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In the Hayom Yom of a few days ago, the Lubavitcher Rebbe writes,

The sins of Israel in the time of the Greeks were: Fraternizing with the Greeks, studying their culture, profaning Shabbat and Holy Days, eating t'reifa and neglecting Jewish tahara.

It is clear enough how most items on this list are sinful--"fraternizing" I could understand, on one end, as referring to eating meals or drinking wine with goyim, as we are not supposed to--but I'm really not sure what is technically wrong with "studying their culture." The only thing I can possibly imagine is that one shouldn't do that at the expense of Torah study unless there is some need. Is this what is being referred to here? Or is there something else sinful about studying Greek culture?

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    ` "studying their culture." ` I think that the problem is when a Jew try to replace Torah by an other culture, if the study of this culture doesnt not satisfy phantasm of switching torah by somewhat else, there is no problem. EG if you learn something because you need to now, to understand, no problem – kouty Jan 2 '17 at 11:04
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    somewhat related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/78214/8775. – mevaqesh Jan 2 '17 at 14:10
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The Gemara in Chagiga 15b asks why did Elisha ben Avuya (aka. Acher) go bad. The Gemara answers that Greek songs never ceased from his mouth,and that when he would get up to leave the bais medrash books of heresy would slip from his lap. It can be deduced from here that indeed Greek culture has a very negative effect on those who delve onto it. Elisha ben Avuya was considered a very learned sage in the times of the Tannaim.

  • I never said that everything is heretical,my point is that the gemara seems to hold that even parts of a culture that arent heretical are also a problem because it could lead one to the heretical aspects of the culture. The problem is being comfortable with the culture and then before you know it the person isnt shomer Torah umitzvos,unfortunately history proves this,Usually one starts with the pareve stuff and then gets drawn to minus ,I believe thats what the gemara is telling us – sam Jan 2 '17 at 15:56
  • your source doesn't justify your conclusions. You seem to be bringing in life experiences and other biases, but the text simply doesn't say all Greek books have a very negative effect on those that dwell into them. – ShamanSTK Jan 2 '17 at 16:09
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    possibly to indicate that the origin of the heretical books were from a certain Greek heresy. Again, it still doesn't follow that just because some Greek works are heretical, they all are. – ShamanSTK Jan 2 '17 at 16:36
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    How can it be deduced consider editing to clarify. – mevaqesh Jan 2 '17 at 16:39
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    @SAH that was after they translated the Torah ,and that is one of the reasons for the fast of the 10th of teves,only after the fact was that the case – sam Jan 12 '17 at 14:01

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