil of OUR LAND" (ibid. 43a).  Rav Yehuda both loved Eretz Yisrael greatly and held that it was not yet time to return there (Kerem Chemed on Berachot 24b.  Torat Ha-Temarim Al Ha-Torah U-Moadim p. 141).  We obviously do not agree with this position of Satmar, since we received from our Rabbis that the beginning of the Redemption has already arrived.

We love Satmar Chasidim because their philosophy is not based on hatred of Jews but, just the opposite, because they love Jews and it pains them so much when any Jew is killed (see introduction to Va-Yoel Moshe).

We love Satmar Chasidim because, in contrast to some people who do NOT see that something is happening to Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael, they DO see that something happened and is happening, and they respond to it.  After the establishment of the State of Israel, the Satmar Rebbe wrote the book Va-Yoel Moshe.  After the Six-Day War, he wrote the book Al Ha-Geula Ve-Al Ha-Temura (Ha-Rav Yosef Soloveitchik said: If after all of the miracles, wonders and salvations which we have seen, he [the Satmar Rebbe] still holds his same position, it is proof that he has courage).  With the US declaration that Yerushalayim is the capital of the State of Israel, the Admor R' Aharon of Satmar, discussed it in a speech.  On the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel, Satmar organized a conference to explain their position.  Although we do not agree with their position and explanations, we understand that they see that major events are occurring here.

We love Satmar Chasidim because the Admor R' Zalman of Satmar said about members of Neturei Karta who visited Iran: "These people take the pure name of Satmar in vain! Our Holy Rabbi, the 'Vayoel Moshe' [the first Satmar Rebbe, and R' Zalman's uncle], exaggeratedly said that they cause more damage than the Zionists themselves.  We are working to cast off all these extreme sects.  When these individuals went to Iran, the Satmar Beit Din issued a harsh letter against them" (Mishpachah Magazine.  29 Kislev 5773, p. 24).   

We love Satmar Chasidim because they succeeded in reestablishing a community which was almost wiped out in the Holocaust.  They are now the largest Chasidic group in the world.

We love Satmar Chasidim because they have immense Yirat Shayamim (Fear of Heaven), great self-sacrifice for Torah learning and amazing Midot Tovot (proper character traits).  One of the great things they do in America is visit the sick in hospitals and concern themselves with the needs of each and every Jew there.  The Satmar Rebbe also helped any Jew regardless of his philosophy.

We love Satmar Chasidim because they provide their children with a pure, holy Torah education.

We love Satmar Chasidim because our disagreement with them is about the means, not the goal.  There is no essential difference between our goal and theirs.  In the end, everyone wants the entire Jewish People to settle in Eretz Yisrael. Everyone wants there to be a Jewish State and a Jewish army. Everyone wants that State to be holy, and everyone wants the Nation that dwells in Zion to be holy.  The difference is only over the proper pathway, the proper means to achieve this end and the proper time to do so.

We love Satmar Chasidim because we understand that their harsh rebuke is out of love, and at times has the value of protecting the Nation and State of Israel.  Their strong words are in the category of "revealed rebuke is preferable to hidden love" (Mishlei 27:5).  And this is what Maran Ha-Rav Kook said to his student Ha-Rav Dr. Moshe Zeidel, who was upset with the Charedi criticism. Maran Ha-Rav Kook responded that the Charedim, who are opposed to Zionism from the depths of the purity of their spirit, aid in removing much of its negative tendency and will thus allow it to reach its royal potential (Igrot Re'eiyah 3:156).

We love Satmar Chasidim because one must love every Jew (Mesilat Yesharim, end of Chapter 19.  Tanya, Chapter 32).  The Mitzvah of "Love your fellow Jew as yourself" is so simple and obvious that the Shulchan Aruch does not even bring it.