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From my understanding a torah scroll written by a heretic has no sanctity and should be burned (Gittin 45b). May one read torah related material, written by a heretic but that contains nothing heretical, in the bathroom? Similarly may one read the koran in the bathroom since the Koran contains references to Allah which is ostensibly the same thing as Hashem (as opposed to "in God we trust" on currency which is a generic term)?

possibly related - Is there any difference between Jewish G-d and Muslim G-d?

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rachav, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks very much for the intriguing question! Please consider registering your account, which will give you access to more of the site's features. –  Isaac Moses May 11 '12 at 15:08

2 Answers 2

A Torah scroll which is written by a heretic should be burned ,like you said. However, if one did not burn it and brought it into the bathroom that's also fine,but once one starts thinking about Torah in the bathroom that becomes a forbidden act (Shulchan Aruch OC 85:2). A Torah written by a heretic is not holy but if it is exactly the same as a kosher version then learning from it will bring thoughts of divrei Torah.

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did I not answer the question? –  sam May 11 '12 at 22:01
Not my downvote, but a source would help your case. –  Seth J May 13 '12 at 1:25
I based my answer from the Shulchan Aruch I added ,if it will bring true Torah Thoughts then it is assur . Some even hold bringing ksav asheris into the bathroom is assur,but many disagree. –  sam May 13 '12 at 18:30

Rabbi Nachman from Bratslav teaches that a person should always minimize his or her time spent in the "throne room" because of the spiritual impurities present in filthy places. Likewise, Rabbi Mordechai Machlis once told us that Rabbi Avigdor Miller (a teacher of his) would keep in his bathroom a copy of the New Testament (i.e. Christian scripture) and Quran. Ostensibly, even if he would read them, he would probably take care of his "business" as quickly as possible in order for him to get out of the place of spiritual deficiencies. It perhaps may be permissible because they do indeed contain heresy, which is spiritually impure, which is allowed in the bathroom. Not that it is necessarily required to read them in the bathroom. Tzarich iyun.

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So he kept a copy of the NT, but not the OT. Can we infer from here that the answer to one of the questions above (whether it's permissible to read Torah material written by a heretic) is that it's impermissible? (Well, no, that's not a good inference. But the opposite seems to me to be an even worse inference.) –  msh210 May 11 '12 at 16:15
@Adam Mosheh Well there is heresy within the sects of Judaism then what you would say aout that! Orthodox Judaism considers Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism to be heretical movements, and regards most of Conservative Judaism as heretical. –  Maxood May 11 '12 at 16:53
@Adam Mosheh So "Blasphemy" is allowed or even encouraged in Judaism...right? –  Maxood May 11 '12 at 16:54
Does Orthodox Judaism forbid going to the bathroom? According to R' Nachaman, there are inherent spiritual impurities there anyway! It is what is known as a yerida letzorech aliya. –  Adam Mosheh May 11 '12 at 16:56
@Maxood - We do encourage asking questions, but only allow quality answers that make sense (i.e. do not contradict our tradition). And it would be allowed to read them in the bathroom, but not read the words aloud because speaking is forbidden in the bathroom. Blasphemy by definition can only be accomplished via talking, not thinking. –  Adam Mosheh May 11 '12 at 16:59

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