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    Television – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Why do many orthodox families not allow television in the house?

    A. Apart from the danger that television watching will become addictive and occupy time that should be used for better things, TV can blunt human conscience.

    Erich Fromm said, “A man sits in front of a bad television program and does not know he is bored; he reads of casualties in the newspapers and does not recall the teachings of religion; he learns of the dangers of nuclear holocaust and does not feel fear; he joins the rat race of commerce, where personal wealth is measured in terms of market values, and is not aware of his anxiety…”.

    TV can also create idolatry. The Hallel says (Psalm 115:5-8), “They that make them (idols) become like them”. TV constantly presents the three cardinal sins of murder, idolatry and immorality and these become people’s values.

    Those who have no objection to television have to train themselves and their children to be selective in what they watch and not to say, “I saw it on TV. It has to be all right!” (People also have to learn not to say, “I saw it in the papers. It must be true!”)

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