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HALACHA-----kishuf and harry potter

questioning Posted - 27 February 2002 19:00

One of my friends asked a Rav about watching the Harry Potter movie and he said it's assur to watch because of kishuf/witchcraft...what exactly does that mean?

And does it mean that all books and movies that talk about witches and magic are assur too?

ponder2 Posted - 12 March 2002 14:39

Thanks yideleh! In Aish Hatorah's thing that you said I found s/t that supports what I said.(though I heard it from Ohr Sameach's ask the rabbi)

"As far as your question about witchcraft, witchcraft is explicitly forbidden in the Torah (Exodus 22:17). Harry Potter depicts witchcraft, but is not witchcraft itself. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein writes that if the child reading the story is aware that these are fairy tales and not reality, then the stories may be read for its literary value. ("Igrot Moshe" Y.D. 4:13)"

MODERATOR Posted - 12 March 2002 14:49

The question here is not whether Harry Potter is "kishuf". We all know it isn't. Rather, it is a question of "semiyas einayim" - watching an act that looks like magic, even if you know it is not real.

I would say watching Harry Potter is permitted, but I disagree with the psak of the Ohr Someach rabbi.

While it's true that Rav Moshe permits, the vast majority of Poskim, most well known among them, the Chachmas Adam, prohibit. I don’t see a justification for ruling like a small minority against a majority. Especially since this question is not a new one, and Klall Yisroel has been accustomed not to be lenient in this for generations before Rav Moshe.

But the prohibition here is watching an act of "smiyas einayim". The prohibition does not include seeing a picture of someone performing such an act. A movie is just a picture (or many pictures). It is not live, but rather an electronic reproduction. That is not what is Assur.

wannabe Posted - 24 October 2006 16:24

What on earth moderator?????

I thought that acc'd to you movies are completely assur, now we are allowed to watch HARRY POTTER of all things???!!!!


MODERATOR Posted - 24 October 2006 16:39

One question was going to the theater; the other was watching Harry Potter- because of kishuf etc.

In a theater, you are right - they’re all assur, but because of Moshav Letzim. Outside the theater, like in your living room in a DVD, it is permitted.

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