Today I want to write about a topic I can’t believe I never devoted a whole post to. Inappropriate movies, books, and music. I do have an old post a wrote I think 2 years ago about non-Jewish music but it had very few ideas, and I just have so much more to say now!
(Non-jewish refers to religiously not in our circles. Not culturally)
Let’s start from the root.
What’s so bad about non-jewish stuff?
Okay, I agree that some stuff is seriously disgusting, and inappropriate- but I can just skip over it. It’s not like I’m reading 50 shades of gray or anything. (Side note- I haven’t read nonjewish books for 2 years now, but that doesn’t mean I don’t hear about books…or read the plot summary of wikipedia to know what the whole craziness over some of the more popular titles is)
Music and literature are things that enter our soul directly. They impact us in ways almost nothing else can do. They can make us feel things, and some of those things aren’t things we should be spending our time thinking about. These ideas are against Torah ideals and can take up your time which could be used in much better ways than with (inappropriate) fantasiesAnother point is that music, literature, movies are essentially tools- just like everything else in the world. They are tools that were created to help us get closer to G-d. If what you are watching, listening to, and reading is not doing that than it shouldn’t be in your life. Entertainment was created to help us relax a bit (not to be used 24/7) and as Jews we need to relax in a proper way that helps serve Hashem. There are MANY other ways to relax if you dislike the Jewish entertainment industry.
– You can do sports in many in cities with completely separate and tzniyus teams.
– You might be able to relax by doing chesed.
– Ever tried writing your own stuff?
– Hanging out with friends. Going on trips. Going shopping. Being silly.
You might say, it’s not about love,
it’s doesn’t even have a single kiss in the entire ________- but think about it. The creator of whatever your entertainment is a goy with inappropriate things running through his/her mind on a daily basis. Although you may not see it, underneath is his/her ideals, values, ideas, thoughts, and feelings within your entertainment. You may not see/hear/read it but your neshoma does! These undercurrents connect to your neshoma immediately.
Have I convinced you that this isn’t for you?
Have you ever tried to listen to a shuir after watching a movie? It’s extremely hard. This isn’t what Hashem wants in your head!!
You might say that not all people have inappropriate thoughts while creating literature, music, and movies,
True the main undercurrent is usually romance (along other things) but sometimes it’s really not! For example a song I really like- Breakway by Kelly Clarkson. There is one sentence that doesn’t even refer davka to a boy “I won’t forget the oneS that I love.” I believe the plural of the word ones refers to family, friends, spouse, or anyone really.
So how can you tell if something is really kosher?
Well most media these days aren’t. But some are okay. I think there’s nothing wrong with a non-jewish tune with a pasuk as words as long as the original song wasn’t dirty. There are songs these days about self confidence, staying strong, keeping hope, and so on. I don’t know of many, but they exist. I personally have about 30 non-jewish songs on my mp3 but I have another 2000 Jewish songs too. You really have to tell for yourself.
– What images come up to your mind when you hear, see, or read this?
– How well can you daven, listen to a shuir, or talk spirituality with someone 10 minutes after relaxing with this media?
– How well in your kesher with G-d doing?
In spirituality there is no saying the same. You either go up or down. If this isn’t helping you, it is bringing you down.
So now you have decided some of your media isn’t really kosher, but how do you stop?
Well here are helpful tips.
– Moderation, moderation, moderation. Take it slow. Most people can’t handle cold turkey. Whether it means stopping to download anymore music on your devices, then slowly deleting your existing songs, then going to not listening at other place. (only listening online, or from other people) Or not beginning to follow any new TV series, and slowly deleting shows from your list.
– When many people take on something they create a goal a little too high, when they don’t reach it- it depresses them. So I suggest you take on a goal like you usually would- like not reading any books by ____ author. But also create an easier goal within your first goal- like not reading _____ specific series by ______author. That way if you don’t make the first goal, you will still feel good for keeping the second one and you will feel empowered to continue.
– Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, teachers, and mentors. Sometimes it is possible to get addicted to movies (especially not good ones), in such a case don’t feel alone. There is a site called GuardYourEyes that helps with such things.
Good Luck and I hope this post was helpful!
Please have my father in mind of your tefilos. He is having surgery this week!