11. [The following applies to] drawings or portraits on a wall or tablet with captions beneath them which read: "this is a picture of such and such;" it is forbidden to read the caption on Shabbos, or even to scan it with one's eyes without reading it aloud (1). Similarly, it is forbidden on Shabbos to read, or even scan with one's eyes, books about wars ("sifrei milchamos"), histories of Gentile kings, books of secular parables and proverbs, such as, the "book of Emanuel" (2) and certainly erotic literature ("divrei cheishek"), even if they are written in Hebrew (3). Reading erotic literature violates an additional prohibition, because through it one arouses sexual desire ("megareh yetzer harah be'atzmoh"). However, history books from which ethical lessons and fear of G-d can be learned, such as the "Book of Josephus", and the like, may be read even on Shabbos, and even when they are not written in Hebrew. Nevertheless, it is not appropriate to spend too much time on them during Shabbos (4).
(1) This was prohibited so that one would not come to read business documents (see HY 90:10).
(2) Emanuel ben Shlomo of Rome wrote the "Machberos" ("compositions") in the fourteenth century C.E
(3) As we saw in HY 90:10, there is a prohibition against reading business documents on Shabbos. As a safeguard, the Sages also prohibited reading certain types secular books and materials on Shabbos, so that one won't come to read business documents. There are many disputes as to what secular reading materials are included in this prohibition; for specific details, ask your local Rabbi (also,see the Shulchan Aruch 307:16 and the Mishna Berura; "Shmiras Shabbos Ke'Hilchosoh" 29:45-47; "The Shabbos Home" by Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen, pg 53).
(4) The Talmud states that one of the great advantages of Shabbos is so that people who have to work the entire week will have time to devote themselves to Torah study.
Halacha-Yomi, Copyright (c) 2002 Project Genesis, Inc.
KEDOSHIM AND THE OMER:
Everybody's a Dreamer – Everybody's a Star
Jon Erlbaum - 0
Not Every Thing is Spelled Out in Shulchan Aruch
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771
Motherhood & Shabbos Pie
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759
Seeking Counsel - When and Where
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763
It's None of Your Business
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5759
"Peripheral Events" May be the Focus of Divine Providence
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766
The Reason The Torah Prohibits Marrying Two Sisters
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5770
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771
Be a Holy Nation!
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757
More Power To You
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5763
On One Foot
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5761
In the "Judging Business"
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760
Rabbi Label Lam - 5760
Lag B'Omer & The Big Picture
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770