November 5, 2017 1:51 pm at 1:51 pm #1395808
Rav Avigdor Miller on Eating Apples From the Toilet Bowl (June 1986)
Q: Is it permissible to take out fiction books, kosher fiction books, from the public library to read?
A: It’s like asking, “Suppose an apple fell into a toilet bowl, can I take it out to eat it? It’s a kosher apple, can I eat it?” Well, it might be the most beautiful apple, but you’re taking it from a dirty toilet. It’s going to depend on what else is in the toilet. There might still be certain books in the library that are still readable, but you have to know that once you walk in there you immediately smell the odor of צואה, of excretement. The library today is a foul place more than ever before.
And therefore, its recommended that you stay out in order that your garments should not be redolent with the fragrance of the public library. Because the books are terrible today. Children should be trained to stay away. Nobody should let their child play with excrement.
And I want to tell you that it’s a big error of the principals of the English Departments of the Yeshivos and Bais Yaakov schools, when they give children assignments to go to the library. It’s irresponsible. Maybe twenty years ago, but not today. So the principals, the men and women principals of the English Departments of the Yeshivos and the Bais Yaakovs, should no longer send their pupils to the libraries.
TAPE # 598 (June 1986)November 6, 2017 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm #1397230👑RebYidd23Participant
The library saved my life.November 6, 2017 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm #1397229
Would anyone like an apple? A library book, perhaps?November 6, 2017 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm #1397238👑RebYidd23Participant
If libraries wouldn’t exist, I wouldn’t exist.November 7, 2017 12:09 am at 12:09 am #1397260🍫Syag LchochmaParticipant
hypocrisy, you wear it well. If sitting on a kosher website isn’t apples from a toilet bowl then what is.November 7, 2017 12:12 am at 12:12 am #1397261November 7, 2017 1:04 am at 1:04 am #1397269SpreadthetruthParticipant
Libraries have ruined many people over the years. But those who are not sensitive to what a dirtied neshama means, would not understand.November 7, 2017 1:04 am at 1:04 am #1397271
Hmph.November 7, 2017 8:33 am at 8:33 am #1397300yitzykParticipant
Rebyud, we would love to hear the story!November 7, 2017 9:46 am at 9:46 am #1397335
Syag, to understand your point better can you clarify how you see a filtered internet (assuming good filters) is worse or the same as an unfiltered library with the worst kinds of books, videos, and unfiltered online content?
Yasher KoachNovember 7, 2017 6:49 pm at 6:49 pm #1398728
Is that the way to convince somebody? If I like books and I like reading and I like libraries, but you think that libraries are bad, then will you change my point of view by belittling libraries and comparing them to toilets?November 7, 2017 7:22 pm at 7:22 pm #1398737DovidBTParticipant
We say a blessing after using a toilet. We don’t say a blessing after using a library.November 7, 2017 8:33 pm at 8:33 pm #1398744
Shkoyach! I like the mashal. I would also add that if someone is really hungry, he might eat the apple. Same with the library. I think that answers some of the above objections. I’m sure there are people whose lives have been saved by eating apples from the toilet bowl.November 7, 2017 9:15 pm at 9:15 pm #1398777
Mrs. Plony – if you don’t think that there is any problem with libraries to start with, it probably won’t change your mind. But if you already realize that there are things in the library that are problematic but you feel that you need to use it, this might make you think twice about whether or not you really need to use it or need to use it as much.
Also, even if someone falls in the first category, if he is an open-minded person, he might stop and think, “Why is Rav Miller even thinking of comparing a library to a toilet? What is the similarity? Are there things in a library atmosphere that are problematic and might be better to avoid if possible?”November 8, 2017 2:08 am at 2:08 am #1398856
We go shopping in grocery stores that sell kosher food alongside the non-kosher food. We shop in department stores that sell acceptable items alongside non-tznius clothing. We each have to decide for ourselves which items we can buy and which ones we can’t. Every adult has to trust his or her own judgment.
I personally have given a lot of thought as to whether I and my children should visit public libraries, and what we should and shouldn’t read. It was not an off-handed or emotional decision.
This lecture just comes across as ‘holier-than-thou’ posturing and an attempt to stifle independent thought.November 8, 2017 7:06 pm at 7:06 pm #1399298
I see the problem with public libraries as being the “tumah” that one is inevitably exposed to in both sights and sounds. I think that one should always try to avoid being in places where they will see or hear things that are inappropriate. This can apply to any not-Frum location, whether it’s a clothing store or a pharmacy, or grocery store. That is why I think that all of those places should be avoided if/when possible.
Obviously, each person has to make his own decisions when it comes to these things, and there are many factors involved, including the person’s level of sensitivity, how bad the particular place is, the person’s needs, and the alternatives available. Each person has to think things through and make his own decision regarding his actions.
But regardless of my particular choices that are based on my thinking things through, I can still acknowledge the fact that there is a level of sensitivity at which one considers entering a place that has any inappropriate sights or sounds similar to eating an apple from a toilet bowl. I might not be at that level, or I may have a need that takes priority, but I can still acknowledge that the level of sensitivity exists, even if I’m either not holding by it or it’s impractical for me.
So the way I understand the quote, it is not being holier-than-thou and an attempt to stifle independent thought. And I think that anyone who is confident in his decision-making process need not look at it that way.
btw, this is being typed up in a public library. And yes, I thought about it first. And yes, I do try to avoid the library when I can. And it doesn’t bother me that I am doing something that was compared to eating apples from the toilet.November 8, 2017 7:43 pm at 7:43 pm #1399315
I just realized that my last sentence was phrased incorrectly. What I meant was: It doesn’t bother that what I’m doing was compared to eating apples from a toilet.
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