Project Genesis


Question: I was wondering if it says anywhere in the Torah not to look at Pornography, other than it being immodest.
Answer:  Thanks for your question. Judaism is a religion that teaches us to be careful regarding what we say, what we see, and what we do. We are careful because we are a “Holy nation.” The Torah says that this is true, but on a deeper level there is another level as well. The entire concept of war is that a national war is reflective of a personal battle. Ultimately, the struggle for good and evil comes down to the personal struggle that each of us have. If everyone in the world conquered their own personal struggle between their good inclination and their evil inclination there would be no more war.

Making the choice to look at something that is just giving into your physical desires is letting the bad side of you win. You are losing the war that is constantly going on inside you. The only reason that you want to look at a porn magazine is to get physical pleasure. There is nothing wrong with physical pleasure if it is within the laws of Torah. Once you start to give into physical pleasure just for the sake of an immediate “high” you become weaker and weaker as a moral person. It is not just immodesty. It is an issue of self restraint and power. If you can resist a temptation then you become more powerful with every second of resistance. As soon as you give in you get instantaneous pleasure that lasts for a few seconds or minutes and then turns into guilt and a looser morality.

God created the human body in His infinite wisdom and made it beautiful. That beauty is not to be denigrated to the lowly and trashy level that porn takes it to. On top of that there is another Torah reason for staying away from porn. The Torah prohibits the mistreatment of women. There is hardly anything that could be more denigrating than having someone you do not know looking at your naked body and using it for impure thoughts. Even if some immature person chooses to do this for money they do not realize the seriousness of their actions. I am telling you that porn is forbidden for many reasons. Not the least of which is the fact that the person who purchases it is putting their ethical stamp of approval on the actions that this lewdness condones.

Be Well,
Rabbi Litt

2 Follow-ups »

  1. Where exactly does the Torah “prohibit the mistreatment of women”?

    The Torah doesn’t specifically mention women, but prohibits mistreatment of anyone. (See Shaarei Teshuva from R’ Yonah of Gerundi sec. 3 #77 where he mentions the evils of mistreating women) Pornography cheapens women and causes them not to be taken seriously. Part of the success of Judaism, surviving and thriving longer than any other religion or culture in the world, is the great importance that the Torah attaches to the Jewish woman. See Deuteronomy 24:5. See Talmud Berachos 17a, Yevamos 63a, and Bava Metzia 59a (there the Talmud warns men not to verbally harm women.). See Rambam (Maimonides) Laws of Women ch. 15:19. There are countless other sources to numerous to mention.

    Rabbi Meir Goldberg

    Comment by ATR — August 2, 2006 @ 2:04 pm

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