I received a very interesting email today from my friend A Simple Jew. He wanted to inform me of something he'd learned this morning:
Love stories are forbidden to be read on Shabbos. Even to look at them without uttering words is forbidden....Love stores have an additional prohibition because they entice the yetzer hara.
(Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 90:13)
For those who aren't familiar with "yetzer hara"...that's your evil side, the evil inclinations you might display. We are each bestowed with a yetzer tov and a yetzer hara. May the better yetzer reign!
Wow, to think that I spent years in the romance arena and never knew this. Okay, I didn't work on Shabbos, nor did I have the inclination to spend my precious weekends reading these books that I worked on five days a week,. But just think of those Jewish working girls or housewives who want some escapist literature on the weekends. They reach onto their night tables or shelves for some Nora Roberts, some Jennifer Weiner, or any other top-selling romance fiction or chick-lit author.
Nuh-uh-uh...not so fast....!
Put that book down, lady! Slowly back away from that torrid romance, that dog-eared covered paperback you've been "enjoying" so much in your evenings. Today is Shabbos. You may not touch that book. Don't look at it, don't talk about it, don't even think about it. A pure no-no.
I'm the thought police. And you just never know where your thoughts could lead...
So I entice you to pick up the Jewish Week, pick up Jewish Action, pick up the Jewish Press, pick up the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, pick up Moment magazine. But whatever you do, DON'T pick up that romance novel.
Now go and have yourself a good Shabbos, ya hear?