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Dena

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PostSubject: Secular Books on Shabbat?   Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:00 pm

I don't tend to read novels but I have seen this topic come up a few times lately. Is it proper to read novels or secular books on Shabbat? Torah.org's Weekly Halacha says...

Biographies of Rabbinic leaders or Orthodox community leaders, Jewish story books that serve to strengthen one's yira'as shamayim, emunas chachamim or middos tovos are permitted, including works of fiction (novels and mysteries) which are authored by G-d fearing Jews and are written for these purposes.

So this could include novels.

Books [or encyclopedias] on science, math, medicine, geography, astronomy and architecture are permitted, except if one is reading them for the sake of his business or profession, or only because he needs to study for a test.


I personally do like to read science books and I will read them on Shabbat.


Cookbooks should be avoided.

This isn't surprising and makes sense.


Secular books which do not contain halachically objectionable material, but were not written by G-d fearing Jews for the purpose of strengthening one's yira'as shamayim, emunas chachamim or middos tovos, should not be read on Shabbos.

So their answer is that regular secular books or novels should not be read on Shabbat.

We do not, however, object to women, children or those who are not engaged in the study of Torah reading books of this nature on Shabbos.


Except for women? I find this odd.


Books about personal or public tragedies, or holocaust stories that sadden a person and detract from his oneg Shabbos - may not be read on Shabbos.

For a while I kept reading books that upset me or made me cry on Shabbat. Eventually I figured that wasn't the best idea.

Any written work that may have a bearing on the reader's finances is forbidden to be read on Shabbos.

Like the cookbook, this makes sense.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Secular Books on Shabbat?   Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:06 pm

This is obviously one perspective and there are others, I am sure. I find the part about women and novels to be a little..sexist? I'm not sure if that is the right word. It's based on the ruling of Harav N. Karelitz (quoted in Ayil Meshulash on Shitrei Hedyotos, pg. 209, and in Menuchah Shleimah, 2. I don't know where to find those.

What do you read or avoid reading on Shabbat? How do you feel about women being able to read "frivolous" materials?
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: Secular Books on Shabbat?   Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:47 pm

Dena,

That website is expressing rather extreme positions which I wouldn't worry about unless you also want to follow other aspects of that hashkafa such as wearing only floor-length skirts and blouses that cover your elbows, sitting in the back of the shul behind a mechitza, not shaking hands with men, buying only "halav Yisrael" dairy products,... And it's not that I don't think it's OK for others to have an ultra-observant lifestyle, but it's certainly not in keeping with your Jewish life. The examples you quote are completely sexist, but are also completely consistent with a whole way of life that is very rigid with respect to gender roles and expectations. Some of the people who espouse those views are also suspicious of secular knowledge in general.

My Orthodox friends are all "Modern Orthodox" and they read all kinds of things, including novels and fantasy and science fiction, on Shabbat. I personally read pretty much anything on Shabbat, even perusing cookbooks at times.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Secular Books on Shabbat?   Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:32 am

Debbie B. wrote:
Dena,

That website is expressing rather extreme positions which I wouldn't worry about unless you also want to follow other aspects of that hashkafa such as wearing only floor-length skirts and blouses that cover your elbows, sitting in the back of the shul behind a mechitza, not shaking hands with men, buying only "halav Yisrael" dairy products,... And it's not that I don't think it's OK for others to have an ultra-observant lifestyle, but it's certainly not in keeping with your Jewish life. The examples you quote are completely sexist, but are also completely consistent with a whole way of life that is very rigid with respect to gender roles and expectations. Some of the people who espouse those views are also suspicious of secular knowledge in general.

My Orthodox friends are all "Modern Orthodox" and they read all kinds of things, including novels and fantasy and science fiction, on Shabbat. I personally read pretty much anything on Shabbat, even perusing cookbooks at times.

Yes, I would also say it's rather extreme. Not all of it, just some of it. Unfortunately for my husband I don't spend much time reading cookbooks even when it's not Shabbat.
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rakhel



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PostSubject: Re: Secular Books on Shabbat?   Sat Sep 10, 2011 9:12 pm

It reminded me of that scene in Yentl(I saw it for the first time, ever). Where Yentl is walking through the market and spots the book seller barking "Torahs, Religious Books for men! Picture books for women and children!"
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maculated

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PostSubject: Re: Secular Books on Shabbat?   Mon Sep 19, 2011 11:17 pm

Yeah . . . sometimes some of these insuslar poskins remind me about the makers. Example I always think of: the common conception that pets are mukzeh on Shabbat. But in MY house, pets are part of the family. They bring love and spiritual elevation and not touching them makes no sense in my context. That's how you know people who ruled how they did had no pet exposure.
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Mychal

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PostSubject: Re: Secular Books on Shabbat?   Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:30 pm

Men are required to study Torah and religious books, so it's not surprsing that the Orthodox position (or is this actually ultra-Orthodox?) is that men should only read religious works on Shabbas. Because women are not required to study Torah, then they can read almost anything they want--but that does not mean that they can't also study Torah and religious books.

Christian commentators in the middle ages spoke with surprise when they noted that almost all Jews could read, and that even daughters were taught to read and given at least some instruction in Jewish religious scriptures. So certainly there is no prohibition against women studying, just no requirement.
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usuario



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PostSubject: Re: Secular Books on Shabbat?   Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:08 pm

It's a stereotype that frummies are supposed to be afraid of dogs. I wonder why.
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: Secular Books on Shabbat?   Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:33 am

usuario wrote:
It's a stereotype that frummies are supposed to be afraid of dogs. I wonder why.
I have a friends who are quite proudly call themselves "frum", but I think they would feel as I do that your use of the term "frummies" is derogatory. If you mean by that "strictly observant" it would be more respectful and more descriptive to say so in more neutral terminology.

Here is some interesting information on Hassidim and dogs
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