Why Should it Matter What We Read?

Today at the public library, I saw a shelf of recommended reads for Banned Books Week, and it got me thinking. Why in the name of the Angel Raziel would a book be banned in the first damn place? Censorship is just The Man’s way of saying fuck you to curiosity. I once read a rabbi who was so afraid of his kids going OTD that the only reading material in his house had titles like How the Rabbi Went to Israel and Kept all the mitzvos! I get not wanting your kids to leave the fold, but there is such a thing as extremism in any religious community. Thoughts?

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6 thoughts on “Why Should it Matter What We Read?

  1. I agree with you. I’ve heard a story about a famous Rabbi who, while visiting a home of a Baal Teshuva, noticed that the Holy Books were prominently displayed on a separate set of shelves, while the secular books were shelved somewhere in a far corner. Those secular books included sciences, philosophy, art, etc. I was told the Rabbi made a comment that, since Torah Emes (Torah is the Truth), and there is no truth outside of Torah, those secular books are also part of the Truth, and there is no need to hide them or to be embarrassed of reading them.

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      1. So do I! I was a witness to a conversation between a teacher and a Rabbi at a Jewish school book fair. The teacher was questioning the wisdom of Harry Potter books being on display – it’s fantasy! It’s magic! Avoda Zorah! The Rabbi calmly said to her, “it’s your responsibility to explain to children the difference between reality and fantasy.The books stay!”

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  2. I don’t read Harry porter, not because it’s unkosher, but I just don’t like stuff like this. However, I do read different types of books, of course. Have plenty of those, my only problem being lack of space for the new ones.
    The problem with young children might be that if some parents have no time to explain the differences in world view, they just thnk it’s easier to keep the kids out of controversial reading. I don’t think it works in te long run, though.

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