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Topic: Television

Dear Rabbi,

If G-d gave us everything to enjoy and use (i.e., cars, wealth, entertainment, etc.), what is the purpose of TV? I know many Jews who do not watch TV, and I do not understand why.


You are asking a very good question! I would say that the technology itself is given to us to utilize and benefit from; what we do with it is a totally different issue. Nuclear Technology, for example. We can clearly see the good in it, but when a fundamentalist Islamic state starts to contemplate why G-d gave them the capability to use it, it makes us shudder.

The same with pharmaceuticals. We cannot thank G-d enough for the advancements made in this area over the last few decades, but again, as time progresses new and improved designer drugs hit the streets and wreak havoc to the population. Do you remember when crack hit the streets? How about XTC?

Judaism for thousands of years remained strong because we didn't let the cultures and values of our enveloping nations influence us. We wouldn't be here if we had decided that the Babylonian street scene was where it's at. Or if we had listened to the Romans who told us that we are antiquated, and that its time we drop this monotheistic stuff and get down to boogie with Zeus and all the ensemble.

Television is the flagship for American culture.

A few years ago, there was a large multinational meeting of government ministers of culture. It was hosted in Canada and attended by representatives from most western nations. Except one.

The United States. Canada's downstairs neighbor had not been invited. This made them a little upset, but not as much as when they found out the reason for this meeting.

How to protect themselves from the onslaught of American culture and values and how to stop the havoc it is wreaking in the prospective countries. Movies and television programs were introducing values (sic) that undermined the very fabric that held these countries together. Teenage birth, drugs, violence, etc. They had to find a way to put a stop to it.

Can't we see the damage done by television? All those public commissions scream about the damage television is having on today's youth; and after many years of counseling, I have seen it myself.

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