Friday, June 19, 2009

Listening to Secular Music that is Bible Based In the Bathroom

We all know the halacha that states that divrei Torah should not be thought about while in the bathroom. However, I'm curious about secular material based on divrei Torah.

This question came to hanut me this past week, I was listening to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on my MP3 player while working around the house. At one point I needed to go to the bathroom and, without thinking about it, continued to listen to Joseph.

Now, I don't want to say that Joseph is a "davar sheb'kedusha;" I'm fairly certain it's not. But it can very easily lead one to think about the personages and the story involved -- and that clearly DOES count as divrei Torah.

So, where does one draw the line between the secular and permitted and the holy and the not permitted? When the secular and the holy are sort of mixed in this fashion, where is the dividing line.

(Related question: Can one discuss think about the recently canceled NBC series Kings in the bathroom).

The Wolf

10 comments:

The Leader, Garnel Ironheart said...

THEY CANCELLED KINGS!?!?!

Actually, nothing goes better with defecation than "I'm a lumberjack" by Jackal.

BrooklynWolf said...

Sadly, yes, they canceled Kings. It's a shame... it was quite interesting.

The Wolf

frumheretic said...

I don't have this problem as much as with what seems to be an innocent book or mag. Sittin' down, all comfy with my reading material, and OOPS - there's a Bible quote or some discussion of a religious topic. If it's a browser-type book (like Uncle John's), I just flip the page, but if it's a linear-read it usually gets closed up and removed as bathroom reading.

ProfK said...

Er Wolf, hate to nitpick, but your last question about Kings raises some interesting scenarios. Discussion, by definition, requires two or more people. So presumably if two people are present in the bathroom none of the activities we generally associate with bathrooms are going to be taking place. Since they aren't taking place then why would the discussion not be allowed? Is it bathrooms as a location where thoughts of Torah are not allowed or is it that one should not think of Torah while engaged in basic bathroom activities.

BrooklynWolf said...

Sigh... Some of us are crazy enough to talk to ourselves too. :)

Nonetheless, I'll concede the point. The post has been modified.

The Wolf

David said...

Well, since you never know when you might have a Torah-related thought (or even start humming a secular tune that may be Bible-based), many of the Gedolei Yisroel now hold that it's best not to go to the bathroom at all.

E-Man said...

My rabbi in high school said it is ok to go through gemorah notes that we took while we are in the bathroom. I think the main issur is thinking about G-D in the bathroom. However, reading bible stories and things would probably be permitted.

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

in college i avoided reading my geology textbooks in the bathroom. ma rabu ma‘asékha Hashem and all that.

Anonymous said...

what about when you listen to JM in the AM when you get up. if you put on the radio in the bedroom, what about hearing it in the bathroom or toilet room

LeahGG said...

I always had an issue with my dad davening at the top of his lungs when I was trying to use the bathroom...