... It would have been fitting for us to intensify our Torah study in order to be saved from the “birth-pangs of Moshiach.” Yet due to our numerous sins, the opposite is the case, and the evil inclination has overcome us greatly. It seeks devices and schemes to trap us in the sin of neglecting Torah study. The schemes that it used against us throughout our exile in the past are not adequate for it, and it brings new ones that did not occur to us until recent times.
For example, reading the newspapers, which has become widely prevalent nowadays. How can the reader not spend at least an hour reading them? Sometimes, since he is known to all as a reader who knows the current events, several people will ask him what he has heard, and he will relate everything to them in great detail, and in the meantime he idles away even more time on this. There are many other people who do not suffice with reading one newspaper; instead, they read three or four newspapers of every kind, and spend several hours each day on this. In the course of a full year, all these hours accumulate into many hundreds of hours that passed in vain, bringing no benefit to the body, never mind to the Neshamah.
This is all insofar as the neglect of Torah study that results from reading the newspapers is concerned. However, they often contain words of mockery, gossip, talebearing, and strife [that are forbidden to read]. Were there no people who would read it, then it wouldn’t be printed. No one notices this, and yet they will all share the blame for it when they are summoned to give a reckoning before the Throne of Glory.
Zachor LeMiriam p. 50.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Newspapers: A ploy of the evil inclination
It was pointed out to me that the Chofetz Chaim, obm, in his sefer “Zachor LeMiriam,” expresses similar sentiments concerning newspapers to those quoted from the Rebbe in an earlier post. Below is a translation.