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Reading on Shabbos

Written by din, 8/7/2019

 

Question:

Dear Rav,
Reading science and story books give me a tremendous amount of oneg shabbos. I also have an issue that Im more prone to depression than other people. Is there a heter for me to read these books on shabbos? Of course, Ill try to spend most of my time learning.

Answer:

 

Reading books of secular knowledge is not permitted according to some opinions[1] and this seems to be the opinion of the who the Sephardim follow. However, others argue that books of knowledge are not similar to business documents and the two wont get confused and they are permitted mixed up, and this is the custom of the Ashkenazim. However, since this is the topic of controversy it is still preferable for all not to read them on Shabbos. While the custom of the Ashkenazim[2]  is to be lenient and read these books on Shabbos, the Mishnah Berurah says that a god fearing person should preferably not[3] read them. Included in books of knowledge are; Math books[4], Geography books, language books[5], encyclopedias[6].

There is an exception to this; if this knowledge is ones trade then it is not permitted because then it is like part of his business, for example an engineer may not read engineering books because this is part of his business[7].

 

 

Sources:

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Reposted with permission from https://dinonline.org/2019/07/07/reading-on-shabbos-2/

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