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Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #371


Which Transgression is Worse
Q: Which transgression is worse between these two…?
A: It is forbidden to ask such question.  "We will listen and we will perform everything G-d told us" (Shemot 24:7).

Shidduch with Someone Who Visits Har Ha-Bayit
Q: I went on a Shidduch with a wonderful guy and he just told me he visits the Temple Mount.  Should I break it off?
A: No.  One needs Ahavat Yisrael.

Short Cut through Kotel Plaza
Q: Is it permissible to take a short cut through the Kotel Plaza, or is it forbidden just as it is forbidden to take a short cut through a Shul?
A: It is permissible.  It does not have the holiness of a Shul.  Only the cordoned off area is considered a Shul.

Spitting During Aleinu
Q: Is there an obligation to spit during Aleinu when one says "To nonsense and emptiness"?
A: No.  There are some, such as Chabad Chasidim, to belittle idol worship (Taz, Yoreh Deah 179:5).  Others refrain from doing so because it is impolite and an infringement on the holiness of the Shul (It is related in the book "She'eilat Rav" [Volume 1 p. 232] that Ha-Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv would make a movement with his lips as if he was spitting, but would not actually spit.  And it says in the book "Sefer Ha-Gan" that spitting is defined as sticking one's tongue out a bit, and this was what Ha-Admor Imrei Sofer of Erlau would do and spit a little bit.  Halichot Ve-Hanhagot Imrei Sofer Volume 1, p. 86 and in note #3.  Me-Mechitzat Zekeini p. 234.  And a woman once called Ha-Rav Mordechai Shmuel Ashkenazi, Rav of Kefar Chabad, and said that she forgot to spit during Aleinu.  He responded: Spit now.  In the book "Ha-Rav Mordechai Shmuel Ashkenzai p. 686).

Women Asking for Tzedakah in Shul
Q: In our Shul, women enter the men's area during the Davening to collect Tzedakah.  All of our requests for them to stop have not helped, nor have our threats to call the police.  What should we do?
A: Either call the police or put a guard at the door.

Yawning
Q: Is it true that one must cover one's mouth when he yawns so that his soul doesn't come out of his body?
A: Nonsense.  It is a superstition with Muslim roots that a yawn comes from Satan.  One should cover his mouth, however, because it suggests boredom and is impolite.  In actuality, there is no scientific explanation why we yawn.  There is, however, an explanation of "Mirror neuron" (why others yawn when they see someone else yawn).  By the way, animals also yawn.

Atonement for Speaking Ill of Someone in Public
Q: I spoke ill of a Torah scholar in public.  I apologized to him and he accepted my apology.  Do I have to write an apology letter to all those who heard it?
A: Yes.  A transgression in public must be atoned for in public.

Hidden Recording
Q: Is it permissible for me to record a discussion I have with a Rabbi without his knowledge?
A: No.  It is deceitful.  And the same applies to any person, not only a Rabbi. 

Book of Yonah
Q: Did the story of Yonah actually happen or is it a parable, as someone told me?
A: It is real (See Ha-Rav's commentary of the Book of Yonah).