Halachically Speaking: Zecher L’Churban (Part 8)

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Music and Zecher L’churban 

Many people listen to music on a regular basis. However, as will be discussed below, one of the gezeiras that were made because of zecher l’churban was regarding listening to music.  

The Mishnah in Sotah says that from the time the Sanhedrin stopped functioning, song was prohibited from meals that served wine. The Meiri says the entire takana was enacted in order to prevent frivolous behavior. Most poskim say that the reason why music was banned is as a zecher l’churban.  

Some say the issur also applies if wine is served without food, since this is the way the goyim make their parties. A party serving only wine can lead a person to an intense level of joy, while if food is served with the wine it does not have the same effect. Others say that singing with one’s mouth is forbidden when wine is served, and musical instruments are always forbidden (even without wine). Others say singing with one’s mouth is always forbidden (even without wine). Tosfas87 and many others say the issur only applies where one is singing or playing instruments on a regular basis.

Horav Moshe Feinstein zt”l says that a ba’al nefesh should be stringent and not listen to music (even if not accompanied by wine). Singing is permitted unless it is being done over wine served alone or with great regularity. The opinion of most poskim is to rely on the opinions who say the issur only applies where one does it on a regular basis. 

Practicing a Musical Instrument

One is permitted to listen to music for the sake of learning a trade.  

For Children

One is permitted to sing a song to help a child go to sleep because we rely on the opinion that singing is only forbidden if accompanied with wine (without food). However, one should not sing songs which are not proper for the children (such as certain lullabies).  

Recorded Music

There is a discussion in the poskim if the issur applies only to live music or also recorded music. Some poskim maintain since recorded music was not around when chazal made the issur it was not included. Many argue with this premise. Others say if one records his voice it is considered vocal music and if one records musical instruments it is viewed as instrumental music. Those who are lenient in regard to recorded music are also lenient as far as music on the radio. According to all opinions one is permitted to listen to the music that emits from his cell phone when receiving a call.

Compiled by Rabbi Moishe Dovid Lebovits who can be reached at[email protected]

Reviewed by Rabbi Ben-zion Schiffenbauer Shlita

All Piskei Harav Yisrael Belsky Shlita are Reviewed by Harav Yisrael Belsky Shlita