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In perusing Rav Moshe Tzuriel's Otzros Hamussar (page 1125, here), I noticed a section in which he writes strongly against participation in (and watching) the Chidon Hatanach, and also cites Rabbi Yechezkel Sarna as feeling the same way when a student in Chevron Yeshiva wanted to participate in it.

His reasoning is that it has turned Torah into a game, which is inappropriate. He also cites a passage from Sefer Chassidim which supports such an argument.

So, which other poskim have written about whether or not it is permitted to take part in/watch the Chidon Hatanach, and what was their response and reasoning?

  • 1
    Do you not agree/like his reasons? Or do you want more of the same reasons or new opposing ones? – Dr. Shmuel May 20 at 21:24
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    I feel like I've been a part of Torah games every single Pesach Seder. – Double AA May 20 at 21:26
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    Surely some even consider this website a Torah game @doubleaa – Dr. Shmuel May 20 at 21:27
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    "מלקטים אסופות תיבות ע"פ דימוי חיצוני בלבד"?? What's wrong with that? It's important data towards developing parallels and subtle differences between parts of Tanach. – Heshy May 20 at 23:46
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    לולי תורתך שעשעי – Joel K May 21 at 9:27
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I did a quick search and came up with the following two responsa:

Teshuvos Vehanhagos 1:548 (found here) forbids it, based on the fact that it is dangerous to interact and join together with the heretics that run it, and also that it supports those who interpret Tanach against traditional interpretations:

שאלה:

נשאלתי אם מותר להשתתף בחידון תנ"ך.

נראה שהדבר אסור בהחלט.

ראשית שהדבר עלול להזיק מאד לנער הנבחן שכן,המשתתפים בו וכן הבוחנים,מהם כופרים גמורים שלמדוהו ע"י מלמדים מעכו"ם ומפרשים אותו כפשוטו כספר מעשיות שהוא נגד קבלת חז"ל ר"ל.

ועתה שילך עמם וישב איתם בצוותא ויתחבר עמהם יכול הוא מאד להזיק לאמונתו ויהדותו.

ועוד,שבזה מחזקים את ידם לקיים התנ"ך שלא על פי חז"ל,וזהו מינות ממש.

ובלימוד תנ"ך כפשוטו עלולים לגשם דברי נבואה ונביאים ולקלקל בזה כל השקפות וחינוך הנערים.

והשתתפות כזאת ביחד של החפשיים או אפילו עכו"ם עם חרדים,מעולם לא הביא ברכה,ואנו עם לבדד ישכון.

וכיון שדרך האדם להתפעל ולהיות נמשך מסביבתו וכמבואר ברמב"ם פרק ו דדעות,על כן חייבים להתרחק מחברה זאת,ואין להשתתף בחידון המתוכנן.

Surprisingly, a similar conclusion is drawn by Rabbi Dov Vellner in a long responsum on Tzomet's website here. On page 9 he explains that it is prohibited to be in a Chidon together with non-Jews, and on page 12 he writes that it is prohibited to participate alongside those who reject Torah and Mitzvot, and says that it would even be prohibited to listen to the Chidon.

However, in Gilyonos Derech Hashem 001-070 page 267 (found on Otzar Hachochma), Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef mentions that his father used to listen to the Chidon Hatanach:

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  • If the word "heretics" is used in the responsum in Teshuvos Vehanhagos, you should put it in quotation marks and probably also include TV"H's justification for that designation. – Isaac Moses May 22 at 20:29
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A partial answer.

There is a man named @Alex. He is known to possess large amounts of Jewish law and literature. He teaches a Talmud Daf Yomi class. He has also participated in the Chidon Tanach. I don't know if he would agree with others participating, but it seems reasonable to say that he would agree to it personally. Although he is not a known posek, it is likely he has a sort of qualifying semicha. His comments on the above link would demonstrate some of his opinions on the topic in writing, though not formally written.

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