What should be the reaction of an orthodox Jew towards participating in sports and watching sports? This includes watching games in person and also on TV.
We’ll start with the last. On TV don’t watch anything because TV immediately switches from innocuous things like sports to crime and to immorality and to avodah zarah; and therefore the best way when you’re in front of a TV set is to pick up your right foot and give a kick into the glass. Smash your TV set and become a happy man. I really mean that. That’s the best thing you can do.
Of course if your wife is violently opposed, you must use some persuasion. If you can buy a diamond ring, a $2000 diamond ring as compensation, believe me it’s a bargain. To get all those goyim out of your house?! It’s a bargain! All those goyim who stick their head through that little window. Suppose a goy stuck his head in your window every evening and he gabbed. He gabbed for an hour or two. “Get out of here! I’ll call the police!” You’d throw a brick at his face. So take a brick and throw it at his face here too.
Now sports. It depends what sport. If sports are played for the prestige of the uniform, it’s a silly gentile thing. You watch a boy strutting down the street dressed in a lacrosse uniform. You ever see a lacrosse uniform? You don’t know what lacrosse is? It’s a game played by high schools and colleges. And he’s all covered with helmets and padded things all over him and he’s a hero. He has a halo of sanctity around him. That’s what they think. They think sports is something noble. So this garbage we have to get out of our head. There’s nothing noble about holding a stick and smacking a baseball. There’s nothing noble about it. There’s nothing heroic about it.
However, if it’s done for exercise then there’s no question. You don’t need me to tell you. If it’s not too strenuous, exercise is very good. However, it would be even better if you went for a forty-five minutes brisk walk. Not in the nighttime and not on lonely streets but a brisk walk in the fresh air, that’s the best sport and the best exercise. And while you’re doing that, you can be thinking about all the things that make you happy in this world. Whereas if you’re banging around a ball or doing some other things, that keeps your mind busy on small things. The time is entirely wasted.
Watching sports, is 100% waste of time unless you need it for mental therapy. Now a lot of people need it for mental therapy. But don’t buy a television set because you’re going to get other things that are the opposite of therapy. They’ll get you more mixed up. And therefore we say no to television. Other things, anything that keeps you busy is good for therapy.
Now if you listen to me, now I’m not much of a chacham, but from my limited experience ladies are making a big mistake by moping around the house. If you don’t have a lot of children in the house, you should take up dressmaking. Now ladies, you should listen to me. First of all, you could get tzniusdige dresses. It’s hard to buy good dresses. You make them yourself and you’ll save a pile of money. And your mind will come back to normal. You’ll forget about your ailments. Instead of visiting this doctor and that doctor, you’ll come back to good health after a while. You’ll be surprised how dressmaking will put you back on your feet.
Your daughters too. It’s a good thing to teach girls dressmaking. Everybody should be busy. Being idle means bringing on sickness, mental and physical. And therefore if sports keeps you busy, in itself it’s a good thing. But forget about the ideals of sports and the glamor of sports.
TAPE # 48 (April 1974)