Tagged: Harry Potter
August 14, 2023 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm #2216026BenjamenParticipant
I very much enjoyed reading the harry potter series as a child but was wondering if its considered to be appropriate for a orthodox Jewish child to read.August 15, 2023 8:50 am at 8:50 am #2216098LogicianParticipant
If you don’t mind your child reading in detail how much Harry enjoyed kissing Ginny, and exactly what it felt like, then sure, it’s fine.August 15, 2023 9:10 am at 9:10 am #2216091
I enjoyed it too, so i understand where you’re coming from. Rowling is a gripping author, and i found myself as a kid flicking a stick and thinking for a fleeting moment that HP magic was real.
Lots of kids did. They got lost in the stories and found themselves in some of the characters. I sure did.
And that’s the main reason why it’s not kosher. I don’t know if HP magic is in the same category as kishuf, ov, yidoni, etc…it doesn’t involve subservience to kochos, avodah zara, or messing with the pamalah shel maalah. I can hear both sides to that
But what is more problematic is that it’s a godless world. Evil is portrayed not as that which Hashem hates, but as racism. The characters possess a mix of morals, with some heros behaving in ways which are disgusting from a Torah perspective.
So a combination of bad morals, a torah-less and God-less world, with a writer who can manipulate the minds of children and have them at the edge kf their seat as they read and imagine…that is harmful for chinuch, and it’s harmful for adults too. The influence is profound.
We live in a world of hester panim, where we have to struggle and claw our way into seeing a glimmer of ruchnius in our lives, we need to constantly fortify our worldview and our priorities..
Divrei Torah are hard to aquire as gold but as easy to lose as glass, chazal say. Our minds are fragile; can we leave them at the mercy of a non jewish author who paints a world devoid of torah and Hashem? Will that not influence us when we have nisyonos?August 15, 2023 9:15 am at 9:15 am #2216111e.tovaParticipant
In general, no.
For one, it’s about magic…which is assur.
Furthermore, the books demonstrate bad middos, inappropriate speech, the protagonists steal things from teachers, do not obey the school rules, put themselves and other kids in danger, show disrespect for teachers, there is a lot of violence, and the later books discuss very dark concepts like tearing your soul apart, and the later books contain romantic scenes.
I know what you will say…the reality is that even frum kids speak inappropriate occasionally, etc., but I still wouldn’t recommend davka giving the books to a frum kid.
Personally, I was exposed to the HP books as a child and I have fond memories of them. I would have no issue with her reading them as long as she is mature enough to decide to read them for herself.
Why not read The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy instead? It is a lot more tasteful. And they’re classics.August 15, 2023 9:16 am at 9:16 am #2216132akupermaParticipant
I think frum children greatly relate to the idea of being part of a discrete minority whose activities are largely hidden from the general public and totally misunderstood by the general public, and who are also subject to sometimes severe discrimination and persecution. Much of the lives of frum Yidden in golus are very much parallel to the “wizarding” subculture in the Harry Potter novels (i.e. we are the wizards, the goyim are the muggles).
There are some Christian themes that the author included, but it should be noted that none of these involve Avodah Zarah, and are based on aspects of Christian culture that were derived for Judaism. If a Yid had written the books, they could have used the same concepts and we would attribute them to Yiddishkeit origins and history. The “witchcraft” in Harry Potter doesn’t involve looking to or believing in an Avodah Zarah, and should be considered alternative science (consider the famous line to the effect that any technology too advanced for the observer to understands appears to be witchcraft). Advanced beings with superpowers are only a problem if the superpowers are derived from an Avodah Zarah (that there is nothing “treff” about either Star Trek’s “teleportation”, or Harry Potter’s “apparation”).August 15, 2023 11:00 am at 11:00 am #2216207
I had forgotten about the nivul peh and divrei cheshek parts, as well as the stealing, disrespect, etc…which are portrayed as heroic.August 15, 2023 11:06 am at 11:06 am #2216196Shimon NodelParticipant
J.K. Rowling must definitely have some experience with orthodox Jews. The story rings very familiar with the unique reality of the frum world.
From my perspective, it’s about a boy who’s parents died al kiddush… He gets sent off to the world’s greatest rosh yeshiva, he learns to shteig even through all of the problems surrounding him. He finally faces the ultimate test in order to protect the magic olam before becoming the gadol hador himself
l’havdil…August 15, 2023 5:11 pm at 5:11 pm #2216340SQUARE_ROOTParticipant
Several years ago, one anonymous non-Jewish commentator on the internet said that The Gentiles were the original muggles.
This is similar to what “AKupermana” said.August 15, 2023 8:37 pm at 8:37 pm #2216356ChatGPTParticipant
The “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling is a popular fantasy book series that has garnered a large fanbase around the world. While many readers enjoy the magical world and the themes of friendship, bravery, and overcoming adversity, some individuals have raised concerns about the series in relation to certain religious beliefs, such as those found in the Torah, the central reference of the religious Judaic tradition. It’s important to note that interpretations of religious texts and fictional works can vary widely, and what may be seen as conflicting with the Torah by some might not be interpreted the same way by others. Here, I’ll explore a few elements from the “Harry Potter” series that some individuals might view as conflicting with Torah teachings:
Magic and Sorcery: The most prominent concern for some individuals is the depiction of magic and sorcery in the “Harry Potter” series. The Torah strictly prohibits engaging in practices related to witchcraft, divination, and magic. For instance, the Torah forbids consulting mediums or practicing witchcraft (Deuteronomy 18:10-12). Some might argue that the “Harry Potter” series glorifies these practices, potentially conflicting with these Torah teachings.
Idolatry and Worship of Other Beings: The “Harry Potter” series features magical creatures, some of which are revered and even worshipped by certain characters. In the Torah, idolatry and worship of other beings are forbidden (Exodus 20:3-6). The portrayal of characters interacting with creatures like house elves, centaurs, and even dragons might raise concerns for some individuals due to potential associations with idolatry.
Resurrection and Afterlife: The concept of resurrection and afterlife is explored in the “Harry Potter” series, particularly through the character of Voldemort’s Horcruxes and the “Deathly Hallows.” These ideas might be seen as differing from Torah teachings on the afterlife and the sanctity of human life.
Morality and Ethics: The “Harry Potter” series delves into complex moral and ethical issues, often involving characters making difficult decisions. Some individuals might argue that certain choices made by characters in the series do not align with Torah ethics, such as lying, deceit, or compromising one’s principles for a perceived greater good.
Parent-Child Relationships: The “Harry Potter” series showcases various parent-child relationships, some of which are strained or dysfunctional. Some individuals might find fault with how these relationships are depicted, especially if they believe that the Torah places a strong emphasis on honoring one’s parents and maintaining respectful relationships.
Gender Roles and Equality: The “Harry Potter” series presents a range of gender roles and relationships, including strong and capable female characters. For some, this portrayal could challenge traditional interpretations of gender roles found in certain Torah teachings.
It’s important to recognize that the “Harry Potter” series is a work of fiction, and its themes and elements should be understood in that context. Interpretations of religious texts and fictional works can vary widely, and what one person perceives as a conflict with the Torah, another might see as simply a fantasy narrative with no bearing on their religious beliefs.
Ultimately, the question of whether the “Harry Potter” series goes against the Torah is a matter of individual interpretation and personal belief. Some individuals may find elements that align with their understanding of Torah teachings, while others may see elements that raise concerns. It’s always valuable to engage in respectful and open discussions when exploring these intersections between fiction and religious beliefs.August 15, 2023 8:37 pm at 8:37 pm #2216357commonsaychelParticipant
Its kosher just dont eat it with milkAugust 15, 2023 8:37 pm at 8:37 pm #2216379GadolhadorahParticipant
Its all relative. Compared to a lot of other so called “classics” of modern literature, it does provide some positive themes and role models but as others have noted, it also contains some clearly problematic material for a frum child or teen. Even here in the CR, there is no clearly established “bright line” regarding “kosher” books, movies etc. What will work for a MO family whose kids are in a “day school” environment will be a non-starter for more yeshivsh familiesAugust 16, 2023 9:02 pm at 9:02 pm #2216698
As Tova pointed out, it’s terrible, as it teaches children to disobey school rules.
Besides that, the entire series culminates with the heroizing and whitewashing of a truly bad man, due to his incapability of getting over his ex-girlfriend. A sleaze bag and jerk, who punishes Gryffindorers but give Slytheriners a free pass, Snape was a DEATH EATER who never changed his hashkafos. Indeed, he continued calling Voldemort the Dark Lord. But he begrudgingly agreed to save Harry, and betray his beliefs, not because he caused the death of two people, but because one of those people (a married woman) was his love.August 20, 2023 5:49 pm at 5:49 pm #2217811
Based on the postings it seems everyone here has read and enjoyed the books so as an informal poll there you go. The first two books are probably okay if one is okay with reading secular literature. The characters celebrate Christmas and there is even a token Jewish student, Anthony Goldstein in Ravenclaw, who attends Hogwarts which is a multi-faith wizard school. The later books in the series get more questionable though as the subject matter gets darker and more mature in tone.
From a Jewish perspective my big issue would be the Christian subtext in the stories. I struggled a lot with the ending of the series. <Spoiler Alert> The intense betrayal and sacrifice of the main character seemed disturbing to me. So I did some research to understand it better and then I found out why this literary allegory felt so foreign to me. It is designed to parallel the Christian resurrection story (this has been confirmed by the author). The 7th book the Deathly Hallows even includes 2 direct quotes directly from the Christian bible which were listed on tombstones.August 20, 2023 6:52 pm at 6:52 pm #2217918
Sact, this discussion is people who are admitting their mistakes and explaining why it’s not good. If people railed against it without reading it, you’d say “how do you know, you never even read it,” but if we did read it, you’re saying “see, you read it and liked it,”
That’s an intellectually dishonest portrayal of the discussion and forces you to be right no matter what.August 20, 2023 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm #2217962
AviraDeArah, my 1st statement was a bit tongue in cheek although I apologize because tone is almost impossible to read online. Just because everyone does something obviously doesn’t make it okay.
My point was more if there was something seriously problematic from a Jewish perspective I doubt so many people here would have read and enjoyed them. I certainly intentionally avoided reading the Narnia series by CS Lewis. Regret for reading them does not seem to be universal either. Are there concerns with the HP series yes clearly. Is it the worst thing for a Jewish kid to read not by a long shot. I don’t see it as having only one right answer but maybe that’s just so I’m always right. 😉August 20, 2023 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm #2217980Always_Ask_QuestionsParticipant
I am shocked, shocked that I am learning details of these books right here on ywn especially from posters looking down at others for various hashkafic issues… maybe need a trigger warning
I understand some did teshuva already. I am thinking if you are spending time ⏲️ on goyishe literature, why not read something more mature.August 21, 2023 3:32 pm at 3:32 pm #2218198
Good thing you included a picture of a clock so we’ll all know what “time” means.August 21, 2023 3:36 pm at 3:36 pm #2218199August 22, 2023 8:19 am at 8:19 am #2218301amiricanyeshivishParticipant
I never had the zchus to read HP. Was too old. But I sure enjoyed Hardy Boys until my parents caught me reading the casefiles. LOL that stuff is childsplay compared to what our children can find today online R”LAugust 22, 2023 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm #221865250minusONEParticipant
So I don’t think Harry kept kosher.
He seemed more reform oriented to Judaism .
Although he probably kept away from pork.
Hope that’s helpfulAugust 22, 2023 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm #2218668
Who even knows what’s in a Treacle Tart but I bet there’s lard in there!
More spoiler alerts…
What I was refering to was based on the last book Dumbledore knew early on that Harry would need to die to destroy Voldemort. Did he know this and intentionally lure Harry into a parent-child bond knowing as an orphan he was an easy mark? Harry spends half the the series showing his devotion to this man who is his parent-mentor figure and then to know that perhaps the relationship was just a chess move to Dumbledore felt like a betrayal to me. Essentially Harry is sacrificed by his father figure to defeat evil but then is resurrected. Now who does that sound like??? The author said this was her intention when writing the series, to make this parallel.August 23, 2023 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm #22190215781Participant
The oilam is saying very good, to give an actual answer wd depend on the familyAugust 24, 2023 12:20 am at 12:20 am #2219034modernParticipant
“I don’t know if HP magic is in the same category as kishuf, ov, yidoni, etc…”
It isn’t in the same category because it is all fictional. Those other things actually existed.August 24, 2023 1:05 pm at 1:05 pm #2219159SQUARE_ROOTParticipant
Nobody believes that Harry Potter is real.August 24, 2023 3:40 pm at 3:40 pm #2219227
I wouldn’t say nobody, ever heard of Major League Quidditch….August 25, 2023 1:09 am at 1:09 am #2219591Resident MortalParticipant
Does Major League Quidditch have flying brooms?August 25, 2023 5:17 pm at 5:17 pm #2219802Rabbi TrollParticipant
Harry Potter is definitely not kosher for a very simple reason, Pot is a slang for weed, therefore Potter can be interpreted as a person who smokes pot. Are we going to poison our precious little children with these terrible ideas about drugs???
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