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Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #367


Collecting Brass Casings of Bullets in the Army
Q: Is it permissible for me to collect the brass casings of bullets which remain on the army's shooting range, after they have cleaned it?
A: Brass is very expensive.  The army recycles it.  It is possible that what was not collected in not considered abandoned (Hefker) since they will collect it the next time.  You should therefore refrain from taking any or ask permission from the army.

Dirt on Rav's Shirt
Q: Is it permissible to point out to one's Rav that he has dirt on his clothing?
A: Yes.  With humility.

Wiping Off Sweat with Tzitzit
Q: It is permissible to wipe off sweat with one's Tzitzit?
A: No.  It is forbidden to use them in a manner which disgraces them.  Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 21:1-2.  The same applies to drying one's hands or cleaning one's glasses with them.  See a long list of such forbidden uses in Piskei Teshuvot 21:1.

Water of Eretz Yisrael
Q: Is it preferable to drink water of Eretz Yisrael than water from outside of Israel, i.e. from Turkey?
A: Yes.  The holiness of the Land.  See Bach, Orach Chaim #208 (Ha-Rav Mordechai Eliyahu was once giving a talk outside of Israel and they brought him a bottle of water and a plastic cup.  He spoke for 45 minutes and did not drink anything.  Someone came and poured him the cup of water but he still did not drink.  At the end of the talk, Rav Eliyahu asked his assistant for a cup of water.  Someone asked him why he didn't drink the water which was given to him.  He said: I only drink water from Eretz Yisrael.  After all, water is life and one only receives true life in Eretz Yisrael.  In the book "Avihem Shel Yisrael" Volume 2, pp. 95-96).

Blessing of Guest in Hotel or Restaurant
Q: Does a guest in a hotel or someone eating in a restaurant recite the Birkat Orach (Blessing of a Guest) in the Birkat Ha-Mazon?
A: No.  He is not a guest but rather a paying customer.

Torah Scholar Riding on Bike
Q: Is it permissible for a Torah scholar to ride on a bike or does it disrespect his position?
A: It depends on the custom in one's area.  There were Torah scholars who rode on horses, donkeys and camels (In the book "Penini Rabbenu Ha-Kehilot Yaakov" [p. 128], it is written in the name of the Steipler Gaon that a Torah scholar should not ride on a bike.  But in the book "Asaf Ha-Mazkir" [p. 10], Ha-Rav Meir Mazuz brings various Torah scholars who would ride on bikes.  Rav Aviner rides a bike in Beit El where he is the Rav.  Once someone came to see the community with the thought of moving there.  Rav Aviner rode by and someone pointed out that this was the Rav.  The person said: If so, this is where I want to live!).

Conversion of Pregnant Woman
Q: If a woman who is pregnant converts, what is the status of the baby when he/she is born?
A: He/she has the status of a convert (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 268:6).

Kissing Grave
Q: What is the source of kissing a grave?
A: There are those who do so in a respectful manner when they leave (Nitei Gavriel – Avelut 67:21).

Mitzvah of Tzitzit Every Moment
Q: Is the Mitzvah of wearing Tzitzit one continuous Mitzvah or a new Mitzvah every single moment?
A: One fulfills the Mitzvah each and every moment he is wearing them (Shut Maharach Or Zarua #1.  Shut Terumat Ha-Deshen #44).