Sep 5, 2014

One of the Least Known Halachos of Shabbos

Since it's erev Shabbos, I will post some halachos which I read in Torah Tavlin (Israel Bookshop) p. 402, 410, and 418.  The topic is introduced like this, "One of the least known halachos of Shabbos, one that many often transgress unwittingly, is the rabbinic prohibition against reading unwarranted material on Shabbos." 
Among the things listed (and I do not include them all) are, we may not read:
1) about activities which we are not allowed to do on Shabbos like cooking - recipes and crafts
2) advertisements and business type articles
3) news (unless it is to become aware of potential danger which does not apply nowadays)
4) editorials of world events
5) distressing information
6) household hints
7) shopping tips
8) dedications and mazal tovs
The popular frum magazines and newspapers contain news, editorials, recipes, ads, business related articles, household hints, and sometimes material of a tragic nature.  What responsibility do these publications have to publish well in advance of Shabbos? What responsibility, if any, do the publishers have to make it known to their readers, many of whom save their reading for Shabbos, that ads and recipes etc. are forbidden to be read on Shabbos?
What about dvar Torah papers that are left in shuls which have dedications and mazal tovs on them.  Aren't they a michshol? Are people expected to read the divrei Torah and save reading the dedications and simchas for after Shabbos? Would people donate money for these announcements if they knew that people are not allowed to read them on Shabbos?

1 comment:

  1. On numerous occasions I have become distressed while attending kiddushim made l'ilui nishmas a Holocaust survivor. Of course, the family member making the kiddush goes into detail describing the horrors the survivor underwent, thinking that in doing so he is honoring the deceased, when in fact (as I understand), it's a desecration of Shabbos!

    Also, often Rabbis will refer to recent news events and derive some lesson from them, or tie it into some Torah teaching. I wonder if in that context, mentioning current events is still forbidden? That would rule out most speeches...