Monday, November 19, 2007

Tzedaka to a Non-Jew? THE ANSWER

FrumWithQuestions wrote on Sunday, April 08, 2007:

My friend who will one day be a guest blogger on this blog asked me the following question. Do you think that it is a mitzvah to give tzeddaka to a non- Jew? I answered him that each situation is different and it is possible in my opinion that it can be a mitzvah to give a non-Jew money. After i answered him that he emailed me the following piece from Rav HirschThe Horeb: A Philosophy of Jewish Laws and Observances by Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch. In Section five, chapter 88 (page 428 of the Grunfeld tranlated edition) he says as follows:"Everyone in need has a claim on your charity; those poor who are not Jewish, even those who practice idolatry, are cared for in like fashion, as are all parts of one all-embracing mankind. However, to the ger-toshav, -- i.e. to the non-Jew who, not practicing idolatry, has undertaken to fulfil the seven general duties, the law accords a claim on your charity fully equal to that of a Jew."I think my friend was asking me this because he feels that many orthodox Rabbaim today will tell you it is not a Mitzvah to give Tzedaka to a non-Jew and wanted to know why. I cannot defend Rabbaim who will say something like that especially now after my friend showed me a Torah authority who says something else.

FrumWithAnswers Responds:

You seem to answer your own question yourself. The shulchan Aruch outlines the priorities given when giving tzedaka. For example the people of your community have precedence before the people of another community. Those of your family come before others. etc etc. And definitely, giving charity to a Jew comes before giving to a non-Jew.

I spoke with a well respected Rav and he said that giving charity to a non-jew is not Tzedaka, but can be a tremendous Kiddush Hashem which of course can be classified as a mitzvah as well. Also, your mention of the letter from Horeb doesn't really contradict your point. If anything it proves your own point (so I am not sure why you are so closed minded to actually being right and having an answer instead of just questioning). Rav Hirsch in Horeb says that if he is a Ger Toshav he has the same status as a Jew when it comes to charity. So perhaps for the Ger Toshav it is considered the mitzvah of Tzedaka. However, for the majority of non-jews, their status of recieving charity is less than that of a Jew and even a Ger Toshav. I am not sure why you think Rav Hirsch's comment contradicts your own. In fact, I think it supports your view. Stop trying to be frum with the questions, and instead, be frum with an answer!

If you are building a house, are you going to buy cheap materials, or will you try and buy the best stuff? Will you build a house that will not last very long, or will you build a long lasting one? So too with performing a Mitzvah. If you have the opportunity to perform a mitzvah, which it's result is everlasting, and it's reward beyond our comprehension, wouldn't you rather do it in the best way possible? Don't you want to do the mitzvah in a way that will give you the most mileage?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

How many Rabbits does it take to make a black hat? THE ANSWER

FrumWithQuestions wrote on Saturday, June 09, 2007

......With this in mind, I ask is this appropriate for a frum Jew to kill rabbits just so they can have a nice looking hat?
Chassidus teaches the essence in a brocha is taking something that is not holy and raising its kedusha by making a brocha on it. Does someone make a brocha on a hat? If we wear a leather belt or leather shoes, the leather comes from an animal that the meat and the rest of it were used in a holy way. You have meat from a kosher animal, the skin for STAM and other things that make use for you Avodas Hashem and things that brochas can be made on for elevating the kedusha. What kedusha does a rabbit have? You cannot eat the meat from a rabbit since it is not kosher so are you permitted to kill a rabbit for the feet or the fur? Chassidim who wear streimels might have the same issue but i am assuming the fur used on a streimel comes from an animal whose meat has been used for a brocha. If i am wrong someone can comment and correct me since i am not exactly sure what animal they do come from. The same applies to leather watch bands and some belts which are made from pig skin. Is it appropriate for a Frum jew to wear these things. If not, does it fall into the same category as shatnez? These are some things that i was thinking about and would love to hear any answers anyone might have.

FrumWithAnswers responds:

Just because something comes from a non-kosher animal does not mean that it serves no purpose in this world. The Torah gave us guidelines for not eating certain animals because of their non-kosher status. But it does not say anywhere that this extends to wearing the cloting made from a non-kosher animal.

In fact, perhaps this is what we are supposed to do...use even a non-kosher animal for a davar shebekedusha (for a holy purpose). As we know, every animal, every plant, every thing in this world is here for a purpose. Just as with food, when we make the bracha and eat the food, we raise that food to a higher level of kedusha and it fulfils its purpose in this world. That is the job of this world. To use what G-d has given us in a way that helps us serve Him and glorifies His name. So if you use a pen to write words of Torah, you wear a sweater to keep you warm while you are praying, etc etc...all these things are raised to a higher level. Again, no where does it place a restriction on using a non-kosher animal for clothing, so yes, you can wear a hat even though it's made out of rabbit fur. as for the striemels, they are made out of fox, i believe, your blog would be questioning them as well. It is not like shatnex because the Torah says don't wear shatnez, unlike here where the Torah does not mandate not to wear clothing made from a non-kosher animal.

Can you wear a Borsalino Black hat on Shabbos? THE ANSWER HERE

FrumWithQuestions wrote on: Monday, June 11, 2007

Can you wear a Borsalino Black hat on Shabbos? Part 1
Before I go into detail with attempting to aswer this question, I want to direct people to a post by Rabbi Gil Student on his
blog regarding this topic here. Once that is read I want to add and question a few things that were not brought up in his post or any of the comments that I was able to read. First thing that I want to point out is that the Gemara here in Eruvin is one that is never or rarely mentioned regarding hats on shabbos. The Gemara always quoted is the one that is in Meseches Shabbos about wearing a hat. I attended an interesting shiur on Shavous on this issue but the Maagid Shiur used the hat issue for an introduction as to whether or not you can use an umbrella on Shabbos.Getting back to the Gemara in Eruvin, Rashi comments that the hat should be tight fitting so it should not blow off. If the brim is a tefach or larger it is easy for the wind to blow it off of someones head. In one of the popular commentaries for Meseches Eruvin, Perush Chai, the author draws out a decriptive picture of the hats in question and how to wear them properly. In the picture, the brim of the hat is tied down with string around the guys chin as per Rashis explanation. This makes sense to me but apparantly people do not hold by this. In one of the comments on Hirhurim someone mentions the button and elastic string that goes around the black hat. This was originally used to attach to a jacket (hence the slit on the collar of suit jackets) to prevent them from falling off or blowing away. I was told but i have not seen this personally that Rav Shachter Shlita from YU does have a type of string attached to his hat to follow according to what Rashi says explaining the Gemara.I will continue on my next post on this issue regarding what the Shulchan Aruch says with Mishna Berura's explanation and quoting of the Magen Avraham

FrumWithAnswers Replies:

Are you serious? Rav Elyashiv wears a hat on Shabbos. Rav Chaim Kanievsky wears a hat on Shabbos. Rav Moshe Shapiro wears a hat on Shabbos. Rav Shmuel Berenbaum wears a hat on Shabbos. Rav Malkiel Kotler wears a hat on shabbos. and I've seen Rav Shechter and he does not wear a string tied around his face to hold his hat down.

Perhaps the hat that is refered to in the Gemara is a different type of hat than what we have today. And the hats that we wear today stay on the head even with a ruach metzuya, a normal wind, so we don't have to worry about it. Fact of the matter is, you should not even have a question about wearing hats on shabbos because if it was really a questions, you would not see the Briskers wearing them. So if every Rosh Yeshiva is wearing his hat on shabbos, you can be sure they checked the Gemara and the associating Rashi and it is not a problem. So instead of questioning every daas Torah, try believing in them.