Hello. I hope you all had an easy fast and meaningful day. During the davening, I was thinking about this, and I want to hear Jews on the internet’s take on this:
So the Torah has commandments – stuff we can do and stuff we can’t. But if our purpose and reason of existence in the world is to learn Torah, do mitzvot, and improve ourselves, then what’s the point of spending time on anything else? It isn’t fulfilling our purpose – the reason Hashem sent us to this world – so isn’t it a waste of time that could be used productively for Torah and mitzvot? I know that most opinions in the Talmud and Pirkei Avot is that you need to work enough to make enough money to support yourself and your family. Also, you need to support your family and raise your kids well, so you can spend time on that. But other than work and family, is there any other reason to do and learn things that don’t fulfill our mission (Torah, mitzvot, maasim tovim, etc.)? I understand we’re allowed to according to the Torah, but should we?
I also remember today reading a piece in the Artscroll Machzor commentary on the Torah reading in the afternoon about forbidden relationships. On the words “ובחוקותיהם לא תלכו,” “in their ‘laws’ you shall not walk,” Artscroll said based on rashi (I looked it up, Rashi basically said the same thing) that this means we aren’t allowed to emulate the Egyptian and Canaani social customs, which are considered like laws to them, such as going to theaters and race courses. I can’t tell if this comment is referring just to those cultures at that time or any nation, but it seems clear that the principle would still apply. So should we not participate in modern, non Jewish culture like movies or sports? They seem like they would fit under this category, and the above reason still would apply right?
I’m not saying I necessarily believe in these points. Considering there are hundreds of thousands of observant Jews who do things besides for work, family, and Torah, and that go to movie theaters, I’m going to assume someone reasoned it’s allowed. I just want to know why.