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Questionable reading material in frum family


Dear Friends,

this is concerning kashrus but not food: I live in a thriving Jewish community in NMB, Florida near my married son. They hold by a kollel rav here. My son went to a frum yeshiva through high school here in NMB, Florida and then on to beis medrash for a few years before getting married. He met his wife through a mutual shaddchan. Her family is from Silver Spring Maryland. Her parents just moved down to NMB, Florida. My dil was trained as an English teacher (masters in English) and also went to seminary and a Jewish day school for much of her grade school. I believe she might have gone to a more religious high school before going to seminary in Israel. Her parents hold by a frum Rav and in our NMB community her father attends kollel. For me, I am divorced but still friendly with my ex who lives a few blocks from me. We have lived in NMB Florida for 29 years coming down from Brooklyn, NY. I came here when my children were all under 7 years old and my youngest was 13 months. Here is my concern: I have never been a fan of magic or science fiction but since first going to Rabbi Miller’s shiurim 30 years ago in Brooklyn and now getting his emails and reading material from shul, I am even more convinced that this type of literature is not for us. Rabbi Miller has become my spiritual Rav from the other side and he is seriously against most secular literature and particularly anything on the ‘dark’ side, especially fantasy secular literature regarding magic and things like that. My dil has for years been extremely fond of the harry potter series literature and additional ‘magic’ fantasy books that actually have joined the seforim in their living room bookshelves since they were married. My son doesn’t want his opposition of this to affect their shalom bayis and has avoided mentioning it for years, although he was also shocked by it originally. My dil is very attached to this type of material, and even plays a harry potter board game on Shabbos with her young son who will be 3 this month. They are planning his upshirim after Tisha B’av. Since her parents have moved here, her father has collected from a variety of places, including thrift shops and give away tables in their building, additional fantasy books about magic and things like that and have brought it into their house as gifts for his daughter. Her mother loves harry potter and additional magic fantasy books and has read all the books that my dil has given her. They actually took a few trips together to orlando florida to visit the harry potter exhibit there. They speak about these books and harry potter material to each other on Shabbos. Needless to say, this whole thing creeps me out. I don’t mention my being creeped out by this any more (I actually was shocked at these books when I first saw them over 7 years ago) but now to know that her parents support this and even are very vocally and publicly (within our family) encouraging of this puts this at a new level for me. This is a frum family (there is one older married brother, 14 years older than my dil – however, he and his wife are not religious and are raising their sons in public school), her father enjoys kollel and the mother has all types of learning partners via Zoom and all other things, doing much more than I do now or have ever done – my ex doesn’t go to kollel, I cover my hair and hold by all things frum as best I can but I don’t attend many shiurim since covid and I learn online via a variety of videos (Torah Anytime) and things like that. I am a huge Rabbi Avigdor Miller and Rabbi BenZion Shafier fan, and I love this community very much. I don’t know how to resolve this situation, even in my own mind, and I don’t want to think that my dil and her parents are anything other than upstanding Jewish people and I don’t know how to deal with this. Thank you for your reply.




It happens to be that I am also a big fan of Rav Avigdor Miller zt”l and I was zoche to go to his Thursday night classes when I was in Brooklyn. If I can picture what Rabbi Miller would say to this, it would be one of his famous lines, “If you want to be a good mother-in-law, (or father-in-law) keep your mouth shut and your wallet open!”. 

Yes, it is true that you feel that they should be on a higher spiritual level and occupy themselves with books that have more real content to them and teach Torah ideals then “narishkeiten” and getting taken away with stupidity. True, but you cannot say or even hint it to your children and d.i.l. therefore the best thing you can do right now is to love them and ignore this part of them. This will help you communicate better with them, and they will be able to learn loads of other good things from you. 




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