There are many people that have desire (ta'ava) for news - whether it's world, local, tech, social (facebook, twitter), etc. I'm trying to understand where that comes from.

Note: It's not specifically news, it could be email, etc. Just something that is not critical that I check but I keep going back to it. Also, I'm not talking about forbidden news (lashon hara, immoral subject, etc), just the desire to keep what might otherwise be reasonable for me to read, but the need to check it more often than is reasonable.

Is it just a yetzer ha'ra for bitul zman/Torah or something else?

  • Curiosity [...]
    – mevaqesh
    May 23, 2017 at 13:31
  • 2
    What is a fallen desire?
    – mevaqesh
    May 23, 2017 at 13:35
  • 1
    Why the downvote?
    – Yehosef
    May 23, 2017 at 14:11
  • 2
    Clarifications should be included in the post itself.
    – mevaqesh
    May 23, 2017 at 14:27
  • 1
    In general for a user to see your comments, you should include his/her username in the comment with a @ in front of it, like @mevaqesh. I can't reverse the downvote, since I wasn't the voter. Regardless, editing sources in is a proper form.
    – mevaqesh
    May 23, 2017 at 14:38

2 Answers 2


Rav Kalonymous Kalman Shapira, the Rebbe of Piaseczna remarked in his journal (published as Tzav v'Ziruz which can be found in the back of his second sefer on chinuch Hachsharas Avreichim) that:

The human soul relishes sensation, not only if it is a pleasant feeling but for the very experience of stimulation. Sooner sadness or some deep pain rather than the boredom of non-stimulation. People will watch distressing scenes and listen to heartrending stories just to get stimulation. Such is human nature and a need of the soul, just like all its other needs and natures; so he who is clever will fulfill this need with passionate prayer and Torah learning. But the soul whose divine service is without emotion will have to find its stimulation elsewhere: It will either be driven to cheap, even forbidden, sensation or will become emotionally ill from lack of stimulation.

The Rebbe is describing a psychological/spiritual phenomenon which he presents as axiomatic. Its intent is presumably to be used in service of God but if not satisfied in a healthy way will necessarily be drawn to frivolous and even harmful matters.

  • 1
    What an amazing insight! May 23, 2017 at 15:05
  • This is a great answer - thanks! I'm selecting it, but I think there may be another more primary/earlier source. So if anyone has more suggestions, please add.
    – Yehosef
    May 23, 2017 at 21:00
  • Does this answer why a person has a specific desire for news vs history or a novel?
    – user6591
    May 24, 2017 at 0:05

I heard a shiur from Rabbi Nissan Kaplan where he describes this as a yetzer hara of thinking "this is my world", therefore "I need to know what's happenning in my world".

see also Zohar Nasso 126 (my translation):

"A man walks in this world and he thinks that it will be his forever, and that he will remain in it for all time"


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