Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #396


Wedding Hall which also Hosts Non-Kosher Affairs

Q: If a wedding hall hosts Kosher and non-Kosher affairs, is it permissible for me to work there when there is a Kosher affair?

A: Yes.


Mikveh in Desert

Q: When Bnai Yisrael wandered in the desert for 40 years, where did they immerse?

A: There are many Desert Puddles, big and small, and underground springs.

Q: That is hard to believe…

A: www.shutterstock.com/search/desert+puddle.


Jews in Exile and Anti-Semitism

Q: Is it proper to wish that Jews in Exile suffer from Anti-Semitism so they make Aliyah?

A: G-d forbid!  That is evil!


Son Beating Father in Game

Q: Is it permissible for me to beat my father in a game, or is it forbidden because of Kibud Av?

A: It is permissible.


Living in Parents' Attached Apartment

Q: We are a newly-married couple and live for free in an apartment attached to my parents' house, but my wife does not feel comfortable there.  What should we do?

A: It is most important to live in a place where one feels comfortable.


Amen between Netilat Yadayim and Ha-Motzi

Q: If I washed Netilat Yadayim and have not yet made Ha-Motzi, is it permissible to say Amen on someone's blessing over Netilat Yadayim?

A: Yes, since it is the same matter.  Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 41:2.


Reserve Army Duty and Marriage

Q: I perform a short reserve duty in the Army each year but it is very difficult for my wife.  What should I do?

A: Perform the military service and pacify your wife in some way.


Tree which Makes a Mess

Q: My tree makes a mess on my neighbor's lawn.  Am I obligated to build a fence, move it, or clean his yard?

A: It is proper to do so.  Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 155:32.


Payments for Child

Q: In the case of a divorce, should the father or mother pay for a child's therapy with a Psychologist and driving lessons?

A: The one who loves him should pay.  You can call me to talk.


Milchig Feeding Tube

Q: If I am receiving a Milchig feeding tube, is it permissible for me to eat meat?

A: Yes.  A feeding tube is not eating.

Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #395


Renewing Sanhedrin

Q: Can we renew the Sanhedrin in our time?

A: No.  We do not have Rabbis on the level of the Sanhedrin.  See what Maran Ha-Rav Kook wrote about this in Igrot Ha-Reeiya (Volume 2, p. 59).


Tachanun on Day of Making Aliyah

Q: Does one recite Tachanun on the day he makes Aliyah?  What about on the anniversary of making Aliyah?

A: No, since it is a holiday for him, as brought in Sefer Charedim that the Rambam established a holiday for his family on the day he arrived in Eretz Yisrael.  But others in the Minyan should recite Tachanun, since this is a novel ruling (Chiddush).  This is similar to a Bar Mitzvah in that he does not recite Tachanun but everyone else in the Shul does.  See Piskei Teshuvot 131 note #141 (and in Shut Mishneh Halachot 11:101, Ha-Rav Menashe Klein was asked this question by the Admor of Slonim, and he ruled that one does not recite Tachanun based on the Gemara in Ketubot 111a where Rabbi Elazar says: "Anyone who lives in Eretz Yisrael dwells without sin".  This is is similar to a groom whose sins are forgiven.  And just like a groom does not say Tachanun, so too someone who makes Aliyah.  Rav Klein holds that this applies to all others who Daven with him as well).


Desire to Ascend onto Temple Mount

Q: Should one have a desire to ascend onto the Temple Mount despite that he is unable to because it is forbidden?

A: One also has to do Teshuvah for a desire to perform a transgression.


Holiness of Laptop Computer

Q: It is permissible to put a laptop, which has many Sefarim on its hard-drive within the computer, on top of a Sefer?

A: No.  This is not the type of script which the Torah meant when speaking about holiness of Sefarim (Ha-Rav Avigdor Nevenzal, however, allows it if it is for the purpose of learning.  In the book "Ohel Yaakov" on the holiness of Sefarim, p. 25).


Losing a Child

Q: My child passed away.  Instead of saying: I lost a child, can I say: I returned a child to Hashem?

A: Yes.  This is what Rabbi Meir's wife said (Midrash Mishlei, Chapter 31).


Property for Embassy in Eretz Yisrael

Q: Is there a halachic problem in giving property in Eretz Yisrael for a foreign embassy because of the prohibition of transferring parts of Eretz Yisrael to non-Jews?

A: No, since they do not have military sovereignty.


Questions in Emunah

Q: Someone told me that it is not good if one does not have questions in Emunah, but I can't think of questions to ask.

A: This is not true.  One is not obligated to ask.  But if one has questions, we answer them.  And look, you just asked a question!


Rambam's 13 Principles of Faith

Q: Why aren't the Rambam's 13 Principles of Faith, which are printed in the Siddur, included in the Davening itself?

A: The Rambam explains in Moreh Nevuchim that all of the Principles of Faith are found in the Davening, just not in one place.


Torat Eretz Yisrael

Q: What is the definition of Torat Eretz Yisrael?

A: See Orot Ha-Torah of Maran Ha-Rav Kook, Chapter 13.


Standing during Kadish

Q: Do Ashkenazim have to stand for Kadish?

A: Yes.  But see Piskei Teshuvot 56:4.

Should We Daven for President Trump?

Question: Should we Daven for President Donald Trump, who is sick with Corona?

Answer: The answer is divided into three parts.

A.   Firstly, do we pray for non-Jews?  Ha-Rav Ovadiah Yosef already answered this question regarding a Druze soldier in Tzahal who was killed.   He says it is certainly permissible, and is even a Mitzvah as it says in Sefer Chasidim (beginning of Siman #790).  And he also brings as a proof from the Yerushalmi (Megillah 3:7) that on Purim we say: "May Charvorna be remembered for good", since he spoke out against the hater of Israel – Haman, and this is true all the more so for the Druze soldiers who risk their lives to protect the Nation of Israel.  It is a Mitzvah to pray for their souls (Shut Yabia Omer Vol. 10, Yoreh Deah #55.  Chazon Ovadiah - Avelut Volume 3, p. 238).  Rav Ovadiah also rules this way for a convert to Daven for his non-Jewish parents (Shut Yechaveh Daat 6:60). 

Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievsky also ruled that one may Daven for his non-Jewish neighbor who was sick (Derech Sicha Volume 1, p. 544).

By the way, Ha-Rav Kanievsky is also ill with Corona, and we should certainly Daven for him: Shematyahu Yosef Chaim Ben Pesha Miriam (without a title since there is no haughtiness before Hashem.  Sefer Chadisim #800.  Birkei Yosef, Yoreh Deah 240:4.  And Ha-Rav Avraham Dov Auerbach, Av Beit Din of Tiveria, once wrote me a Teshuvah and at the end added a request to Daven for his great father, and wrote: "Shlomo Zalman Ben Tzvia", without a title, even though his father was Gadol Ha-Dor.  Brought in Shut Hagrada, p. 64).

By the way, I was asked: Is President Trump the #1 person sick with Corona?  And I answered: It is possible to say this about Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievski Shlit"a.  One is the highest political leader and the other is the highest spiritual leader.  And what determines history - politics or the spirit?  The spirit!

B.   Ha-Rav Yitzchak Zilberstein, Rav of Ramat Elchanan in Bnei Brak, was already asked if one may Daven for President Trump's recovery, and he responded that one is OBLIGATED to do so, as gratitude for his support of Israel, moving the US Embassy to Yerushalayim, recognizing the Jewish communities in Yesha and the Golan, etc.

C.   The final question is where to Daven for him since the Mi She-Berach for the ill includes the phrase "With all of Israel his brothers".  When the Governor of Connecticut, Ella Grasso, was ill with cancer the local Rabbis asked Ha-Rav Yosef Soloveichik if they could recite a Mi She-Berach for her.  He answered that they could, but not with the same prayer since that prayer is for all Jews.  He wrote a special Mi She-Berach for her, and said that one should say her first and last name, and not her mother's name, which is the way that Jews are identified.

Ha-Rav Avigdor Nevenzal, Rav of the Old City, however, wrote to us that a non-Jew could be mentioned after that phrase.  And Ha-Rav Zilberstein added that President Trump should be referred to with his father's name: Donald Jon Ben Fred Trump.

Each person should follow his local Rabbi's ruling.


Rav Aviner tweeted today: Who is the #1 person sick with Corona?

 Rav Aviner tweeted today:

האמנם הנשיא טראמפ הוא חולה הקורונה מס' 1? – אפשר גם לומר שזה הרב קניבסקי.  זה מגדולי הפוליטיקה וזה מגדולי הרוח.  ומה קובע את ההיסטוריה?  הפוליטיקה או הרוח?  הרוח.

Is President Trump the #1 person sick with Corona?
It is possible to say this about Ha-Rav Chaim Kanievski Shlit"a.  One is the highest political leader and the other is the highest spiritual leader.  And what determines history - politics or the spirit?  The spirit!


The Jewish Press: Ben Uliel, 26, Receives Three Life Sentences, Rabbis Protest


Israel, UAE and Bahrain Peace Agreements


[Prepared by Tzvi Fishman]


Question: What is Ha-Rav's opinion regarding the peace agreements which Israel signed with the UAE and Bahrain?

Answer: The agreements are praiseworthy for three reasons.

Firstly, in principle, we are in favor of peace, for the Jewish People, and for the entire world. We believe in the ideal of universal brotherhood and friendship whereby every nation can develop in its optimum manner, while retaining its own independent nationality. Just as we want this national and cultural freedom for ourselves, we want it for other nations as well. Ha-Rav Kook calls this principle: "The line that connects, and the line that divides." We are to be "a Nation that dwells alone" in the sense of retaining our cultural and religious uniqueness, while still being connected to the world as the lifeline of Divine blessing to all peoples on Earth. Co-existence based on mutual respect, as opposed to Pan-Americanism which seeks to impose American culture and control throughout the globe.  To be an independent nation in the community of independent nations was one of the visions we had upon the founding of the State of Israel. Unfortunately, our Arab neighbors did not agree, and we have been forced to fight many painful wars. Patience, patience, patience. As our Sages teach, the Redemption of Israel comes a little at a time (Jerusalem Talmud, Berachot 1:1). If some Arab countries now want normalization and peace, this is a desirable development.

Secondly, more practically, in the global village we inhabit, a country cannot be autonomous and narcissistic, wanting to live all by itself. It would simply fall apart. Nations need other nations to survive, for economic reasons, security, and the like. Therefore, countries must have all sorts of connections.

Thirdly, we are a small country, and in many ways, isolated. Thus Ben Gurion sought to form alliances with other nations, as many as possible. He was right, and from then on, we have been trying to expand our connections. You can ask, do I believe that the UAE wants to be connected with us for the Sake of Heaven? I don’t believe that for a second. They are interested to enter into an agreement with us for their own needs. In this case, Baruch Hashem, their interests are in line with ours. In truth, we have had connections with them for some time. For political reasons on our part, and because more expanded economic ties are needed on theirs, the matter has gone public. Politics resembles big business. A person doesn’t necessarily buy fruit at a certain supermarket because he loves the owner, but because the merchandise is better and cheaper. Why are these Arab countries turning toward Israel? Because the Corona pandemic has caused them economic instability. Their tourist industry has been crippled. They would like to fill up their empty hotels with travel-loving Israelis. I know this from two very reliable sources. One of them runs a very prosperous food business in Israel. He says he has received so many orders from the UAE for Kosher Food that he could retire for the rest of his life... Whatever other reasons they have, the present agreement is positive. We know treaties can be discarded should circumstances change, but for now, Baruch Hashem.       

Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #394


Guest in Seat at Shul

Q: A guest was sitting in my seat at Shul.  The Halachah says that one should Daven in a fixed place.  If I ask him to move, he might be insulted.  What should I do?

A: It is preferable not to insult him.  Either sit within 4 Amot (6 feet) of your seat or sit elsewhere (Piskei Teshuvot 9:25).


Dividing the Sheva Berachot to Honor a Great Rabbi

Q: If a family has a Minhag not to divide up the Sheva Berachot, but rather have one person recite them all, and a great Rabbi attends the wedding, what should they do?

A: They should certainly divide them up!  It is the honor of Torah! (Ha-Admor Imrei Sofer of Eralu bemoaned that when his son was married he did not divide up the Sheva Berachot, as was the Hungarian custom, even though Ha-Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach attend the Chupa.  He said that for the honor of Torah, he should have acted otherwise and called him up for the Sheva Berachot.  In the book "Be-Mechitzat Zekeini", p. 259-260).


Asking Forgiveness

Q: I yelled at someone at work.  People do not customarily apologize here, and he won't understand what I want if I apologize.  What should I do?

A: It is extremely problematic that people do not ask for forgiveness.  You should do so.


Kabbalat Shabbat With Minyan

Q: Does Kabbalat Shabbat have to be recited with a Minyan, as there is no Kaddish or Barechu?  Or can I Daven by myself with greater passion?

A: You should Daven with a Minyan on account of honoring Shabbat (Piskei Teshuvot 267:3).


Learning Torah While Donating Blood

Q: Is it permissible to listen to a Torah class while donating blood?

A: Certainly.


Shidduch who Does Not Want Continue

Q: I went on a Shidduch and wanted to meet the young woman again, but she is not interested.  It is very hurtful and now I feel a lack of self-confidence.

A: Ha-Rav Pinchas Hirschprung, Av Beit Din of Montreal, said in a similar situation: The Torah is no less valuable even though the non-Jews did not want to receive it… (In the book "Be-Didi Hevei Uvda", p. 405).


Drinking to Get Rid of Hiccups

Q: Do I recite a blessing if I drink water to get rid of the hiccups?

A: Yes, since you are benefiting from the water.


Non-Chalav Yisrael Milk

Q: We have a little Kiosk in our Yeshiva.  Is it permissible to sell food which contains non-Chalav Yisrael?

A: You have to ask your Rosh Yeshiva.  As Ha-Rav Moshe Feinstein would say: "The Rabbi from Minsk should not interfere in a question for the Rabbi from Pinsk" (Meged Givot Olam Volume 1, p. 55.  Volume 2, pp. 31-32). 


Blessing over Rain Drops

Q: If I catch rain drops in my mouth, do I recite the blessing of "She-Ha-Kol"?

A: Yes, if you swallow them.


Denigrating Tzahal Soldiers

Q: I am a soldier.  I Davened in a Shul in Meah Shearim while wearing my uniform and some people denigrated me.  This is Torah?!  What can we do?!

A: They are confused.  Patience.  They will heal.

Short and Sweet - Text Message Q&A #393

Leaving Torah Class to Use the Restroom
Q: Ha-Rav published in a text message in the name of Prof. Nechama Leibowitz that one should not leave a Torah class in the middle to use the restroom.  But isn't it forbidden to "hold it in"?
A: Yes, it is an explicit Gemara in Yevamot (64b) that the students of Rav Huna did not use the restroom in the middle of a Torah class and their health was negatively affected.  And see Terumat Ha-Deshen (#16).  But this is not our case.  Rav Huna's classes were extremely long, while ours are relatively short, and one can use the restroom before and after the class (This certainly does not apply to someone with a medical condition).  Furthermore, when I served in Tzahal, I sat in ambush for 10 hours and did not use the restroom.  I planned ahead and did not drink much water beforehand.

Messiah without Knowing
Q: Can a person be the Mashiach without knowing that he is the Mashiach?
A: No.  See Rambam, Hilchot Melachim 11:4 for the list of criteria to know if someone is the Mashiach.

Tefillin during Musaf
Q: I accidentally Davened Musaf of Rosh Chodesh with Tefillin.  Did I fulfill my obligation?
A: Certainly.   This is not a negative but a positive.  It seems that in the past, when they wore Tefillin all day long, they did not remove them during Musaf on Rosh Chodesh.  In our days, Yemenite Jews wear them during Musaf on Rosh Chodesh.

Recording from the Radio
Q: If there is a Torah class on the radio, is it permissible to record it for myself?
A: Yes.  It seems that the Rabbi and the radio station would allow it as long as it is not for commerce or public use.

Tefillin on Person in Coma
Q: Is it permissible to put Tefillin on a person who is in a coma?
A: There is no obligation, but it is permissible.  Perhaps he will feel it.

Bringing Ketubah on Vacation
Q: When a family goes on vacation, does the wife have to bring her Ketubah with here, since she should have it available at all times?
A: No, since there is a fear that it will be lost (The Satmar Rebbe answered in the same way, and added that it is better to leave it at home in a safe place, and to always know its exact location.  In the book "Nitzotzei Tomer" volume 1, p. 453).

Who is Greater – Vilna Gaon or Chatam Sofer
Q: Who was greater – the Vilna Gaon or the Chatam Sofer?
A: Both were among the greatest of our Rabbis in Halachah, in holiness and in purity (The Admor Imrei Sofer of Erlau once related that a grandson of the Vilna Gaon asked his father, the Yad Sofer [a grandson of the Chatam Sofer], who was greater – the Vilna Gaon or the Chatam Sofer?  The Yad Sofer did not want to answer, and place his head between the two great mountains which where these Rabbis.  The questioner did not give up and would keep asking from time to time.  One time the Yad Sofer finally "broke" and gave an answer.  On that very day, the Yad Sofer was walking in the street and was struck by a bike and broke his hand.  The Yad Sofer saw  his injury as a punishment for his brazenness in commenting on the greatness of these two towering figures.  Someone later asked the Imrei Sofer: Did you ever ask your father what he answered?  He responded in surprise: After he told me what happened to him because he expressed his opinion about it, would I dare to ask him this question?!  In the book "Be-Mechitzat Zekeini", pp. 216-217).

Running to Shul
Q: It is a Mitzvah to run to Shul, but it looks weird!
A: One should run in a normal manner and not cause a Chilul Hashem (Piskei Teshuvot 90:18).  By the way, one should also run to the Beit Midrash and to any Mitzvah. 

Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #392

Changing name of Donor on Object in Shul
Q: If someone donated a Torah cover to the Shul and it deteriorated over time, is it permissible for someone else to donate a new one and have his name on it?
A: Yes.  Every donor clearly understands that an object will not last forever.  This follows the opinion of Shut Shevet Ha-Levi (9:205) unlike Shut Igrot Moshe (Orach Chaim 2:26).

Son who Enters Har Ha-Bayit
Q: I just discovered that my son enters the Temple Mount without asking me.  What should I do?
A: Love him.

People of the Book
Q: Is the expression "People of the Book" about the Jewish People correct?
A: No.  This is an expression used in the Koran.  We are the "People of Hashem".

Minhag of Baal Teshuvah
Q: Which Minhag should a Baal Teshuvah adopt?
A: He should follow his ancestors' Minhagim.  If he desires, however, he can choose a different Minhag, such as his Rabbi's.  Piskei Teshuvot 68:3 note #26.

Q: Why do we need to have Peyot?
A: Holiness of one's face.

Honor during Torah Class
Q: It is permissible to go to the restroom in the middle of a Torah class?
A: No.  One should go before or after.  Prof. Nechama Leibowitz did not allow students to go out in the middle of a class, or come in late.  She said: Would you act this way in a concert?!

Feeding Cats
Q: My science teacher told us that it is not good to feed the many street cats in Israel, because they kill all sorts of pests when they are hungry.  Is this proper even if a cat is hungry at the moment?
A: Yes.  The cats eat mice and snakes.

Pidyon Ha-Ben for Child who did not have a Brit Milah
Q: If parents refused to give their child a Brit Milah because of ideological reasons, should he still have a Pidyon Ha-Ben?
A: Yes.  They are not connected to one another.

Miracle Stories
Q: Why do Sefardic Rabbis tells so many miracles stories about Rabbis and Ashkenazic Rabbis do not?
A: There are Ashkenazic Rabbis who do tell them, and Sefardic Rabbis who do not.  But according to all opinions, this is not the essential matter, but rather one's greatness in Torah learning, in awe of Hashem and with proper character traits.

Detailed Mitzvot
Q: Why are there Mitzvot in the Torah which are not written with the details such as Shabbat and women covering their hair?
A: They are written in detail in the Torah to someone who is accustomed to reading the Torah in the proper way.  Great Rabbis of the previous generation proved this in their commentaries: Revid Ha-Zahav, Mesech Chochmah, Netziv, Ha-Rav Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, Ha-Ketav Ve-Ha-Kabbalah and the Torah Temimah.