Pidyon Kaparot Now

Celebrity Culture in Judaism

What is Judaism’s view on the celebrity culture and where can I find textual sources about this?

Answer:

Depends who the celebrities are. If they are pop stars, actors, and models, then the answer would be: very negative.

One of the most central sources cited in this respect is Rabbeinu Yonah (in his commentary to Mishlei 27:21, on the verse “each man according to his praises”), who writes that one can tell a person not so much by who praises him, but rather by who he praises.

The celebrity culture brings youth to praise (or, rather, to admire and to worship) people who are not necessarily righteous, not essentially of worthy character, and not always virtuous. In fact, quite often they are quite the contrary, and behavior of irresponsible celebs can have a very damaging effect on their young and impressionable followers.

So, if the celebs are pious and saintly people, Torah scholars and people possessing impeccable character traits — they we could re-think the pros and cons of celebrity culture. While the celebs are actors and pop stars, the view will certainly be negative.

Best wishes.

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