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NEW WEDDING RULES: Rabbonim Sign Letter About “Goyish Music” at Weddings

A new list of rules for weddings was recently released, and undersigned by prominent Rabbonim. The rules are regarding the music at wedding. The text below has been transcribed by YWN.

Dear Choson,

You are, with Hashem’s help, planning to build your new home, a בית that will be לכבוד ה’ ולתפארתו, a בית נאמן בישראל – בית שמגדלים בו תורה ויראת שמים.

The חתונה is the foundation of, and an integral component, of your future home. It is therefore crucial to ensure that the chasuna be imbued with a spirit of kedusha and be a Yiddishe simcha – and not chas v’shalom the opposite.

Unfortunately, in recent times – even at frum and ehrlicha chasunos – it has become accepted to compromise the kedusha of this special occasion with inappropriate music, coming from non-Jewish sources.

There was a time when a chasuna was a truly uplifting occasion, as is befitting of a Yiddishe simcha – permeated with kedusha and simcha. Tragically, today, a Jewish wedding can sometimes appear to be no different from a disco party. What should be an opportunity for the choson and kallah to start off this bayis ne’eman appropriately, complete with uplifting Yiddishe music, has been lost, due to goyisha music and inappropriate dancing. These influences only cause destruction of the yesodos of kedusha of Am Yisroel. This is the opposite of what should be seen and heard at a Yiddishe chasuna.

Our dear choson, at this seminal point of your life – as you prepare for this auspicious day – do what you can to ensure that you are laying the foundation of your bayis ne’eman on yesodos of kedusha, and not chas v’shalom the opposite.

We therefore appeal to you to adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. No non-Jewish songs or intros may be used, either from the original online sound track or played manually.
  2. The bass level should be kept at a medium level.
  3. No beats should be used with loud electronic sound effects, or electric guitar and synth sounds at high volume.
  4. There should be no flashing, moving, or color changing lights.
  5. One should be very careful which singer they hire. The singer should not be dancing in an inappropriate fashion. The חתן should only hire a singer that will sing in a proper Yiddishe fashion.
  6. It is important to bear in mind that the band is solely in the employment of the חתן, therefore, the choson’s friends may not request anything of the band without permission from the חתן.

We sign on this with an emphatic plea: Please be vigilant about the בית הגדול you are attempting to build, and lay the יסודות with חכמה ודעת.

HaRav Matisyahu Solomon, Mashgiach Lakewood
HaRav Yisroel Neuman, Rosh Yeshiva, Lakewood
HaRav Dovid Schustal, Rosh Yeshiva, Lakewood
HaRav Shmuel Kaminetzky, Rosh Yeshiva, Philadelphia
HaRav Elya Ber Wachtfogel, Rosh Yeshiva South Fallsburg
HaRav Yitzchok Sorotzkin, Rosh Yeshiva, Lakewood Mesivta
HaRav Eliezer Lieff, Rosh Yeshiva, SOuth Monsey
HaRav Yaakov Forchheimer, Dayan, Lakewood
HaRav Ahron Zuckerman, Rav, Zichron Pinchas
HaRav Yaakov Landau, Rav, Chanichei Hayeshivos
HaRav Yisroel Brog, Rosh Yeshiva, Cleveland
HaRav Chaim Meyer Roth, Rav, Sterling Forest
HaRav Yosef Dovid Neuschloss, Rav, Agudas Achim
HaRav Avrohom Spitzer, Skverrer Dayan
HaRav Tzvi Noach Portugal, Admor Skulen, Lakewood

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

63 Responses

  1. B’H…it’s about time that someone takes a stand against this problem that has been festering for too long. It’s very brave of these Rabbunim.

    Does this takuna also apply to many niggunim, especially chassidish ones,, which were originally army marches or secular waltzes?

  2. About time the issue is the one man band that originally came to save money but the truth is one man bands are FAKE music and now mostly garbage and Techno and costs as much as a full band BRING BACK THE SIMPLE FIVE PIECE BANDS $2500 price tag

  3. The inappropriate music at weddings did not happen in a vacuum. The inappropriate music is only the symptom. Addressing the symptom won’t solve the problem. Leaving the music aside, there are other behaviours at jewish weddings which turned a holy event into a gutter event. This is the outcome of a hollow Yiddishkeit. We need to return and reintroduce authenticity to Yiddishkeit. I pray that the next “Open Letter” address the disease and not the symptom.

  4. maybe if all these rosh hayoshevos who are listed below walk out as soon as they hear this music at the weddings they come or officiate at , nothing will be done
    HaRav Matisyahu Solomon, Mashgiach Lakewood
    HaRav Yisroel Neuman, Rosh Yeshiva, Lakewood
    HaRav Dovid Schustal, Rosh Yeshiva, Lakewood
    HaRav Shmuel Kaminetzky, Rosh Yeshiva, Philadelphia
    HaRav Elya Ber Wachtfogel, Rosh Yeshiva South Fallsburg
    HaRav Yitzchok Sorotzkin, Rosh Yeshiva, Lakewood Mesivta
    HaRav Eliezer Lieff, Rosh Yeshiva, SOuth Monsey
    HaRav Yaakov Forchheimer, Dayan, Lakewood
    HaRav Ahron Zuckerman, Rav, Zichron Pinchas
    HaRav Yaakov landau, Rav, Chanichei Hayeshivos
    HaRav Yisroel Brog, Rosh Yeshiva, Cleveland
    HaRav Chaim Meyer Roth, Rav, Sterling Forest
    HaRav Yosef Dovid Neuschloss, Rav, Agudas Achim
    HaRav Avrohom Spitzer, Skverrer Dayan
    HaRav Tzvi Noach Portugal, Admor Skulen, Lakewood

  5. I fully agree with these sentiments. But why is the letter addressed to Chasanim only. What about the Kallahs. Dont they also want to have an appropriate wedding and build an appropriate Bayis Neeman? Very strange.

  6. B”H, finally!

    Too many chasunahs (unfortunately it could also be bar/bas mitzvahs, etc. too) have been, for far too long, assaults on both the gashmius and ruchnius of attendees, with excessively loud music, which is injurious to health (particularly, but not exclusively the sense of hearing), as well as inappropriate music and dancing.

    Hopefully this new proclamation will have a significant impact.

    P.S. The language is somewhat unclear to me re the loudness of the music. I think it should be clarified that all music (not just specific types), as well as sound amplification in general, should be strictly limited in level. Actually, IMHO, I suspect that amplification is often not needed at all. But perhaps that is related to the size and acoustics of the space.

    יישר כחכם

  7. I happen to agree. As someone who listens to non-Jewish music, a wedding is not the place. If It’s a more modern crowd, it’s understandable. But, in yeshivish weddings, it shouldn’t be.

  8. #1, the takana does NOT apply to the old waltzes and marches. The reason being, those marches and waltzes were composed as simple tunes with no lyrics. Today however the songs that are being played by weddings are tunes that were composed with gutter lyrics and full of filth and nivul peh.
    Make no mistake about it, the boys and girls who dance to these filthy songs are well aware of the lyrics, the source of the song and which low life sang it. You cant compare apples to oranges

  9. These gedolim certainly do not need my haskoma, but I just wanted to share an anecdote which shows how low “Jewish” music has sunk.
    I do not listen to goyish music. A couple months ago, I was in a large store and I was surprised to hear music on the PA system that had the style and the beat of what I am accustomed to hear these days at chasunas. Upon closer listening to the words, I realized that this was actually a goyish song and that “our” music has already begun to sound like “theirs”.

  10. Binyan

    Cause the chosson family hires the musicians and band etc… So the chosson owns them for his wedding and is the only one allowed to tell them what to do

  11. “the bass level should be kept at a medium level.”

    Who exactly wrote up the definition and rules of “Goyish” music?
    I doubt Rav Solomon did..

    The real issue is – why are these kids even demanding such music.

  12. While i agree some of this has got way out of hand with 10 min intros…
    But when they say goyish music do they mean classics like MBD yidden?

  13. Peole who play goyshe music at their weddings don’t really care about what rabbanim say anyways neither interested in forming a holy and pure home. Very sad.

  14. This letter is ridiculous. Every Chassan from the (from a Yeshiva background) should have aquired for himself a Rebbi by the time he is getting married, and that’s who he should be listening too. Enough Said.

  15. And what about Frum men coming over to the women’s side and watching the women dance?I’ve seen this at way too many weddings.In fact, the two weddings I most enjoyed were the weddings of baale teshuvas, who had the women’s dance area screened off and no men were allowed in!

  16. They had me on board until the bass level and electric guitar. Those are not non jewish by definition.

  17. For thousands of years Jewish music has always been similar to the non-jewish music. For goodness sakes, if you listen to the tunes of our zemiros, you will hear old European songs. Sephardic music sounds like Arabic noise, obviously.

    Whenever these announcements come out, not only do I look to see who signed it, but more importantly, I look to see who didn’t sign it.

  18. Just to clarify…

    The last part of my previous comment was not ch’v meant to be disrespectful of anyone who did sign it.

  19. i can think of so many more pertinent and real issues in our community. Seems lime whoever convinces these Rabbis to sign likely has a personal agenda and nothing better to with themselves.

  20. TO: myownopinion…
    Furthermore, one can NOT take schvartzah gutter-trash ‘music’ and make it ko’sher by placing div’rei ke’du’shah to gutter-garbage tunes. I am sickened to hear on the Jewish radio station here in Lakewood music that is stylized to sound like their gutter-garbage with div’rei ke’du’shah. It is still ta’mei. Just as bad…Have you heard some of the so-called Jewish music with English words with hash’qa’fos that are totally against the the teachings of Cha’zal and Torah? These songs are meant to be up-lifting and encouraging to young people. Yet, many of these songs express ke’fi’rah. Our children are listening to this garbage. I would really like the Rabbonim of the community to pre-approve the music played on Kol Beramma. Unfortunately, this is not a solution either. Never-the-less those who choose the music to be played could do a better job by actually listening to what they play. Many times while in too much of a rush for shi’u’rim, etc., I turn on the Jewish radio station only to find that garbage is playing. In terms of the te’qa’nah, it will not help very much. Possibly those on the fringes who call themselves Modern Orthodox will at least have something upon which to rely when they are pressured by family and friends to play garbage at their sim’cha’s.

  21. To Jersy Jew who says, “Sephardic music sounds like Arabic noise, obviously.”
    Really? Re’fu’ah She’leima! What is your Ashkenazic Music but oy, yoy, yoy, yoy yoy…Di, di,da da…then repeat again. Our songs and nu’sach is based upon the ma’qa’mim which go back to do’rei do’roth…Think before you write. One’s ‘filter’ or lack of is most telling of where a person is holding…

  22. This is all hyped up baloney from those who attempted putting out kiddush takonas years ago only to see them go down the tubes.

  23. With all due respect to the undersigned rabbonim, I disagree. This is just another example of taking away from our youngsters anything that might, chas veshulem, be fun.
    Constantly banning things will only help push more and more away from frumkeit.
    Secondly, and this I find more important. At every single yeshivish wedding, when it comes time for the chuppa, all the boys are gathered in the back chattering away. Your friend is about to get married, have a modicum of respect! And, this is for all those at a chuppa, TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE RINGERS. Every chuppa is disturbed because of some dopes phone ringing.
    Thats my 2 cents.

  24. ” marches and waltzes were composed as simple tunes with no lyrics.”

    ZD – “The Final Countdown” (shh its already accepted as a Jewish intro! Who asked you to meGaleh…)

    The real point is (the way I understand) is that there are certain style/songs/beats that provoke a certain Hefkerus / goyish/Prust atmosphere. Its NOT the per “goy” Composer/singer.

    If you would to play classic music and its Goyish that would not create the above Matzav, whereas, if you would play Hip-hop/rap/heavy metal etc even if composed by a Charedi Chassidish Jew with the lyrics of Zohar and Arizal it wouldn’t matter.

  25. If the music is loud enough to make you deaf, why does it matter whether it sounds goyish? You can’t even hear it.

  26. I have been hocking about this for years…

    I do OMB, been doing it for quite some time, but have NEVER bent to stoop to the garbage. And you know what? After every “nebby” (actually truly uplifting, truly Simchadig) event, I have people come over to me to tell me that it was an Emese Simcha, they felt the Yiddishness TOGETHER with the joy, gladness, happiness. No, true Yiddishkite is not missing anything. We don’t have a need to “borrow” from our neighbors. (neither style, nor beats, nor dance.. NOTHING) I’ve B”H been able to keep the crowd going strong for several hours, (non – stop) with Jewish Yiddishe songs. The way they were meant to be rendered. Boy can you tell a difference!! At the end you always see radiant faces, true Simcha Shel Mitzvah etched on the faces of the Baalei Simcha. Hey that was the way it was always until ….

    I’ve lost out a lot by not digging into this filth. I tell you I’m not at all sorry. That garbage so disgusts me… Today’s rock noise, the deep end subs, the trance like bombardment of noise the trance like exercising the so disgusting motions… where and what does YiddishKite have in common? The invention of having a Yiddishe / Goyishe singer swaying to beat…ich…the motions… Feh X 1,000! So base… so classless.. so devoid of any sense of Kedusha, YiddishKite, refinement. Actually so devoid of music.

    You call that music?!?

  27. krotzie:
    SEMINAL | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
    seminal definition: 1. containing important new ideas and having a great influence on later work:
    Seminal definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary
    Seminal definition: Seminal is used to describe things such as books, works, events, and experiences that.have a great influence in a particular field.

  28. but deafening loud music is still muter?
    Let the askonim who write these kol korays deal with that first.

    PS I’m not against anything on this list, and think that rock being played at wedding is disgusting, however that pales in comparison to the ever increasing volume. This kol koreay is now a matir.

  29. i live in yerushalayim and have not been at an American wedding in a long time. Is this really a problem in the yeshishive crowd? What is the heter for this initially, meaning why would people not be outraged at hearing non Jewish music begin to play?

  30. This is not a takona, it is a request to chassonim. My guess is that it is not a takona because the learned Rabbonim who signed it know that many will pay not attention to it, therefore, publishing the letter as a takona would in itself have been problematic halachicly.

  31. Hire Eitan Katz and you will get the best of both worlds. Exciting, high quality and lebedig music with Yiddish inspiration.

  32. In my humble opinion, the issue with confetti is totally out of hand as well. It’s crazy that it has become almost the norm. Disgusting how many Chosson/Kallah’s I’ve seen with confetti all over them and ruining their pictures. Also have seen innoncent people and Chashuvim walking around with confetti on their hats. Not to mention the Chillul Hashem for the cleaning crews, and also the danger when the floor is sometimes covered so much, it’s actually slippery.

  33. To add to a previous comment, once we’re on the topic of issues lacking in Yiddishkeit at Frum Chassanus. The picture poses many times are beyond disgusting, and unfortunately against simple Halacha. Some photographers tell the Chosson and Kallah, “do this or do that” and they follow along, hopefully only due to their being on a different planet at their wedding and not having the frame of mind to stop to think for a minute! (Hey, this is against Halochos we have been learning). Other pictures are just silly or stupid for a Chosson and Kallah especially the night of their Chassuna. For example a picture of the Chosson holding the flowers and the Kallah holding his hat…

  34. JJ “The last part of my previous comment was not ch’v meant to be disrespectful of anyone who did sign it.”

    But it was.

  35. We have a “earplug Gemach” at Baltimore Chasunas and some Baltimorons usually bring a box to Lakewood Chasunas as well. Seems nebby but it actually protects the eardrums. Loud music is expecially harmful to small children’s ears. I hired a band once for a Simcha and told them to turn down the music. Chutzpah, he told me “we aren’t playing for you. We are playing for the next gig and our client is dancing”

  36. “No non-Jewish songs or intros may be used”

    So we can have songs by Arnold Schoenberg, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Weill, Stephen Schwartz, Stephen Sondheim, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, Carole King, Herb Alpert, Paul Simon, Neil Sedaka, Paula Abdul, Neil Diamond, and Billy Joel. I don’t think we have to worry about a shortage of music. 🙂

  37. “When did the gedolim become beki’im in music with knowledge about online sound tracks, bass, synth levels?”

    At the same time “gedolim” became beki’im in computer sciences and outlawed the internet and started holding asifahs about internet browsers, social media websites, instant messaging and filters. With all respect, this letter displays a breathtaking naivete about the origins of what they refer to a “yiddeshe music” and how it has evolved in most cases from the “goiyeshe” music in the areas of the world where yidden lived. Just because a bunch of guys with peyos, shtreimlach and bekishes entertaining at a chassanah scream “oy yoy yoy” while shuttling back and forth rather than using more contemporary sounds to the same melody doesn’t necessarily make it “yiddeshe music”. If the are considered mature enough to marry and have children, let the choson/kalah, in consultation with their own rav/posek (who logically would also be mesader kedushin) decide which musicians to hire and what music to play.

  38. The flashing colored disco lights and laser beams are taken directly from the nightclubs which are the epicentre of Tummah and Pritzus.
    And the same goes for the trance music. When well known Non-Jewish tunes are played the simcha becomes the simcha of the Satan who dances before them.
    Any mature individual who works on his own levels of Kedusha can differentiate between an Simcha Shel Mitzva and a Simcha Shel Hollelus, where the Satan dances. Unfortunately, many people don’t realise the Kedusha and Segulos that a proper Simcha at a Chasene can bring for the couple and all attendees.
    These Rabbanim do.
    שמעו ותחי נפשכם

  39. Yosse – well said. At all our weddings, we had Chassidishe niggunim for the first dance then Avraham Fried, MBD type tunes after. 1 man band, plus a wedding singer whom I told very clearly what we wanted. My sons were not too thrilled at first but now they have been to other weddings they are very glad we kept to our standards. Same thing with photos. I don’t like to see the Chosson & Kallah wearing each other, it’s so inappropriate.

    BTW… at the first wedding we made we kept telling the musician to turn it down. He didn’t listen (probably couldn’t hear us!!) so we never hired him again.

    Simchos by alle yidden!

  40. The categories and limits need more specific details. If a tune was goyish 50+ years ago but “yiddish” now, is that OK?
    Would a string quartet playing classical music be banned? The decibels should stay below the level where OSHA requires ear protection for workers.

  41. A Stone – I’m sure your American rabbonim will issue a Kol Koreh slash Takana in English on confetti and picture poses, complete with guidelines in due time It’s just that goyish music and flashing colors is more of a priority.

  42. while many niggunim have a Christian origin, we now have adopted the music of the hamon am, not the best society has to offer.

  43. eman, that’s because the tune to the song comes from a goyeshe song.
    It’s really unfortunate that we have reached a level where we need such reminders. Sad.

  44. We should go back to the good ol’ days when there was 1 violin and maybe, just maybe, an accordion, and if you were really rich and spoiled , a clarinet. But if you were the local warlord, you would also have a banjo and a vashtbratel (washboard, to keep the beat. That’s a real instrument, look it up.)

  45. They aren’t talking about people playing Tupac and Biggie. They want to issue all music that happens to be written by a goy.

    I don’t understand the people who are bewildered by this “problem.” If you walk into a Jewish supermarket and they’re playing “Jewish” music like a choir of high-pitched, 12-year-old boys, it’s the worst experience the human ear can have. Jewish music just sounds terrible. It’s the same reason we like pizza and chinese food better than gefilte fish and kugel all the time; it’s simply better.

  46. Holycity, That is a very insensitive comment, especially right before we celebrate EVERY jew receiving the Torah! It is not up to you, or any other jew, to judge a fellow Jew based on the music they listen to or have at their wedding.

  47. Nice! Where are the Chassidish Rabbonim and rebbes signatures? I assume that it’s not a chassidish problem then.

  48. It’s about time they ban these foreign influences. They should also ban all the “shtick” that makes the reception look like mardi gras. They should also demand that everyone just speak Yiddish or Hebrew at the wedding venue so people will remember that they are at a religious event.

  49. Unless the baal simcha is very rich- the rabonim who signed this letter are usually long gone right after the od yishoma .

  50. There is a story that circulates about the Skulener Rebbe, the Noam Eliezer (grandfather to the present rebbe), who entered a chasunah hall quite some years ago. He was inthe corridor, and had not yet yet entered the actual hall, when he stopped and instructed his gabbai to approach the musician and ask him to stop playing the tune immediately. It seems this was the popular (and probably only) hora song at that time. The musician obeyed the gabbai, but approached the Rebbe to ask why. The Rebbe replied that he did not know this tune but that it stinks from “ni’uf”. The musician searched for the source, and discovered that it was an Arab belly dance, one that has associations with the wrong things.

    The issue is not about the words originally written for the tune, and perhaps not the halachic ancestry of the composer. One should recognize tum’ah, and then refrain from it. Allowing such style music into our community, even if the actual composition was made by a frum Yid, is a problem.

    I have lots of respect for the letter. I hope that Rabbonim will boycott weddings that play such music, and will accept kibudim at chuppos only if the chosson accepts this restriction. As for the volume, the decibel level is plainly dangerous. I have seen people simply approach the plug and pull it. I would suggest that each hall (depending on its acoustics) have a predetermined maximum level, and that the contracts with the musician include that term. Then, if violated, the contract could be void and the musician can leave the wedding unpaid. I frankly have little hope for compliance, as has been for most efforts at limiting anything at weddings. I am nauseated by the insistence that bochurim need an “outlet”. This is inconsistent with Torah.

  51. Just to clarify why there were no exact guidelines:
    There is no way to pinpoint exactly what is appropriate and what is inappropriate. One has to use their “seichel”.

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