Halachically Speaking: Zecher L’Churban (Part 10)


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The Music Ban in Yerushalayim

In 1865 a general ban was issued in Yerushalayim against playing music at weddings, and only one instrument was permitted to play. Many poskim discuss if recorded music or electric synthesizers may be used at a wedding in Yerushalayim. The consensus is to be stringent. A chosson and kallah who live outside Yerushalayim and have their wedding in Yerushalayim should not be lenient and have a band without asking a sheilah first. The ban seems to apply to all of Yerushalayim.  

Singing Praises of Hashem

One who sings songs of praise to Hashem is permitted to play a musical instrument while doing so and the above discussion would not apply. This is permitted even with wine, and even on a regular basis.2  

Pesukim as Lyrics

The Gemorah in Sanhedrin says one is not allowed to use words of Shir Hashirim for a song. Rashi explains that this issur applies to all pesukim. The reason is because using the words of the Torah for his own enjoyement is a lack of proper kedusha. One who wishes to praise Hashem may sing the lyrics of the Torah. A posuk that is a nusach of davening may be sung by adding a tune to it. However, singing a certain posuk because you like the niggun is forbidden.  

The Magen Avraham says when singing songs on Shabbos one should only sing songs which were composed esepcially for seudas Shabbos (and not other words of chazal). However, many poskim say the Magen Avraham only forbids other songs if they will be sung in a frivolous manner, and if they are used to praise Hashem then singing them is permitted.  

One may sing a song which contains the words of which are out of order. Similarly, one may sing a song containing the name of Hashem if instead of saying the real name he says “Hashem.”  

Some poskim maintain that the issur of singing a posuk applies to Torah Sh’bal Pe as well. Nonetheless, one who is learning is allowed to hum a tune to the words of the Gemorah

Non-Jewish Music

Many non-Jewish songs have lyrics which are forbidden to listen to, since many of these songs (even those without lyrics) have the ability to bring one to lewdness. Other songs are wild and can cause one to act in a manner that is improper for a Jewish person. There is a discussion in the poskim if one can take a non-Jewish tune and sing Jewish words to it.  

There are many types of classical music. Each situation is different and has to be judged on its own level if it has the din of non-Jewish music or not.  

Today there are hundreds of Jewish CD and tapes on the market and one can easily avoid any questions of listening to non-Jewish music.  

In the zechus of keeping these halachos as a remembrance of the churban bais hamikdosh may we be zocheh that Hashem will send us out of gulus so we can see the building of the third bais hamikdosh speedily in our days.

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