Category Archives: Archives 5764

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Tammuz 5764 – Movies: 3 Weeks & Year Round

1 Tammuz 5764

Movies: 3 Weeks & Year Round
Rabbi Aharon Tendler

Question #1: Is it Assur to see movies in theaters during the Omer and the Three Weeks?

Answer #2:
Thanks for your question. Believe it or not- your seemingly simple question is actually quite a “loaded question”, and not one that I can give a simple Halachic response to. You’ve put me in a position where no matter what I answer it will imply that it is OK to go to theatres and watch movies- which is definitely not simple at all. If I say it is Ossur during this time, that will imply that it is permitted during the rest of the year. If I say that it is permitted during Sefirah and the Three Weeks- then this will certainly be saying that it is permitted the rest of the year! What I WILL say is that whatever is permitted during the year, is also permitted during Sefirah and the Three Weeks- except for the musical sections of the musicals. Background music does not present a problem. Additionally, I should add that although Halachically it may be permitted, a person who truly wishes to feel the Aveilus of Sefirah and the Three Weeks would avoid watching movies during this time, as it distracts from the feeling of loss. Now- regarding whether or not it is permitted to watch movies (even at home) or go to theatres, I’m pasting here two other responses that I have given to others on this topic which I hope you will find helpful.

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Question #2:
What is the issue with Frum Jews and and the general custom of not going to movies? For men, is the reason wasting time from learning Ttorah or in general not being involved in something that may be a bad influence?

Answer:
Thank you very much for your question. Obviously, there is no prohibition on all movies per se. There are many documentaries that have been produced that are very worthwhile. I assume that your question is regarding most Hollywood produced entertainment type movies. Both of the reasons that you mention are correct. For a Ben Torah who could spend his time learning, not to do so and spend that time watching movies is most definitely wasting time from learning Torah, which is a very egregious sin. However, even for someone who would not spend that time learning Torah and might go to a baseball game instead (just as an example) it is forbidden because of the fact that generally speaking these movies (unless rated G) have scenes in them that involve things that are detrimental to a person’s spirituality and prevent him from properly serving Hashem. Additionally, it is forbidden for a man to gaze at a woman that is immodestly dressed, or even to put himself in a position that he may see such a sight. Therefore, it is most definitely not recommended by Halacha that a man watch the typical Hollywood movie for entertainment.

I would like to add that the image of life that is generally portrayed on the screen is generally false, and creates the impression that these actors and stars are happy, when they really lead very depraved and unhappy lives. They also portray issues such as relationships between males and females in an unrealistic and false manner. This creates a certain image in the minds of men (and women, but I think that this affects men more than women) as to how their spouses should look, act, etc., and creates Sholom Bayis problems. The allowing of these secular, false, values into our homes is a major contributing factor to the breakdown of the Jewish family that we are unfortunately witnessing today. This applies not only to movies, but also to TV, novels, and magazines. The Torah teaches us (Shemos 23:7) “Midvar Sheker Tirchak!” – we must distance ourselves from anything false. This means not only not to speak falsehoods, but to also distance ourselves from seeing and hearing things that are false, and such movies are most definitely included in this. I hope that this has been helpful.

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Question #3:
I have been told (with many sources in gemora,etc.) that it is assur to go to batei tiatron because of moshav leitzim or because of avodah zara.I was also told that Rav Moshe explicitly prohibits stadiums and theaters.
I understand all of this but i wonder if this means baseball stadiums in our days or is it just movie theaters? Is it broadway theaters as well? How far does this go???In all of the above, Jews are getting together with Gentiles in a place designated for entertainment so it doesn’t seem like there should be a difference???Is there anything the Rav can tell me about this? Thank you very much.

Answer:
Thank you for your excellent question. Assuming that you refer to theatres and stadiums where there is no Pritzus (we’ve just excluded all theatres and football games- and many baseball games), there is a separate Halacha that we aren’t permitted to have fun and be entertained in a manner in which non-Jews entertain themselves- Zecher L’Churban. Please see the Kitzur Shulchan Oruch, 127:4. This includes circuses, Broadway theatres (which anyway are Ossur because of Pritzus), etc. However, although this is something you should personally accept upon yourself if you are able, you should only publicize to people who you think are able to abide by this, based on the principle of “Mutav Sheyihu Shoggegin V’Al Yeyu Meizidin”- it’s better that they should transgress this Issur without being aware of it then transgress it when they are aware of it.

Take care,
Rabbi Aaron Tendler

Archives

Sivan 5764 – Showering On Yom Tov

1 Sivan 5764
Showering on Yomtov

For a bio on Rabbi Aaron Tendler see our Who’s Who

L’chvod HaRav,

If I’m feeling uncomfortable, is there any way that I may take a shower on Yom Tov?

Thanks,
Name & Seminary Withheld

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Hi, and thanks for your question. There are actually two possible ways that it would be permitted to shower on Yom Tov, if a person is very uncomfortable. A cold shower would be permitted. Cold doesn’t necessarily mean freezing, anything less than body temperature is considered cold (regarding this Halacha specifically). The other possibility would be to take a hot shower, but not wash your entire body at once, i.e. to wash arms, legs, head, separately. This is permitted just as you would be permitted to wash your face in the sink with hot water. We may actually bathe little children who need to be bathed, in warm water, just as during the week. However, whenever showering or bathing is permitted, this is only using liquid soap, not a bar of soap. Some people are stringent to dilute the liquid soap somewhat before using it on Shabbos or Yom Tov (including dish washing soap). This may be done on Yom Tov if you forgot to do it before. The soap should be poured into a cup already containing water, so no lather builds up. However, if this is not your custom, you may use it as you would during the week. Also, one should not towel dry vigorously on Yom Tov, rather you should gently pat yourself dry with a towel, or just “air dry”. Regarding hair, it may be washed in a _very_ gentle manner, with care being taken not to pull out any hairs. If you know that your hair easily falls out, it should not be washed.

I hope that this has been helpful. If you’d like sources for the above, please see the Shemiras Shabbath K’Hilchasa by Rabbi Neuwirth Shlit”a, which is also available in English translation. I don’t have it in front of me, but I believe that he discusses bathing on Yom Tov in Chapter 14.

Take care,
Rabbi Aaron Tendler

Archives

Iyar 5764 – Sefirah & Acapella

1 Iyar 5764

Sefirah & Acapella

L’chvod HaRav,

What is the halacha/hashkafa concerning listening to non-instrumental music tapes during sefira, created specifically for this purpose? (In other words, a tape with a professional group singing, no instruments.)
Thank you for your time.
Name & seminary withheld

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Dear Name withheld,

Thank you for your question. The custom seems to be to be lenient regarding this. The rationale is because the whole Gezeirah prohibitting music during the three weeks and Sefirah was only on live instrumental music, not on singing. Although we have accepted that even recorded instrumental music is Ossur, we don’t find that singing alone is Ossur, and therefore we can’t say it is forbidden to listen to a tape of singing only. If we would do so, we would have to say it is Ossur to listen to people singing live – since Halachically a recording is better than live – and this is clearly not the case.

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L’chvod HaRav:

What is the halacha regarding taking piano lessons and practicing during Sefira and the Three Weeks? Does it make a difference that my piano teacher is frum?

Thank you!
Name & seminary withheld

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Dear Name withheld,

Thank you for your question. The prohibition of listening to music during Sefira and the three weeks is only when it is done purely for pleasure. If it is done for practice, or to entertain children on a long trip, or for Parnassah, it is permitted.

Take care,
Rabbi Aaron Tendler

Archives

Nissan 5764 – Jewish Etiquette – Who Comes to Whom?


1 Nissan 5764

Jewish Etiquette…
Who Comes to Whom?


Lichvod Rabbi Tendler,

Should a girl have to travel to meet a guy for a shidduch date if the boy wants to be makpid on his seder? Doesn’t the boy have just as much responsibility to try to make a shidduch go through?

Thank you in advance,

Name & Seminary Withheld.

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Dear Name Withheld,

The Gemara in Kiddushin 2b states very clearly that it is normal and proper for the boy to go after the girl when it comes to Shidduchim, and it isn’t normal for the girl to go after the boy. The Gemara compares this to someone who has lost something- the loser goes looking for the lost item. So, too, the man must go seeking his “lost rib”. Obviously, if the girl is coming to town anyway there is nothing wrong with going out- but we see clearly that the normal attitude toward Shidduchim according to the Torah is that it is the boy who has to make the effort.

If a boy feels that he is ready to get married, and a Shidduch is mentioned to him that seems appropriate, he should act on it as soon as possible, even if this means having to give up time from his learning. However, if two girls are being suggested, one local to where he is learning and the other out-of-town, and neither one seems to be more appropriate than the other, it is reasonable that he go out with the one that is local so that he should not have to give up time from his Seder.

The above also extends to financial support. It is clear from Chaza”l (and the Kesubah) that a man should not expect that his wife support him, but he has to accept the responsibilty to support her. Of course, if she wants to help him out, that’s great. However, he shouldn’t think it’s coming to him- he has to realize that he’s the one who bears the responsibility for putting bread on the table.

Rabbi Aaron Tendler

Archives

Adar 5764 – Tye-dyed T-shirts & Beged Ish

1 Adar 5764

Tye-dyed T-Shirts & Beged Ish

L’chvod HaRav,

Hi. My school had a tie-dying event and we tie-dyed boys t-shirts. I would like to wear mine, but I was curious if it is a problem of beged ish?

Thank you ,
Name and Seminary Withheld

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Thank for your interesting question. It is clear from the Shulchan Oruch, (Yorah De’ah 182) and the commentaries there that the prohibition for a woman to wear a man’s clothing (and vice versa) is only under the following conditions:

1. If the reason why you are doing so is to pose as a man, it is forbidden under all circumstances- even if you are doing so on Purim.

2. Even if you are not trying to pose as a man, but you are wearing something which, in your society, only men wear, it is forbidden if you are wearing it as an ornament, i.e. because you think you look good in it. If you are wearing it because you are cold, for comfort, or for some other reason, it is permitted.

Therefore it is permitted for a girl to wear a tie-dyed boys undershirt. In our society, girls wear tee-shirts as well as boys, and it can’t be considered something which is only worn by men, even if it was actually made for men. Likewise, if you are walking with your husband/Chosson and you are cold, you are permitted to wear his jacket (if he offers, which he hopefully will :-), no,chivalry is not dead yet!!) even though suit jackets of this type are only worn by men. You are wearing it because you are cold, and not to make a fashion statement. Similarly, a girl is permitted to wear boys pajamas and sweat pants, if she is doing this because they are more comfortable for her.

Take care,
Rabbi Aaron Tendler