Create an account or Login  ·  Home  ·  Features  ·  Demo  ·  Forums  ·  About Us  ·  Search  · Your Account  ·
Menu

Home

About Us
About Us
Contact Us
Advertise
Testimonials
Recommend Us


Leagues
Benefits
Features
Demo


Interaction
Forums
Chat
Your Account
Surveys


Running Your League
Trophies
Fund Raising


Information
Jewish Sports Links
Search
Topics

Jewish Sports Quotes
My horse's jockey was hitting the horse. The horse turns around and says "Why are you hitting me, there is nobody behind us!"

-- Henny Youngman


More Jewish Sports Quotes

  
Spirit, Sport, and Steroids
Posted on Thursday, June 02 @ 04:44:50 EDT Skill Builders

Q. Is it ethical for pro athletes to use performance-enhancing drugs and treatments?

Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir, The Jewish Ethicist responds.



A. Before we relate specifically to hormones and the like, we need to clarify the Jewish attitude towards sports in general. At first glance, the various Jewish sources on competitive sports seem like a confusing mix of attitudes. However, a more thoughtful look will enable us to see that there is actually a remarkably consistent point of view.

Some sources make sports sound very positive. For example, the Shulchan Arukh (the authoritative Code of Jewish Law) states that even though running and haste are usually forbidden on Shabbat, which is a day of rest, "youngsters who delight in jumping and running" may do so, as this is a fulfillment of the commandment to make the Sabbath a delight. Likewise it is permissible to play ball. (1)

Yet the Jerusalem Talmud tells us that at the time of the rebellion against the Romans, a particular town was judged for destruction partially because the residents used to play ball! (2) And in another place the Talmud identifies the Roman athletic games as the "seat of the scoffers" mentioned in the Psalms (1:1). (3)

The resolution of this paradox is very simple. Sports and games are a positive thing, sometimes even a mitzvah when they are an occasional recreation for enjoyment and health. Note that the Shulchan Arukh refers to youngsters who delight in their activity. A healthy mind and spirit thrive in a healthy and happy body.

But when a mere game becomes an obsession or a way of life, it becomes an obstacle to the life of the spirit. The commentators explain that ball-players were condemned because they came to neglect Torah study. And the games of the Romans were not merely a pastime; they were elevated to a social ideal, and bloodshed of animals and even of people was permitted in the name of "sport".

The clear conclusion is that participating in sports is preferable to viewing them, and that professional sports leagues are especially problematic. But I don't deny that even professional sports can remain fun games, if they are clean and sportsmanlike and the athletes keep in mind that after all it is only a game.

However, when participants begin to experiment with potentially dangerous substances in order to improve their performance, it's clear that the attitude towards sport has moved beyond fun and games. Baseball is no more fun and absorbing today than it was two generations ago, before steroids were widespread. The enjoyment of sport is in a fair and sportsmanlike competition among athletes who are trying above all to get the most out of their individual God-given ability. By the same token, women's sports are no less interesting (and no less profitable) than men's sports, even though women are not generally able to compete against men.

I can't condemn an individual athlete who uses treatments in a legal way to improve performance; professional athletes, like everybody else, need to make a living. But I do condemn a system which often distorts the meaning of sport, turning it from a healthy and enjoyable pastime into a potentially damaging and competitive obsession.

Strict anti-doping rules, strictly enforced, will make athletics more fun and healthful for body and soul, and for participants and spectators alike.

SOURCE: (1) Shulchan Arukh Orach Chaim 301:2, 308:45. (2) Yerushalmi Taanit 4:5; see also Eikhah Rabba on Eikhah 2:2. (3) Babylonian Talmud Avodah Zarah 18b.

About the Author

The Jewish Ethicist Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir is Research Director of the Business Ethics Center of Jerusalem. Rabbi Dr. Meir received his PhD in Economics from MIT, and previously studied at Harvard. Rabbi Dr. Meir is also a Senior Lecturer in Economics at the Jerusalem College of Technology and has published several articles on the subjects of modern business and economics and Jewish law. He writes a weekly column, The Jewish Ethicist, which provides advice on everyday business and work dilemmas.


 
Login
Nickname

Password

Don't have an account yet? You can create one. As a registered user you have some advantages like theme manager, comments configuration and post comments with your name.

Related Links
· More about Skill Builders
· News by ssports


Most read story about Skill Builders:
Cliff Floyd's Secret to Success


Article Rating
Average Score: 5
Votes: 3


Please take a second and vote for this article:

Excellent
Very Good
Good
Regular
Bad


Options

 Printer Friendly Printer Friendly

 Send to a Friend Send to a Friend


"Login" | Login/Create an Account | 0 comments
The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.
 ·  Home  ·  Features  ·  My Account  ·  Topics  ·  Downloads  · Search  ·
All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all the rest © 2005 by Shalom Sports.
You can syndicate our news using the file backend.php or ultramode.txt
PHP-Nuke Copyright © 2004 by Francisco Burzi. This is free software, and you may redistribute it under the GPL. PHP-Nuke comes with absolutely no warranty, for details, see the license.
Page Generation: 0.08 Seconds