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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.

Peyot
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.