hatam_soferet: (Default)
( Mar. 2nd, 2006 07:39 am)
Spent yesterday working in a studio in which music was playing. Pirated music, and the others were merrily chatting about various things having to do with pirating music.

They're working on Torahs. You know, that book dealing with communal integrity and civil justice. It says Lo tignov - don't steal - right there in front of them. I pointed this out, and heard a variety of excuses to justify pirating music ranging from vaguely creative (but unconvincing) to downright pathetic. Soferim are supposed to have a high degree of integrity. They are not supposed to do things which they know are wrong and make up feeble excuses to justify it. It's disturbing to see people working on the symbol of all that is good whilst enjoying stolen property.

I can understand people working on a Torah and going out to eat treif food for lunch - that comes from having decided that the religious principle of kashrut can be discarded. If you're Reform, that's fine. But I doubt that they would also think that religious prohibitions on stealing can be discarded, or that the communal principle of adherence to civil law can be discarded in order to steal. Reform doesn't go that far.

Whether you like it or not, until the civil law changes, pirating music is stealing. It damages people's livelihoods, and undermines communities. This is why it is illegal. A sofer occupies a position of trust within a community; a sofer can't survive without a community's trust. He has a duty to repay the community's trust by acting in a way that won't damage the community. Providing pasul sefarim damages the community in one way, and stealing damages it in another way.

Please, soferim. If you must listen to pirated music, don't do it while you're working on Torahs.
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