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Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #368


Leaning on Car
Q: Is it permissible to lean on a car of someone who you do not know?
A: You must ask permission.

Cremation
Q: Rona Ramon z"l wrote in her will that she wanted to be cremated in order to spare her children from attending yet another funeral of their family (Her husband astronaut Ilan Ramon was killed when the Columbia space shuttle exploded, and their oldest son Assaf, an Israeli fighter pilot, was killed when his place crashed).  Should they listen to her?
A: All of the Poskim write that it is forbidden to listen to the wishes of someone who asks to be cremated (Gesher Ha-Chaim Volume 1 16:9.  See Shut Seredei Aish 2:123-124.  Shut Melamed Le-Hoil 2:113-114), but we do not interfere with a family's matter unless they come and ask us.   

Where is Hashem
Q: Where is Hashem during all of the terrorist attacks?
A: This same question can obviously be asked regarding the Holocaust and Pogroms.  But where is your contract with Hashem that such things will not occur?!  Rather we must increase our faith in Hashem and our courage.

Security Situation
Q: As Yeshiva students, what can we do in light of the difficult security situation?
A: 1. Increase your Emunah and courage.  2. Thank Hashem that the security situation is 99.99% great.  3. Ask your Ra"m in your Yeshiva. 

Learning Torah and Terrorist Attacks
Q: It is difficult for me to learn Torah when I think about the terrorist attacks.
A: B"H you have a pure soul.  You should increase your Emunah in Hashem and add Torah learning and Mitzvot, which adds to our protection.  And thank Hashem that almost everything is good.

Second Day of Yom Tov
Q: If someone purchases an apartment in Israel but still lives outside of Israel, is he required to keep two days of Yom Tov?
A: Yes, in the meantime.  Be-Ezrat Hashem, he should make Aliyah soon (A student of Ha-Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik would often visit Eretz Yisrael and bought an apartment here.  He asked Rav Soloveitchik if he still had to keep two days of Yom Tov.  He responded: Yes, nothing has changed except that you now have to pay taxes to the Israeli Government for your apartment.  Divrei Ha-Rav, p. 173-174).

Emendations of the Vilna Shas
Q: Who emended the Vilna Shas?
A: Ha-Rav Shlomo Cohen, who was the Av Beit Din in Vilna.  His commentary "Cheshek Shlomo" which explains his emendations, is printed at the end of the Gemara.  He also wrote Shut Binyan Shlomo, and supported the Mizrachi.  When Herzl came to Vilna, he came out to greet him with a Sefer Torah like greeting a king.  And Ha-Rav Yechezkel Avramsky related that it is known that Reb Shlom'le's house was full of Zionism (Sichot Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah - Eretz Yisrael pp. 212-213.  And Ha-Rav Herschel Schachter once related that when he learned in Yeshiva University high school, he had a Ra"m named Ha-Rav Markelos, who was a grandson of Ha-Rav Shlomo Cohen.  Rav Markelos said that there was a tradition in his family that his grandfather emended the Gemara by heart, since he was a genius and knew the entire Gemara, Rashi and Tosafot by heart, and had no need to check other manuscripts.  Based on this, Rav Schachter explained why in the Vilna Shas, unlike other printings, every 50 pages or so there is mistakenly a letter Shin instead of a Samech, or visa-versa, since Lithuanian Jews switch the letters Shin and Sin, and this is the way Rav Shlomo Cohen spoke.  Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein also spoke this way and instead of saying "Beit Midrash", he would say "Beit Midras").

Tears During Davening
Q: Sometimes during the Davening of Shabbat night, I have tears in my eyes because of the enjoyment of the Davening and thirst for Hashem.  Is this permissible?
A: Yes.  The Shulchan Aruch (Rama, Orach Chaim 288:1) writes that this is what Rabbi Akiva did.

The Temple Mount is in Our Hands
Q: Is the Temple Mount still under Israeli control in our days?
A: Certainly.  Ask any soldier stationed there. 

Eating at Kiddush
Q: If I attend a Kiddush, am I obligated to eat if I am strict not to eat certain Kosher certifications?
A: A person is not obligated to eat everything, but he should not come to a place and act as if the food is not Kosher.  It is preferable not to attend (Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein would eat at every Kiddush he attend in order to be particular to honor the host.  In the book 'Darchei Moshe' Volume 1, p. 157).