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secular newspapers and their pictures


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Elul 29, 5772
Rabbi,I have a problem. I enjoy knowing what’s going on in the world and in Israel. That’s why I read ’Yisroel hayom' and simular newspapers.Unfortunately,I quite often come across inappropriate images of women. Does the fact that there are such pictures forebid me from reading these papers?After all my intention is to read the news and not to see these stuyot?Thanks for your time.
Shalom, It’s definitely important to know what’s going on with Am Yisrael, especially because we’re in the center of the world news so often, and we must know what we can do to help (e.g. if there’s danger of war, if we should apply political pressure on the Prime Minister of Israel or President of the U.S., or volunteering to look for a missing child, donating money or clothing, if there’s a fire, etc.), and also what to daven (pray) for. For this reason, the Netziv and many other rabbanim regularly read news journals. On the other hand, one isn’t allowed to do a mitzvah through doing something wrong (“mitzvah haba’a al y’dei aveira”). Even if you are accustomed to looking away when seeing immodest dress in the street, it’s almost impossible to avoid when your task at hand is to purposely look at the paper. In addition, the editors and advertisers deliberately choose especially attractive and provocative pictures, so it’s even more problematic. Listening to the radio news is one solution. Even better, thank G-d, today there are religious or kosher radio stations, websites and newspapers like Arutz Sheva and Makor Rishon, which are fine in this regard, and hopefully also regarding lashon hara (slandering), which is no less problematic, often even more (here, the radio doesn't help, except for its brevity!). Regarding the laws of lashon hara and the news, see my article “Newspapers and Reporting- Mitzva or Prohibition?”, which can be found through Google. With Love of Israel, Rav Ari Shvat
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