Question & Answer With Chabakuk Elisha - A Sheretz In Your Living Room
A Simple Jew asks:
Can a person engrossed in watching television truly complain about the media?
Couldn't this person be compared to a person who goes to purify themselves in a mikvah while holding onto a sheretz (an impure creature)?
Chabakuk Elisha answers:
An interesting question.
First of all, I am not a posek, and I am only stating my opinion. People should consult their Rabbi if they want a specific answer.
Furthermore, I don't think that watching television is appropriate, and it is definitely as impure, if not more so, than a "sheretz". Judaism has three basic criteria for high crimes of a spiritual sense: Spilling blood, Idolatry, and Lewdness. Television is a celebration of all three, with the gratuitous violence, the promotion of an un-Godly belief system focused on "other gods," and pervasive sexuality. As such, it really doesn't belong in a religious home.
That being said, we live in a world where most of us do not live based on what is optimal, and most of us make certain "concessions" (we all know what our own are). So, I do think that a person engrossed in watching television can truly complain about the media.
There is some legitimacy to identifying a problem even while one is exposed to it. For example, just because I may belong to a group that is flawed, does not mean that I cannot recognize the flaws, and even complain about them. As to why someone would complain and yet continue to watch television, sometimes people feel that they have no alternatives (even if that's not actually the case), but that does not mean they cannot still see the shortcomings. Hopefully, in time, they will free themselves from this vice -- as all of us would benefit from identifying, and freeing ourselves, from whatever vices we may have!
Chabakuk Elisha's last guest posting can be read here.