Is someone allowed to read Shakespeare, as Shakespeare was an anti-Semite (ex/ Merchant of Venice)?

Is someone's not allowed to, what should he do if he's in a situation where he cannot avoid it, such as a school?

  • 1
    Who exactly was not anti-Semit (apart from Jews) at this time? I want to ask, are you sure that Shekespeare was particularly antisemite, or he was as most non-Jew at this time.
    – kouty
    Sep 5, 2016 at 12:35
  • 5
    That's why I don't read Ma Tovu at schacharis. Sep 5, 2016 at 12:38
  • 2
    @kouty, it was said by the anti semite, Billam.
    – Yishai
    Sep 5, 2016 at 12:44
  • 4
    Actually, Shakespeare was not really an anti-Semite. When Merchant of Venice is properly staged, the anti-Semites are actually held up for ridicule and Shylock is actually shown to be a victim. For example the hypocrisy of the Quality of mercy speech, the final court ruling and the seduction of his daughter. Sep 5, 2016 at 13:26
  • 3
    There is no prohibition.
    – mevaqesh
    Sep 5, 2016 at 14:18

1 Answer 1


A Ma'aseh Rav permitting this is Rav Zevin's halachic essay (in Le'or Hahalacha) on the very book you discuss. He obviously found it permissible to read and write about, so I can't imagine it would be prohibited...

  • 1
    Correct me if I’m wrong, the essay doesn’t betray that R. Zevin was familiar with the entire narrative -and possibly may not have read it- rather he deals with the plot’s (Shylock’s) central monetary arrangement from a halachic perspective.
    – Oliver
    Jan 23, 2019 at 1:39

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