Rav Avigdor Miller on Playing Pool and Taking Walks

Is it OK for me to play pool, whether at the pool hall or at home?

If you go to the Billiards, then you have to know that it says in תהילים the following about you: אשרי האיש אשר לא הלך בעצת רשעים ובדרך חטאים לא עמד ובמושב לצים לא ישב – “Praiseworthy is the man who did not walk after the advice of the wicked, and on the path of the sinners he did not stand, and in the company of scoffers he did not sit” (Tehillim 1:1). A place of לצים is no place for a Jew to be. A billiards hall is a place of scoffers. People who spend their free time playing billiards are scoffing at the purpose of life. Even though you’re just going for enjoyment, let’s say. You don’t mean any harm. Still, if you’re standing among לצים then you have to know that you’re becoming a לץ. You can’t help it. You are what your environment is. Remember what I’m telling you now – you are what your environment is!

Now, if you do it because it’s פרנסה, you can’t help it. Let’s say you’re a plumber and you were hired to fix the toilet in the Billiards. OK, what can you do already?! You’ll have to pass through. But if you choose to go there, then Hashem says, “You are identified by the environment that you choose.” אשרי האיש אשר לא הלך. Absolutely, it’s wrong to go to the Billiards!

Now, you want to play billiards at home? Why play billiards? There are other, better things you can do. But you want to play billiards? OK, could be. But what about utilizing the time for something worthwhile? I would say, better take a walk. You can’t take a walk? You can’t walk at night because it’s dangerous to walk on the street? So you walk in you apartment back and forth. Open the windows in your house so you’ll have fresh air coming in, walk back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. It’s good exercise. It’s much better exercise than playing billiards. Playing billiards means that you are imitating the gentiles. Why are you imitating the gentiles?! Get exercise instead. Your feet are moving when you’re walking and your whole body is exercising. It’s much healthier for you if you walk around in the house back and forth. Much better than playing billiards.

TAPE # E-156