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Cellular Responsa From Rav Aviner and Rav Eliyahu: Pollard’s Release and the Terror Wave

Pollard’s Release: Jonathan Pollard was released on Friday, 8 Kislev. What can we do for this?

Rav Aviner: He and his wife asked for two things: (1) to continue to pray for him, (2) to continue to send him letters, because this gives him extra strength. Letters should be sent to the address of the jail which can be found on Pollard’s website, and they’ll send them to his house.

Measuring Temple Mount: In our times, people are mapping and measuring Har Habayit (Temple Mount). Does this permit them to enter certain parts of the Mount?

Rav Aviner: The rabbinic leaders of previous generations, starting from 5625 (1865 CE on the Gregorian calendar), had very good and detailed maps (1 cm to 5 meter, a very close scale), but today there is greater accessibility. Therefore, to say that they couldn’t know where things were, and that the reality on the Temple Mount has changed, is totally false. [Rav Zalman Korn]

Evacuating a Synagogue: Is it okay to use violence against the evacuation of a shul (synagogue) [by the army to destroy it]?

Rav Aviner: Never.

The Style of Rav Kook: Why did Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook zt”l adopt his unique style?

Rav Aviner: His style was the style of the Jewish people.

Sleeve Length: What is the ideal sleeve length of a shirt, and why?

Rav Eliyahu: The main purpose of tzni’ut (modesty) is to avoid mishaps between men and women. In places where people are less strict about tzni’ut, there are often many incidents between men and women. The second purpose, which is also important, is that a woman doesn’t need to build self-esteem from how other see her. Even without them, she is important and special. When one is too reliant on others’ opinions of her, she is on a dangerous path towards destroying her true self-esteem. This is why tzni’ut is so important.

Lashon Hara: If a teacher tells lashon hara (evil speech about others, prohibited by the Torah) to his students, what should the students do?

Rav Eliyahu: They may not believe it.

Terror Wave: What should we be doing in light of this terrible wave of terrorist attacks?

Rav Eliyahu: Becoming stronger in everything connected to the Beit Hamikdash (Temple): (1) learning the value, importance and purpose of God’s House. (2) To try to awaken in ourselves a true desire for its construction. (3) To pray with our entire hearts for its construction, especially in Birkat Hamazon and Birkat Me’en Shalosh. (4) To imagine before praying Shemoneh Esrei that we’re truly standing in the Beit Hamikdash. This is what the Shulchan Aruch writes, “You should think as if you are standing in the Beit Hamikdash” (95:2). This is very important spiritual work, and must be abided by in every prayer. “You should think as if you are standing in the Beit Hamikdash—in Jerusalem, in the place of the Holy of Holies.” (Mishna Berura 94:3). This is exactly what G-d said to King Shlomo: “And my eyes and heart will be there forever” (Kings I 9:3). (5) To try to incorporate more holiness and purity in our personal lives. (6) To do whatever possible to strengthen Jewish unity.

Printed in Olam Katan on November 20, 2015. Edited by Rav Mordechai Zion, reprinted and translated with permission.

Rav Shlomo Chaim Aviner is the French-born head of Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim in the Old City of Jerusalem. Rav Shmuel Eliyahu, son of the famed Rishon Lezion (Israeli Sefardi chief rabbi) Rav Mordechai Eliyahu zt”l, is the chief Sefardi Rabbi of Tzefat. Together they answer about 400 questions every day about Judaism, Halacha and philosophy, as well as the occasional gem of advice, via SMS messages. They publish their best ones every week in the Olam Katan Shabbat newsletter. Shu”t SMS questions can be sent to Rav Aviner at +972 52-3653028.

Translated by Tzvi Silver, JLNJ Israel

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