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This Shabbat afternoon England play a massive World Cup match that is obviously being broadcast on Television.

I understand that Poskim prohibit the watching of TV (without sound) on Shabbat primarily because it is not in the spirit of Shabbat as discussed Television on Shabbos

For many British Jews however, it will be more agonising and more likely to ruin their shabbat experience if they do not watch the game - however sad people may think that is, it is a reality. Many will also resent the fact that it is Shabbat since it is preventing them from watching the game. Is there any scope to therefore be lenient with regards to leaving the TV on from before Shabbat for those that will have their Shabbat experience ruined by not being able to watch the game and will be Plutzing for the last 6 hours of the day because they don't know the score?

Thank you

closed as off-topic by DonielF, mbloch, Danny Schoemann, sabbahillel, Joel K Jul 5 '18 at 5:42

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  • I think you're assuming that its relaxing to watch England play football! – bondonk Jul 4 '18 at 13:56
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    Well it certainly isn't fast paced stuff! The England Team seem very Machmir on “Im Tashiv MiShabbat Raglecha” :) – JoeL Jul 4 '18 at 14:00
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    LOL, but seriously, the wisest thing is to realize that there shouldn't be something in our life that can override enjoying Shabbos in its spirit. – David Kenner Jul 4 '18 at 14:36
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    A modern day twist on the Medrash/Yerushalmi Shabbos about Tur Shimon being destroyed because of ball playing (or some say, watching the ball game) on Shabbos. Nothing new under the Sun... – user4751 Jul 4 '18 at 14:40
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    Bill Shankly said 'Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.' – Avrohom Yitzchok Jul 4 '18 at 14:51
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The OP sounds like a Hashkafah (outlook) question and not a truly Halachic one. IMHO There are various opinions in Halachah on how a Rav should deal with a person, based on their level of observance, in such a situation. An individual Rabbi might be strict or lenient, depending on the (perceived spiritual) level and situation of the person asking this question. So someone should consult their Rabbi for a ruling.

My answer will focus on my experience in Hashkafah with this type of question.

When I was in high school, R' Akiva Greenberg of Vishnitz taught me that one aspect of the benefit of Shabbos is that Hashem gave us the gift of being in control of our own life. We could be slaves, but Shabbos frees us. He gave an example: Most people will by habit answer a ringing phone. The phone rings and we run so we don't miss a call. Its "important". Shabbos comes in and says: "Nothing is more important than owning yourself." So for instance on Shabbos the phone rings and we realize it doesn't matter at all; because our lives are more important and whatever it is can just wait. There is a G-d watching over us and nothing is that important (unless its saving a human life; which G-d has asked us to be involved with Him in case it comes up. This is not because G-d "needs us" to save someone, but because He wants us to do what's truly important).

He told me that when he was a boy, Rockafeller center's building would close for business one day a year (which did not fall out on any holiday at all). The reason the owner gave for this was: "I want to show that we own this building, and therefore we decided one day a year we close."

The most important way to exercise "ownership" and to "be your own boss" is to exercise the power of NOT using something. Shabbos is the gift that teaches us just that. Are you proud of your hobby, or does your hobby own you? If your favorite show is on, do you have to watch it? Really? Why? You may want to watch it, and it may be good to have fun sometimes and enjoy life by tasting all kinds of good things and experiences... but not if you MUST, or else you will have withdrawal symptoms or resent missing it. Then it owns you. Really, you need to own it.

Shabbos teaches you that your time, your friends, your family, and your own growth and ability to own your mind and heart, are of the greatest importance.

Therefore, the teaching is that even if the game fell out on a Wednesday night, its still ok to "miss it" if you realize you do have something of greater value to accomplish instead. OR You may watch the game and enjoy, as long as it was your choice that time and you can easily miss the next one if you need to; because you are more important than any game.

The OP says: "those that will have their Shabbat experience ruined by not being able to watch the game"

Actually, no ... They will have their Shabbat experience ruined if they DO watch the game! Their game experience will also be more enjoyable if they willingly detach from it for more important things. That way when they do watch, they own the game time; so its more enjoyable. This is because enjoyment from choice feels more satisfying than enjoyment from fulfilling addiction.

BTW, the OP says: "and will be Plutzing for the last 6 hours of the day because they don't know the score?"

So since the case is that they can spend Shabbos afternoon without having non-Jewish neighbors run around informing everyone in the streets about the score, then not knowing is fine. Just pre-tape, the game, or watch a re-run on the internet after Shabbos, without asking about the score. Then it will be just as if you watched it a few hours earlier, just without all the commercials!

Get a designated person to volunteer to take care of recording it and have a Sat. night party at his house with pretzels and beer.

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    Does this address the question. The questioner wanted to know if there is any way that it would be okay to watch the game on Shabbat. Your answer tells him that he shouldn't want to watch it, that he would be better of not watching it, etc. but I see no discussion of whether it is actually okay to watch it. – Alex Jul 4 '18 at 17:50
  • The OP asked if there is any "scope for being lenient". He also linked to the fact that "poskim prohibit the watching of tv". I answered in my first paragraph that there in fact exists a "scope" which depends on each individual Rav knowing the "level" of observance of the one asking, and how to handle it. Its a person/by person inquiry and is more Hashkafah than straight Halachah. The OP ddid not ask for the poskim who give a heter or how the details of some such heter works etc. – David Kenner Jul 4 '18 at 19:30
  • If he's asking for a discussion of the halacha, telling him to ask his rabbi is not an answer. If he's asking for a specific ruling for himself in this situation then the correct procedure is not to post an answer telling him to ask his rabbi, but to close the question in accordance with the off-topic reason of asking for a practical ruling. – Alex Jul 4 '18 at 19:49
  • He didn't ask for a discussion of the Halachah. He didn't ask for a ruling. He asked if there exists "any scope" . The proper answer is that yes, the "scope" is to discuss the Hashkafa of the tv on shabbos issue with individual Rabbis. He then spent the vast majority of the post discussing potential feelings of people who find that "Shabbos" clashes with their "enjoyment of a game". My answer addressed that because in essence that is what the OP wanted to put forth. As a member of the MY community, I believe IMHO that such falls under the definition of a good answer when appropriate. – David Kenner Jul 4 '18 at 20:52
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    If you disagree that's fine. I don't see the rules of this site to be so narrow. Rather, I believe when appropriate, an answer serves everyone by responding to all of a post's concerns. – David Kenner Jul 4 '18 at 20:54

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