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Punims Posted - 07 August 2000 1:19

My parents don’t let me go to movie theaters. I’m allowed to watch movies, just not go to a theater.

In the school I went to, all my friends were allowed to go to one, so I started going. Have you ever heard of ppl not allowed to go?

And then my parents said that no "frum" families go. I see a lot of really religious families that are allowed to go, I don’t understand.

akiv44 Posted - 10 August 2000 3:57

I don't think we should say that ALL movies are treif. Wouldn't it depend on the type of movie?

I don't think anyone would say that "saving private ryan" isn't fir for Jews to watch

MODERATOR Posted - 10 August 2000 4:33

She said "mostly".

And it should be noted that the prohibition of theaters exists even if the material is clean.

artzanu Posted - 10 August 2000 21:47

Prohibition of theaters years ago. well the theaters then are not the same thing as a movie theatre today!

A Broadway theater would be closer to what a theater was in those days but even that is different. Im not sure exactly but the theaters when theaters were banned were like Hellenistic places or Greek or something crazy like that.

MODERATOR Posted - 10 August 2000 21:56

Since the reason theaters are prohibited is because of Moshav Letzim, which means a purposeless gathering of people and Bitul Torah, it would not make a difference if the show was live or video. Based on the Halachah, theaters are therefore prohibited, then and now.

akiv44 Posted - 11 August 2000 12:50

Movies are bitul torah? You could say the same for board games.

What do you want us to do learn torah every free minute we have? That’s just not happening. It's better to se a clean movie then to do other bad stuff.

And it appears to me from reading these board, that some of these bais yakov girls would be better off watching a clean movie. Then doing some of the stuff their doing on the street. No offense to anyone here.

- 11 August 2000 15:26

Movies (theaters) are Moshav Letzim, which is an "advanced" form of Bitul Torah, with different Halachos. Board games would be permitted for recreational purposes, each individual according to his needs, in accordance with the laws of Talmud Torah.

Moshav letzim, a collective, group activity, goes beyond the regular restriction of Talmud Torah and becomes a new prohibition which is not permitted even where plain recreational activities would be.

tag Posted - 18 August 2000 14:47

I love to watch t.v. and movies, it totally distresses me. I KNOW that my actions are not influenced by what I watch bec. whatever I see, I think is pretty disgusting. but I like humor, comedy... and I think it should be okay to watch as long as it won't affect my actions.

The only thing that I’m not happy about is that it affects my mind and it sometimes wastes my time- like I WISH I could be doing something better but I can’t pull myself away. I’m having too much fun.
how can I stop that yetzer hara?

Posted - 21 August 2000 2:05

I agree that definitely watching a lot of movies and stuff is a waste of time and you could be doing other better things like chessed and stuff, but still- doesn't everyone need a break once in a while- like when a friend comes over and we go see a clean movie- I mean- it's just to entertain you, you don't expect us to learn and do chessed the entire time, yeah that would be amazing, but not very realistic.

MODERATOR Posted - 21 August 2000 15:17


That you think "it should" be OK to go to movies as long as "it doesn't affect you", does not change the Halachah that says you cannot. It has nothing to do with whether the movie "affects you". It is prohibited under moshav letzim, which is a different law.

As far as the Yetzer Horah of wasting time goes, television can be close to addicting. To break away, or reduce your "intake", you might want to find something to replace the TV with. Perhaps spending more time with your friends (it's summer now), or with the computer (at something not destructive, of course), or listening to music. I know one kid who I told this to, and he spent his TV time downloading music from Napster and burning the songs onto CD's. It was like a new hobby of his, and it worked.

And please, do not assume that the TV does not affect you. The effect of TV is very subconscious. Proof: Advertisers spend sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars for a 30 second commercial, which, when you watch it, goes in one ear and out the other, and you would never think that it left in your brain a “message” to buy the product. But it did. Usually, just with a picture, a jingle perhaps, and 30 seconds of your time. And even when you go out and decide to buy the product, you may not realize that it is because of the commercial.

So, too, watching hours and hours of TV affects your mind in ways that you cannot perceive at the time, and often, cannot perceive ever. But it affects you nonetheless. This is one area where even the secular world is smart enough to understand. All studies on TV, all without exception, bear this out.

Sara Yael,

The only prohibition is theaters, not watching a movie in the privacy of your own home.

szn Posted - 22 August 2000 16:55

Kvod hamoderator, I did not know that there is now a hetter to use napster to take music unpaid for. doesn’t gneiva hold by non Jews as well?

MODERATOR Posted - 22 August 2000 19:18

If you are not going to buy the music anyway, then what gezelah is there? You can't violate gezelah unless you take something from someone or damage him in some way. Nobody has been damaged by you listening to a song that you would never have spent money on in the first place.

mevaseret Posted - 23 August 2000 14:25

moderator- the question about moshav leitzim and women

MODERATOR Posted - 28 August 2000 14:00

We cannot exempt women from the prohibition of moshav letzim even though they are not obligated to learn Torah. There are two ideas to the statement in the posuk:

(1) You may not be involved in organized unproductive activity (moshav letzim),

(2) but rather it would be better for you if you would be learning Torah, which is the most productive activity possible.

Even though, for women, Torah is not necessarily the most productive activity, that is only because they have other Mitzvos to do that are more obligatory for them than Torah.

The point of the prohibition is not to learn torah, but rather to involve yourself in productive activity and not moshav letzim. The posuk gave what is generally the most productive activity possible, i.e. Torah learning. If someone is not obligated to learn, they still have what is to them productive activity (mitzvos) and therefore have no reason to exempt themselves from "unproductive activity" (moshav letzim).

tess Posted - 28 August 2000 21:08

sorry but I really do not understand why it is better to spend you’re time listening to non Jewish music than it is to watch TV?

Posted - 29 August 2000 13:07

tess it's really not much better to tell you the truth I mean they both do the same thing to a person the music clogs up the soul through it's sound and it's bitul zman and the TV clogs up with images and it's bitul zman. So one's not much better than the other. I'd say your best bet is to stick with the nice Jewish music.

MODERATOR Posted - 29 August 2000 13:41

They're both bad but TV is worse. The reason is because it is visual besides audio and therefore makes a much greater impression than just the divrei nevalah of CD's.

Also, TV tells stories besides showing filth that affects your perception of reality. People's behaviors and perceptions are very affected by what they see on TV.

The Sefer HaIkarim writes that when Hashem told Moshe Rabbeinu that the Jews were worshipping the egel, he was surely upset, but when he actually SAW it - when he had the visual impression as well - only then was he so upset that he actually smashed the luchos.

Rav Moshe Feinstein (Darash Moshe Yisro) also says this (even though in Igros Moshe it would seem otherwise, but that's not for now).

Chazal say, "Aino domeh shemiyah l'r'iyah" - hearing cannot be compared to seeing.

Posted - 03 September 2000 18:28

Moderator - um, backing up a bit, where exactly does moshav letzim apply? (concerts, amusement parks, sporting events, etc)

MODERATOR Posted - 03 September 2000 21:03

Amusement parks are not Moshav Letzim - it must be a group of people involved with each other, such as a theater.

As far as sporting events go, that's the conversation I had with Rav Schwab that I wrote about in a different post. Sporting events should also be prohibited under "theaters", but that is something that most children - and perhaps even adults, but especially children - will have a very difficult time accepting. So his recommendation was that we should not force our children not to go to sporting events, we should rather focus on educating them, building up their madreigah so that they will be willing on their own not to be involved in these events.

I guess it's kind of similar to loshon horah that is so widespread, we have to build ourselves up to where we can refrain from it. Not everyone can handle everything cold turkey.

IDoCare Posted - 04 September 2000 6:12

By the way I know many choshuv rabbunim that go to sports events. you seem to have a very "interesting" definition of "moshav Laitzim" so its one thing if kids are not told to go, but then how do you explain Rav Dovid Feinstein Shlita going to a ball game? I don’t think this is loshon horo, its showing torah. -

Why don’t we go to the source of Moshav Letzim, Dovid hamelech in Kapital Aleph (1) says "Asrey Haish asher lo halach biatzas rishuim, Ubiderech Chataim Lo Amud, Ubimoshav Latzim Lo Yushuv. According to Artscroll, Moshav Letzim is a "session of scorners" so the posuk means that someone who doesn’t walk in the path of the wicked or sinful or with a session of scorners is praiseworthy.

And the most praiseworthy is that your desire should be in the torah of hashem.

So first of all it seems not being moshav letzim is praiseworthy but its not assur, of course maybe later on I don’t know if the Rambam or someone made it assur.

So the main question is why would a baseball game even be considered moshav letzim (a meeting of scorners)?

Seems to me we are living in such mixed up times where even halacha is so confused and mixed up.

MODERATOR Posted - 04 September 2000 6:45


We don't use Artscroll translations alone as a source of Halachah L’maaseh. The Gemora in Avodah Zarah (18b) prohibits theaters because of Moshav Letzim. The Shulchan Aruch records that as Halachah in OH 307:16. SO the definition is not mine, the Torah itself says it.

As to why sitting in a theater is included in moshav letzim, you need to look at the rest of the posuk:

"Fortunate are those who do not sit in a Moshav letzim, but rather desire G-d's Torah."

The posuk is saying that the fortunate ones - the ones that we have to be - are those who, instead of sitting in Moshav Letzim, learn Torah. There is no in between in this posuk. It is either Moshav Letzim, or learning Torah.

Thus, the Mishna in Avos (ch. 5) declares: "If two people are sitting together and they do not speak Torah, they constitute a Moshav Letzim."

The reason why simple wasting of time would be described as "Moshav Letzim," which means, as you put it "session of scorners" is discussed in the Meforshim. Basically, all explanations go in one direction. The Chosid Yaavetz explains it as follows:

If I showed you a pile of gold coins and gave you one hour to collect as much as you can - whatever you gather you can keep - you surely would not waste your time.

If you do waste even part of your time, it surely says something about how little you value the coins. In fact, it's kind of like slapping the coins in the face.

So too we have one lifetime to learn Torah. If we waste our time, it shows how little we value Torah. Someone who displays such blatant disregard for the value of Torah is a "scorner".

As far as Rav Dovid Feinstein, I am not aware of his attending ballgames. If he does - which I am not saying is the case - I cannot speak for him; you should pose the question to him himself. His number is listed. Let me know what he says.

But really, it's hard to believe that Rav Dovid attends baseball games seeing that his father in Igros Moshe YD IV:11 states matter-of-factly that attending sporting events is prohibited as Moshav Letzim.

IDoCare Posted - 04 September 2000 19:19

There may be an either or between someone who desires to sit in the path of the wicked and someone who desires to devote his life to toras david hamelech says the toras hashem then becomes his torah "Ubitoraso"

But does this mean that we must be always as you say collecting the gold? - or specifically the gold coins stamped "learning" so first of all not being moshav letzim and following the torah of hashem would of course include doing other things such as kibud av and gemilas chasadim and other mitzvos.

But besides that (with the exception of the gemoras prohibition of theaters I assume the ancient ones where people would run around naked and do avoda zora) what about just being able to relax sometimes and refresh yourself?

Why on earth is relaxing, whether by yourself or at a baseball game against moshav letzim? You go to a baseball game to relax and refresh yourself so you can learn more or do more good for klal yisrael, you are not partaking in any gathering of sinners or wicked as participating in an ancient theater where people participating there would actually be participating in avoda zara would be, or maybe even a movie theater today if it is showing a movie that is avoda zara..etc

Yes if two people sit together an do not include talk about torah its moshav letzim, but it does not mean that every thing they talk about throughout their entire discussion would be moshav letzim! Or else we’d all be huge sinners...

The chasid yaavets is right if someone gave me an hour to collect coins we would not waste any time, but we are talking about life, people need to learn, they need to collect the "coins" for learning, and for doing all kinds of mitzvas.

But we are not talking about an hour we are talking about life (ad mea viesrim we hope) and people could not possibly stand by picking up coins all day and night you need to eat, you need sleep, you need to make a parnassa. and yes you also need relaxation!

If a baseball game will help you to refresh yourself so that you can get more mitzva coins then surely its not moshav letzim!

David Hamelech Says that when you learn torah you will be firmly rooted like a tree that’s firmly rooted alongside brooks of water, that yields its fruits in due seasons....When we learn Torah and make Toras Hashem into our own personal guidebook "owners manual to life" we are making it into "Our Torah" and we will be blessed with success and proper knowledge how to fulfill the ways of hashem in its proper time when we are ready.

And if we continue using the torah as a guidebook we will not wither we will grow stronger in Hashem’s ways as we have adopted the torah for ourselves. so we need to follow just that adopt the torah, learn torah so we will know the guidebook so we will know what is right and what is the wrong way to live life and so that we will have success and not wither in this world (and olam haba) but no where in their is any reason why we cant use a chance to relax and refresh ourselves from the service of hashem by going to a ball game.

If its stam wasting time, Then its moshav letzim, but if its using time wisely then it is following toras hashem and not moshav letzim.

about Rav david I don’t know if he still goes or not (he may now be on a madrega where he does not need to go) I know that he did from a talmid chacham who used to go with him. I don’t think he owes us any explanations why he did it. he didn't do anything wrong.

MODERATOR Posted - 04 September 2000 19:54

Gemilas Chasadim and other Mitzvos are appropriate when the Halachah allows it, as per the dinim of "ei efsher laasos al yidei acheirim", but that's not the point.

In order to qualify as moshav letzim you have to do something that is bittul Torah en masse. Mitzvos do not apply.

As far as relaxing is concerned, that is permitted, as is stated in all the poskim. But not all forms of relaxation are permitted. Theaters are not.

And even among the ones that are, it is only in order to refresh yourself for Avodas Hashem. Consider that if you had to collect those gold coins, you may need to relax somewhere down the line. But you surely would not spend any more time than necessary at it.

Your assumption about the nakedness and Avodah Zarah in ancient theaters incorrect. Like today, some were and some weren't. The Halachah does not distinguish between the two.

You asked how if the Shulchan Aruch apparently prohibits it, can Rav Dovid go to ballgames. I said if you want an answer to that question, you have to ask him. I cannot speak for someone else, especially if I do not know the story.

MODERATOR Posted - 04 September 2000 19:54

Gemilas Chasadim and other Mitzvos are appropriate when the Halachah allows it, as per the dinim of "ei efsher laasos al yidei acheirim", but that's not the point.

In order to qualify as moshav letzim you have to do something that is bittul Torah en masse. Mitzvos do not apply.

As far as relaxing is concerned, that is of course permitted, as is stated in all the poskim. But not all forms of relaxation are permitted. Theaters are not.

Your assumption about the nakedness and Avodah Zarah in ancient theaters incorrect. Like today, some were and some weren't. The Halachah does not distinguish between the two.

I did not say anyone owes you an explanation. But you asked for a reconciliation of R. Feinstein's actions with what the Halachah seems to say. If you want one, you will have to ask him. I cannot speak for him.

curiousg Posted - 05 September 2000 12:19

So how is secular literature (from the summer halachos section) considered "bitul torah en masse"/"moshav letzim" as you are explaining it here? it seems like its on an individual level. Or is it part of the "al tifnu"?

Also, is this something for which one would get Malkos for?

Me Posted - 07 September 2000 14:45

One of my principals that I once had was very into base ball games and stuff like that.

He happens to be known around as very choshuv and he said that he's not gonna assur anyone from going to the games if they don't do anything wrong b/c he personally gets very into the games.

The thing is he is very much the type to get done what needs to be done for the day and then he can think about base ball. Well if he learned and got stuff done is it still moshav leitzim if he already reached his limits for the day?

MODERATOR Posted - 07 September 2000 17:37

As I said, it is permitted, everybody according to his level, to do what they need to relax in order to refresh themselves for Avodas hashem.

But moshav letzim activities would still not be permitted, even under those circumstances.

As far as your principal, or any individual goes, you would have to ask them why they do what they do. Without hearing their side, it would be wrong to draw any conclusions. Nobody can speak for anyone else. I can only tell you the general Halachah.

There's another thing that I feel I need to say here.

Again, I don't know anything about your principal, I cannot speak for him, and I cannot begin to guess, without speaking to him.

However, please understand that adults are human beings too, even "choshuver" ones, and that we are all trying to grow in our madreigas, even if we are not teenagers. Hopefully, by the time you are 20, 30, 40, you will be higher than you are now, but you will not be perfect. There will always be things you need to work on.

This will not make you a "hypocrite," it will not make you "no better than anyone else," it will make you a human being. You, "me", and I (I believe I said that correctly) are all in the same boat. Maybe some of us have a better seat, maybe some of us have been on it longer and know how to sail it better, maybe some of us are more skilled or talented at it, but all of us are struggling to go higher than we are today.

If all adults would be perfect, then we would not need them on this world anymore, because they would have finished their job here. If we are here, that means we have what to improve.

Teenagers often feel that adults have to be "perfect" to be role models. It's not true. Nobody is perfect. Adults are supposed to know more than teenagers, and try harder, and that's what makes them role models.

"Seven times the Tzadik falls and then he rises up", says Shlomo HaMelech. This shows that just because a person falls seven times does not mean he can't be a Tazdik.

So please don't fall into an "all or nothing" mode with your role models. If you expect everyone to be perfect, you will eventually be disappointed in everybody.

What you should look up at in your role models is the fact that they give their life to help people and to serve Hashem, and that they gathered up much good knowledge on the way.

Don't look for people who are perfect to be your role models. Look for people who put in the most effort. Even if they fall 7 times for each time they rise - they are the real Tzadikim.

MODERATOR Posted - 10 September 2000 4:16


Tosfos in Shabbos (116b) quotes the Ri saying that secular literature (i.e. books about wars) should not be permitted even on the weekdays, because of Moshav Letzim.

The Maharsha explains that since draws you to read more, it therefore will cause you to be mevatel Torah (even beyond what you need for relaxation). Any type of leisure activity that has an enticing, or habit forming effect, such as "books of wars" are included in Moshav Letzim, even though you are doing it privately.

It would seem that Moshav Letzim includes both group sessions of Bitul Torah , and also behavior which is characteristic of Letzim, even if done privately. Letzim are those who do not care about Torah, and therefore, someone who willingly engages in activity that not only involves not learning, but will enhance his Yetzer Horah for bitul Torah in the future, is a Letz.

As for "al tifnu", there is a disagreement in the poskim whether this applies to items made for avodah zarah. Tosfos (Shabbos 149a), followed by the Shach (YD 142:32) rules that this applies only to art and the like made for avodah zarah. A different Tosfos (Avodah Zarah 50a) says that even images not made for Avodah Zarah are prohibited. The Meiri (Shabbos 149) explains that any images that have a habit forming effect are prohibited (similar to the Moshav Letzim, above).

Tosfos Rid (Shabbos ibid) writes that any "davar rik" would qualify as "elilim".

It is debatable whether the Shulchan Aruch meant that al tifnu applies to everything he listed including "books of wars" or merely the sifrei cheshek.

curiousg Posted - 11 September 2000 6:09

Re: Divrei Cheshek, aren't hirhurim just an issur for boys?

MODERATOR Posted - 11 September 2000 15:38


No, they're not. Although not every reason to prohibit hirhurim apply to women, there is still the la'av of lo sasuru acharei ainaichem, which, like any la'av in the Torah, applies to women as well.

e Posted - 02 October 2000 13:40

Having just read you’re forums about "moshav letzim" which I have actually never heard before, if it is all 100% true then I guess my whole life or about 90% of it would come under that category.

If I understand correct, any sort of fun is also "moshav letzim", right? But in the end we are just kids who want to have fun and are not all on a high madraga, like rebbeim. So what are we left with? no fun etc...all day learn learn learn.

Even though I go to BY and am frum anyone can waste their life. what are we meant to be doing instead of "moshav letzim?" and what are girls meant to do, sit down and open a gemara? (only if you in brovenders which I’m not).

Also, of the topic I have heard rumors about nanachamer chasidim in Israel (they are all on drugs and stuff like that). Who are they?

MODERATOR Posted - 02 October 2000 15:57

"Moshav letzim" only includes a group of people in an organized, unproductive activity, such a movie theater. Hanging out on the street corners also applies.

The "Na-na-nachers" are an outgrowth of Breslover Chassidim. The group started when a Breslover rabbi claimed to have received a letter from Rav Nachman ZTL, written after Rav Nachman was no longer alive. basically, it said that saying "na-nach" etc. will make very good things happen.

This whole thing has been reported to have been a practical joke that some mischievous chosid (not Breslov) played on the rabbi, sending him that letter "signed" by Rav Nachman. The rabbi, in his naiveté, took it seriously.

They are not to be taken seriously, but they are not on drugs

e Posted - 03 October 2000 0:00

I posted this before but it didn’t go through:-

I go to a BY school where the worst thing you can do is go to a movie. If you are found out, then you are immediately expelled. All other things are small compared to this. Many ppl go to movies and it has been happening for many years, but the principals are so out of touch they don’t know about it. never mind the fact that some girls don’t want to be frum, don’t keep shabbas or kosher and lots have/had boyfriends it is all okay if you don’t go to movies.

Firstly, you moderator seem to be quoting CHUMRAHS as halacha, correct me if I am wrong. You do not distinguish between different hashkafas, but just stum say, movies and theatres are an issur.

Just b/c that is your outlook and hashkafa, it doesn’t mean you should go and impose it on other ppl who might not know better these stringent views. I think you should say that is acc. to your hahskafa these opinions which your posting. .

Secondly, ppl say the reason to not go to movies is not the movies bichlal, but the place. they say scummy people hang out at movies which I know is absolutely rubbish. All ppl do is buy tickets and food and sit in a dark place.

You'll meet the exact same ppl if you hang out in the shoe shop, or walk to school.

Fine, some movies might be inappropriate but it doesn’t mean that if you’re frum, frum ppl don’t go to movies. Movies are an escape from reality and bittul torah, yes, but we are not gonna be learning anyway.

Movies and t.v are exactly the same as reading books/comics, and sitting at the computer. we used to have a t.v until recently so now all I do with my t.v time is lie on my bed, listen to music, read, talk on the phone and sit for hours on the internet in chatrooms and on e mail. I don’t see the difference b/w that and movies, I also think that if ppl didn’t make such a huge issue of movies, then kids wouldn’t crave them so much.

p.s are you a rabbi or what?

- 03 October 2000 0:14

“ firstly, you moderator seem to be quoting CHUMRAHS as halacha, correct me if I am wrong”

OK, I am correcting you. Movies, like all theater entertainment, are prohibited under the Halachah of Moshav Letzim, as per Gemora Avodah Zarah 18b. This is not a chumrah, but a Halachah. Please see the above posts.

As far as your school is concerned, although obviously I cannot in all fairness comment on a specific place without hearing their side, your story is, unfortunately, not a surprising one. I know of places like that as well.

Yes, I am a rabbi.

ker Posted - 06 October 2000 3:45

I love to watch t.v. and movies, it totally relaxes me and get my mind off of school and stuff and for me it doesn’t make we wanna do the stuff they do in movies it shows me the diff btwn me and other ppl and that my standards are higher.

The things they do in movies and TV shows are non realistic and are not gonna go make me wanna do those things anyways. I think its helps ppl relax and forget about their own problems and have fun.

e Posted - 06 October 2000 8:09

I have read all the posts regarding "moshav letzim" and have asked ppl and have asked someone to look up the gemara but I still don’t exactly get it.

Why is a movie theatre "organized unproductive activity"?

Is it b/c we gather there or is it b/c it is a general place of organized unproductive activity which is specifically made for the purpose and that is why the source is the prohibition of theatres?
if that is true, and it is all about the place being one of that essence, then watching a private movies would be ok?

And if say a few frenz organize to go out, is that also moshav letzim, or does it all pertain to the place? but this does not seem correct b/c " even if done privately" but how does that relate to "bitul torah en masse"?. So would circuses, sports games, entertainment arenas all fall under this category and what else would be included?

And is it basically any entertainment constitutes this?

And what does bittul torah mean--anything not connected with learning torah and doing mitzvos? and which rabbi/source/commentary says movies = theatres of then?
:):) thanx.

MODERATOR Posted - 08 October 2000 17:53

Moshav Letzim includes all kinds of organized, en masses, non-Jewish entertainment. "Theaters" is actually the word used in the Gemora.

Spending much time hanging out in the street with your friends doing nothing is also in this category (Rabbeinu Yoah, Avos III,Meiri, Tehillim 1 it is).

Watching a movie by yourself in your home is not in this category.

The thing about Moshav Letzim is that it is not only bittul Torah for the present, but it is an organized activity, part of a culture maybe, such that it encourages you to repeat the behavior, as opposed to just being a one-time thing (Maharsha Shabbos 116b).

This has nothing to do with being encouraged to do what the people in the movies do. The movie's influence is another issue altogether. Though don't be too sure that you are not influenced.

Studies show that such influence is not noticeable by the one being influenced. It is often subtle and less than totally conscious.


What exactly is it about your principals that you would not want to grow up to be like them? Please describe the situation in the "School" forum. There are things you may be able to do to make life easier for you, and especially to help the girls who don't know if Hashem really exists.

queen Posted - 11 October 2000 15:13

What's the difference between seeing a movie in a theatre or at your home? THERE'S NO DIFFERENCE! Why's one allowed and not the other.

At my school they say it's cos of the atmosphere at the cinema - but they've never been!

MODERATOR Posted - 11 October 2000 18:16

If the problem with movies would merely be the stuff you are watching, then you would be correct that it doesn't matter where you are watching it.

But the problem of Moshav Letzim has nothing to do with WHAT you are watching. it is a separate prohibition that is violated when people who engage in useless activity do so in a group. This is true regardless of the atmosphere.

The reason for this is that if someone wants to waste his time in the privacy of his own home, that's one thing. But to do so in an organized fashion in a special place designated for wasting time is much more hurtful to Hashem, Who gave you your time to value. Wasting time is one thing, but making it into an activity is worse.

e Posted - 12 October 2000 16:11

Thank you moderator for your answer. but I still don’t know how reading non Jewish books is Bitul torah en masse.

MODERATOR Posted - 12 October 2000 16:40


As explained previously in the name of the Maharsha, the problem with Goyish literature is not that it is Bitul Torah en masse, but rather that getting involved in such books is habit forming, leaves you wanting more, and that is wrong even in private.

e Posted - 13 October 2000 14:19

Okay, so its not under "moshav letzim" right?

MODERATOR Posted - 13 October 2000 17:15

It would be Moshav Letzim, but a different type. it's not collective Bitul Torah but rather habit-forming bitul Torah which is the "way" of the Letzim, so to speak.

chanel Posted - 16 October 2000 18:06

Hi !
thanx for the amazing web site !

I was reading everything about going to a movie theatre and here is my question.

if going to a movie theatre is prohibited from the torah because of moshav laytzim and so is a baseball game ... why would ppl who need to "relax " in order to study to torah better etc .. go to a baseball game rather than a movie theatre.

If the issur for the movie theater isn’t because of the content of the movie ( as you said there is no halachic prohibition of watching a movie alone in your house even if the hashkafa could be wrong ) but because of moshav leytzim..why are people more apt to go to a baseball game instead of a movie theatre? If the excuse of going to a baseball game is because you need to take time off of torah to study it better?
thanx for your time and effort ! I really appreciate it

MODERATOR Posted - 16 October 2000 18:10

Although there is no prohibition per se against "watching a movie" (but rather it is the theater that is prohibited) that is only if the content of the movie is Kosher. Unfortunately, that is often not the case, especially with today's movies. Even if the standards of modesty are merely as bad as that on the street (usually they are worse), the movie is still worse because at least on the street you can try to ignore and not look at the immodesty as much as you can. Watching a movie while ignoring what's on the screen doesn't work.

At least at a ballgame, the players, the behavior, and the general theme are innocent.

Lizard Posted - 31 October 2000 16:34


I'm still a little confused about what is and what's not Moshav Leitzim.
Going to a baseball game you say is M.L because it just like a theater which Gemara prohibited.

1. My question is this still assur if your going there on business or a date etc where your emotional involvement in what's going on is limited. (There cant be anything wrong with just going to such a place as the siyum Hashas is held in Madison Square Garden.)

2 Does it make any difference if you go with a camp or school where you are not sitting with Leitzim or is it still assur because there's a baseball game.

3 Does this mean that organized sports for Jewish schools with an audience is also assur bec. of Moshav Leitzim ?

4. If your going to be with your "Moshav Leitzim friends" anyway is there any added issur of going to the ballgame or a movie for that matter? (My Rebbi is very into us doing aveiros lishma i.e. before we do something wrong to recognize its wrong and not try to justify it. That's why I'm asking this q).

Also I want to just clarify what you said please correct me if I'm wrong. Movies are M.L. Videos are not (where it will not be habit forming or else it would be M.L).

Secular literature is not M.L unless its about wars or something that will cause you to spend more time than necessary but there could be other problems, taavos, etc.

Also I would be interested in seeing more info on Moshav Leitzim where should I look in shulchan aruch etc.

Thank you very much for your time.

MODERATOR Posted - 01 November 2000 17:36

1 – Business / dates: It seems to me that it would still be prohibited. Theaters are listed explicitly in the Gemora as prohibited , and so we can’t decide on our own that with a certain measure of reduction of emotional involvement it would be permitted.

2 – Camp or school: Ditto.

3 – Organized sports: Playing sports is of course not prohibited, and if the school feels that organizing games with family and friends as spectators it’s good for the families and for the kids themselves, I see a legitimate argument that can be made for permitting it. It would be up to the individual discretion of the rabbi of the particular people involved, who knows of their needs and motives for doing this.

4 – Ballgame vs. movie – No difference as far as Moshav letzim is concerned. But there are probably great differences when you consider the content of the movie itself.

Your clarification seems fine.

As far info on Moshav Letzim, see my post here of 10 September 2000 5:16 for basics. For one place that has a lot of broad information on Moshav letzim, see Responsa Vayivorech Dovid by R. Yisroel Dovid Harfenes, II:170.

joeT Posted - 09 November 2000 18:20

Based on the previous discussion it seems that although viewing videos at home would not fall under the prohibition of Moshav Letzim in theaters, according to the MAHARSHA regarding books it would be prohibited because it is "habit-forming bitul Torah "

MODERATOR Posted - 09 November 2000 18:22

That's true, but I imagine it would vary from person to person and from video to video.

emmess Posted - 10 December 2000 20:28

Chukos Akum apply to going to baseball games and movies, because it is a place where goyim get together to have fun.

What makes an amusement park different, it also is a place where goyim get together to have fun, so is that chukos akum also?

MODERATOR Posted - 10 December 2000 22:19

Because in theaters everyone is watching the same show, sharing the same experience, scene by scene. (I heard once from a friend that he was once walking down the street and suddenly he heard laughter from all the houses on the block. What happened was, they were all watching the same TV show!). That's what unites your being there and their being their creating the Moshav Letzim.

yummer101 Posted - 18 December 2000 21:21

I feel the same way as tag but all the responses so far aren’t satisfying.

I enjoy the "escape" and I love a good laugh- and I know all the arguments against watching TV and movies- but still, I cant stop. any other suggestions?

MODERATOR Posted - 18 December 2000 21:48

Nope. It's hard to break any habit, including this. Self restraint is definitely necessary.

But perhaps you could find another activity instead - such as browsing the web (obviously only places that are not worse than what you're seeing in the movies or TV) or limiting yourself to renting videos or DVDs?

mel Posted - 28 December 2000 15:36

I just read through all five pages of responses, very interesting.

But a lot of you are missing the point. for example, I see many times the question of what's the difference between relaxing through a baseball game or a movie, and why are movies at home okay--and what's wrong with a kosher movie.

The truth is that there is NO such thing--if fact, the Lubavitcher Rebbe explains how (with TV) once you start with a program , however innocent it may seem , it easily leads to other and less kosher programs.

Obviously, it is worse to go to a theater, b/c the whole atmosphere is not conducive from a torah perspective, but poisoning yourself at home with movies is really no better.

Furthermore, when we watch something, or listen to non-Jewish music, it becomes a part of us,--you get into the character's lives --c'mon you cry and laugh and scream, And it affects our soul--even if you don't feel it, it does.

Especially by music, this is very understandable--when someone sings, they sing from their soul, from their very depths, so it's very understandable that it affects our soul strongly. so moshav leitzim aside, you’re harming yourself. renting movies is not a solution at all.

MODERATOR Posted - 28 December 2000 19:39

Movies in the theater are prohibited by Halachah, movies at home are not. See above. What you are saying is advice, and should not be confused with obligations.

mel Posted - 29 December 2000 16:03

Moderator, you're right, you have a good point--but it seemed to me that people were getting the impression that renting movies and watching them at home is a solution. It is NOT--b/c of the harmful effects (see above)

rachel2001 Posted - 29 December 2000 16:18

Bitul torah doesn’t apply to girls, does it?

MODERATOR Posted - 29 December 2000 17:17

Not at all, but Moshav Letzim does. This was discussed above.

chuldah Posted - 11 September 2005 16:44

"The Maharsha explains that since draws you to read more, it therefore will cause you to be mevatel Torah (even beyond what you need for relaxation). Any type of leisure activity that has an enticing, or habit forming effect, such as "books of wars" are included in Moshav Letzim, even though you are doing it privately."

Does this apply to women - it's hard to see why it would as the concern seems to be only bitul torah.

MODERATOR Posted - 11 September 2005 20:40

Rav Elchonon Wasserman says he’s not sure if the prohibition to learn secular studies (as a curriculum) applies to women, because, as you already realized, it depends if the prohibition is due to Bitul Torah - in which case it doesn’t apply to women - or bizyon Hatorah, in which case it does. The question applies here as well.

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