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Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #388


Etrog Jam
Q: What is the source that Etrog jam helps a woman to have an easy delivery?
A: There is no ancient source.

Minhag of Divorced Woman
Q: I am divorced.  Should I continue the customs of my former husband or return to the customs of my father?
A: If you do not have older children, return to your father's customs.  If you have older children and they are used to your former husband's customs, you should continue to perform them so there is uniformity in your house.

Dispute over Wig
Q: I cover my hair with a wig but my husband does not like it.  What should I do?
A: He should wear what he wants, and you should not give him orders about his dress, and you should dress the way you want, and he should not give you orders about your dress.
A: But he claims that I do not understand him?
A: Indeed, and he does not understand you.  Perhaps you two should go to marriage counseling, and we hope that he will be able to understand what every 10 year old child understands, i.e. to be objective.

Siyum Ha-Shas
Q: We are planning to attend the Siyum Ha-Shas at Binyanei Ha-Uma in Yerushalayim, and then go and eat in a restaurant.  Is that considered a Seudat Mitzvah?
A: Yes.  It is possible to have a Seudah for a Siyum in another place.  Shut Maharam Brisk 1:133.

Cohanim's Shoes
Q: When Cohanim take off their shoes for Birkat Cohanim, should they put them under their chairs or leave them outside the sanctuary?
A: Most important is that they are not seen.

Calling from Different Phone Number
Q: I keep calling someone but they do not pick up for me.  Can I call them from a different number?
A: Genivat Da'at (deception).

Praising Student in Front of the Class
Q: Is it permissible for me to praise a student in front of the class for learning well?
A: One needs to be very careful, since it can cause the weaker students to feel frustrated.

Non-Hebrew Words in Rashi
Q: Do the non-Hebrew words in Rashi have the same holiness as the Hebrew words?
A: They have similar holiness as the Aramaic translation of Onkelos but a little less since Onkelos was given at Mt. Sinai (Ha-Rav Chaneh Halberstan, Av Beit Din Kalashitz, said that his holy grandfather, the Shinova Rav, was very particular to pronounce the non-Hebrew words when learning Rashi, since they have the same level of holiness as the rest of Rashi.  And if he heard someone skip over those words, he would tell them to go back and pronounce them.  In the book "Divrei Chaneh Ha-Shalem" p. 453.  And see the book "Otzar Lazei Rashi" which explains all of the non-Hebrew words in Rashi).

Shul in Bomb Shelter
Q: If we have a Shul in the bomb shelter of our building, does it have the holiness of a Shul?
A: No.  It is still a bomb shelter.

Celebrating after Qasem Soleimani's Death


With America and the entire world riveted by the US Military's success in assassinating Qasem Soleimani, Iran's senior military officer, we felt it important to bring you Rav Aviner's response to the death of Yassir Arafat (in 5765).

When Your Enemy Falls, Do Not Rejoice?

It is true that it says in Mishlei (24:17): "When your enemy falls, do not rejoice," but there are enemies and there are Enemies.

The Talmud in Megillah (16a) relates that when Mordechai was led around on the horse by Haman, he did not treat him exceedingly mercifully. When Haman questioned him: Doesn’t the verse say, "When your enemy falls, do not rejoice"?  Mordechai responded: This does not refer to you.

Arafat was like Haman. He not only wanted to kill Jews, but actively did so, and left many widows, widowers, and orphans, as well as thousands of wounded and suffering.  We could say that every child in Israel has a wound on his soul for a person who was close to him who was murdered. 

It is also true that when the angels wanted to sing and join with the song of the Children of Israel after the Splitting of the Red Sea, the Master of the Universe prevented them, saying: "My handiwork has drowned in the sea and you are singing a song?" (see Sanhedrin 39b and Megillah 10b).  This is correct, and yet the Children of Israel did sing! How so? We are not angels. As the Admor of Pisetzna, Rav Kalman Kalonymus Shapira, wrote during the Holocaust (see "Aish Kodesh"): Was an angel ever hit? Was an angel ever murdered? Was an angel ever humiliated? We were! The angels did not suffer as we did in Egypt, so they could not sing. But we did suffer -- suffered immensely -- and therefore during the Exodus from Egypt "Moshe sang." And Miriam and the women also went out with singing and dancing after the Splitting of Red Sea and the drowning of the Egyptians.  And so, for Arafat, as for the Egyptians, we say, "and joy went through the camp" (Melachim 1 22:26) and we say "when the wicked perish, there is joy" (Mishlei 11:10).

May we be comforted by the building of Jerusalem.