Short & Sweet - Text Message Q&A #400


Q: I purchased a $300 item and the overseas company notified me that the cost recorded was less than $100 (apparently to expedite delivery and avoid tax). How can I reimburse the parties involved?

A: Donate money to the Israel Defense Forces.


Q: Is Sefer Ha-Razim (a book containing cryptic mystical content) considered authentic Jewish literature?

A: No. It's nonsense and heresy.

Q: Is every tea essence Kosher, for example 'Combochia'?

A: If it's pure tea essence without additional ingredients it's Kosher.


Q: The Rambam states that the middle path in life is preferable. This being the case, are stringencies in lifestyle recommended?

A: Stringencies are recommended for very few individuals as we learn in the Guide for the Perplexed (Moreh Nevuchim, written by the Rambam). Everyone may carefully and gradually add stringencies to his lifestyle (see the first chapter of Hilchot Deot).

Netilat Yadayim Vessel

Q: Is Netilat Yadayim permitted with a vessel manufactured from non-Kosher materials?

A: Yes, but preferably not.


Different interpretations of Jewish Law

Q: How can I distinguish between authentic differences of opinion within Jewish Law and what is extraneous to Judaism?

A: Check the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Messilat Yesharim or any book of Halacha.

Eating Chumus

Q: Is dipping pita, crackers etc. into a plate of Chumus acceptable?

A: No. It's respectable to use cutlery.


Beit Knesset

Q: Is it permissible to pray in a Shul where the Mechitza not in accordance with Jewish Law?

A: No. The Shul is an official place of prayer, supplication and service of the Creator.

Q: When a grandson has been delegated the responsibility of reciting Kaddish (according to the Rama), should he, in addition to saying it during the first eleven months, also recite Kaddish on the Yahrtzeit?

A: Out of reverence he should recite Kaddish on the Yahrtzeit as well (based on Shulchan Aruch Yoreh De'ah and Sefer Mateh Ephraim)

Parents and Children

Q: What is the appropriate reaction of a parent whose devout and learned son apparently abandoned his religious lifestyle? In such a case would one say that the child's decision is Hashem's will?

A: Hashem wants us to perform the Mitzvot. Beseech Hashem with all your might and sincerely pray that your son will repent.