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Non kosher entertainment


Rabbi David Sperling

Iyyar 21, 5774
Shalom, There are many shows and concerts out there, in the non Jewish world. Some of my Jewish friends and neighbors are expressing interest and planning to go and see some of them. More specifically, there is a show called Totem produced by the Canadian cirque de solel. In my opinion, such show is not suitable for Jews and Jewish children. What is your opinion?
Shalom, Thank you for your question. Unfortunately I am not familiar with the show you refer to, so I can only answer generally. Which shows and concerts are suitable for Jews? Firstly, there are restrictions on forms of entertainment because of pure religious law. It is forbidden according to Jewish law to watch any performance that is immodest, violent, or has elements of other another religion's service involved in it. (Of course the exact definitions of these issues are too involved for me to outline in this format of an answer). This would include, for example, many movies and performances that (unfortunately) are so common today. Secondly, Jewish men are forbidden to view woman in performances that draw attention to the woman's body (even when clothed), or expose parts of her that Jewish law requires to be kept covered. This may exclude many dance shows for example. In addition to all this, even when an entertainment meets these standards, one must ask oneself if it will be beneficial to one's moral growth. The answer to this question will certainly vary from person to person. For one person going to hear an orchestra perform Mozart will be wonderful - while for many of the great sages of Israel it could be a waste of their precious time. Rather, they would benefit from playing ball in the park with their children. It all depends on the person, and their own needs and likes. So, in summary, as long as the entertainment is "kosher", it is permitted – though each person has to ask themselves if it will be beneficial to their overall spiritual life, or detrimental. Blessings.
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