October 24, 2017 8:33 pm at 8:33 pm #1389320
Q: Is it OK for me to play pool, whether at the pool hall or at home?
A: If you go to the Billiards, then you have to know that it says in תהילים the following about you: אשרי האיש אשר לא הלך בעצת רשעים ובדרך חטאים לא עמד ובמושב לצים לא ישב – “Praiseworthy is the man who did not walk after the advice of the wicked, and on the path of the sinners he did not stand, and in the company of scoffers he did not sit” (Tehillim 1:1). A place of לצים is no place for a Jew to be. A billiards hall is a place of scoffers. People who spend their free time playing billiards are scoffing at the purpose of life. Even though you’re just going for enjoyment, let’s say. You don’t mean any harm. Still, if you’re standing among לצים then you have to know that you’re becoming a לץ. You can’t help it. You are what your environment is. Remember what I’m telling you now – you are what your environment is!
Now, if you do it because it’s פרנסה, you can’t help it. Let’s say you’re a plumber and you were hired to fix the toilet in the Billiards. OK, what can you do already?! You’ll have to pass through. But if you choose to go there, then Hashem says, “You are identified by the environment that you choose.” אשרי האיש אשר לא הלך. Absolutely, it’s wrong to go to the Billiards!
Now, you want to play billiards at home? Why play billiards? There are other, better things you can do. But you want to play billiards? OK, could be. But what about utilizing the time for something worthwhile? I would say, better take a walk. You can’t take a walk? You can’t walk at night because it’s dangerous to walk on the street? So you walk in you apartment back and forth. Open the windows in your house so you’ll have fresh air coming in, walk back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. It’s good exercise. It’s much better exercise than playing billiards. Playing billiards means that you are imitating the gentiles. Why are you imitating the gentiles?! Get exercise instead. Your feet are moving when you’re walking and your whole body is exercising. It’s much healthier for you if you walk around in the house back and forth. Much better than playing billiards.
Rav Miller, Tape # E-156October 24, 2017 9:57 pm at 9:57 pm #1389333
So here’s my question is there anything you are allowed to do just for fun?October 24, 2017 9:57 pm at 9:57 pm #1389335
Why do anything for fun? Just walk back and forth! You can’t possibly go insane from doing the same repetitive over and over again without purpose!October 24, 2017 9:57 pm at 9:57 pm #1389340
With Rav Miller’s name on it, it’s hard to disagree without being automatically accused of possible kefira.October 24, 2017 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm #1389349
I’m pretty sure he wasn’t dead serious when saying these thingsOctober 24, 2017 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm #1389350
This specific activity is a gathering place for לצים.October 24, 2017 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm #1389369
Playing pool or billiards involves lots of walking. You have to keep walking around the table to get in the proper position to make a shot.October 24, 2017 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm #1389377
Billards is actually more of a thinking game and requires some skill. Its not so easy to know exact where and how hard to hit a ball to get it into the pocketOctober 25, 2017 12:06 am at 12:06 am #1389394
Billiards are terrible; they almost caused the extinction of elephants!October 25, 2017 1:21 am at 1:21 am #1389442
Basically R’ Miller is saying that pool means trouble, with a T.
According to R’ H. Hill, the alternative to playing pool for entertainment is to learn a musical instrument and play in a band.October 25, 2017 9:27 am at 9:27 am #1389528
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.October 25, 2017 3:04 pm at 3:04 pm #1389771
The little I knowParticipant
Rav Miller was not addressing the need for leisure, recreation, or relaxation. It is clear that he specifically addressed the environment. And it is also clear that he was speaking in general about that subject, not only pool halls. How about the places where people congregate to eat chulent of Thursday nights? Is the environment one of Torah, or is it about hedonism, gluttony, olam hazeh, and allowing social interactions to deteriorate to mockery and degradation? It is necessary to recognize the message in the words of the Baal Mussar. If we miss the message, we may take it is psak halacha, which is a greater challenge to ascribe to core values, rather than a specific instruction or prohibition.October 25, 2017 3:20 pm at 3:20 pm #1389787
He was against a Pool table in ones home, not just paying pool at a pool hallOctober 25, 2017 4:16 pm at 4:16 pm #1389808
Rav Miller clearly expressed outright opposition towards a pool hall but a notably weaker suggestion to not waste time on it at home, which wasn’t an outright condemnation as was the former. Read his words carefully.October 25, 2017 4:16 pm at 4:16 pm #1389810
TLIK makes an excellent point.October 25, 2017 4:52 pm at 4:52 pm #1389822
Didnt read his answer (not allowed to now chop?). I think pool used to be considered a chill which was done mostly by empty people (king of tonys reference here). That gave it a bad vibe. Think pool isnt associated with that anymore and the mitzius may be different.
Plus, with all the options for entertainment nowadays on the left, id say pool may have ended up more towards the middle
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