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Ask the Rabbi #115

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17 August 1996; Issue #115

  • Grandma Drama
  • Lien on His Car
  • Yiddle Riddle
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  • Grandma Drama

    <> wrote:

    I am an actress. A wonderful part in a play has become available to me. It is a truthful play dealing with prejudice and real emotions...with much humor and pathos. It is a play that touches the heart.

    However for the first time in my long acting experience, I am confronted with a moral decision. The play and the lines I will have to say are not ones that I would be proud for my children or my grandchildren to hear (even though they will not see this play). My question is, is it right for me to consider taking this part?

    Dear Bubbe,

    Guess what? All of us are confronted with your exact decision! This world is a 'great play' with fantastic scenery and ingenious props. We all have a wonderful part in it.

    But it is an improvisational theater; the lines of the play are ad-lib. I can only tell you how I try to make up the lines for my part. I don't first look at my children to see how they will react to my performance. First, I look at the 'Producer' - the one responsible for giving me the part in the first place.

    One should always use 'clean' language, and never utter an offensive or coarse word. Even words such as 'p - i - g' should be avoided when possible.

    Your embarrassment in the face of your children is telling. When Joseph's brothers plotted to kill him, Judah said, "What good is it if we kill our brother, and cover his blood?" I heard from Rabbi Yisroel Simcha Shorr, shlita, an explanation of the words "and cover his blood." Judah told his brothers: "However justified we may feel in killing Joseph, the fact that we have to 'cover it up' indicates that, underneath it all, we know it's wrong."

    Now, I have a question for you. Will the play be performed Friday night, or Saturday night before dark? No? Good.

    May you be blessed with great 'nachas' - pleasure - from your children and your children's children. May each one - following the example set by their Bubbe - become a shining 'star.'


    • Bereshit 37:26
    • Tractate Pesachim 3a

    Lien on His Car

    Alan Shear wrote:

    This question was asked to me at a halacha shiur I gave:

    If one purchases a car, which will belong to him in a few years time (since actually the bank owns it until the owner can pay back fully for it) but does not currently belong to him, may he make a Shehecheyanu blessing on it - or should he wait until the car is fully paid for, and actually belongs to him, and then say the blessing?

    Dear Alan Shear,

    I asked this question to Rabbi Sholom Yoseph Elyashiv, shlita. He rules that provided one is capable of making the monthly payments, he should say shehecheyanu at the time of purchase.

    Since the shehecheyanu blessing depends on 'simchat halev' - happiness of the heart - one should say it as soon as possible, while he still feels the 'simcha'.

    Speaking of the bank owning something - or having a 'lien' on it:

    A king once wanted his vassals to pay higher taxes.
    "But what if they don't pay?" asked the king's advisor.
    "We'll slap a lien on their property," said the king.
    "What shall we call this 'lein' imposed upon the vassals?" he asked.
    "Please," said the king. "Don't try to force me into making a bad pun."
    • Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 223:4

    Yiddle Riddle

    In what non-life-threatening situation is there a positive mitzvah to eat the meat of a neveilah - i.e., something that died without shechita (kosher slaughter)?

    Riddle submitted by Reuven Miller

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