Are Pirated Videos Kosher?

Sunday, 16 August, 2020 - 8:02 pm


We are stuck at home a lot these days, so we end up watching a lot of videos. My parents don't like us watching random YouTubes, and all our DVD's are scratched, so we mostly rent Jewish videos online. But today my friend sent me a link that has heaps of Jewish videos for free! I was so excited that we don't have to rent anymore. But then my father said it might be stealing to watch these videos. I can't see the problem. The videos are there anyway even if we don't watch them. And all my friends do it all the time. So what's the issue? My father said I should ask you.


What do your parents have against YouTube? It's free and easy. Why would they spend their hard earned money on Jewish rentals when there is a convenient option that costs nothing?

Let me take a guess. It's because they want your young mind to be filled with good values, they want you to look up to admirable role models, and they want you to be surrounded by positive influences. YouTube is not famous for any of that. While there are many worthwhile videos on YouTube, there is also a lot of junk. Your parents have wisely chosen to serve you kosher entertainment. 

Just like the food we eat has to be kosher, the ideas we expose ourselves to need to be kosher too. But keeping kosher is about more than just the food. The plates and cutlery need to be kosher too. Same with kosher entertainment. The way you acquire your video needs to be squeaky clean. 

Watching pirated Jewish videos is a contradiction. It's like stealing a Bible, or pushing your way into a line to see a lecture on selflessness, or shouting at someone for being intolerant. It makes no sense. You can't learn good values by watching a video that someone worked hard and invested huge amounts to make, and you just went at took it without paying. You can't become a good person by wronging another person. It's just not kosher.

It may be hard to imagine you are doing anything wrong by clicking a link. It may seem like no one is getting hurt. But perhaps this is the biggest lesson you can learn. Every act we do has an impact, that  often we can't see. When you do good, you bring more goodness into the world. And the opposite too. Whether you see it or not , you are making the world better or worse with every choice you make, even a click. I hope you make the right choice. As your father, I trust you will.

Good Shabbos,
Rabbi Moss

Igros Moshe Orach Chaim 4:40:19

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