Music and Dancing

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Music and dancing:

One may not dance during the three weeks.[1] One may not play or listen[2] to music during the three weeks.[3] [It is forbidden to listen to music, whether live or recorded.[4] This applies likewise to Chassidic Niggunim, whether a slow or fast Niggun.[5] Thus one may not listen to music on a tape, CD, Ipod, MP3 and the like.]

Q&A

May one sing during the three weeks?[6]

The custom is to allow singing during the three weeks.[7] However, some Poskim[8] are stringent. Some[9] rule that during a meal with friends, although one may sing soulful melody’s of Avodas Hashem, one is not allowed to sing songs of joy that can lead to dancing.

 

May one listen to A Cappella music?

Many are accustomed to permit listening to a cappella[10] music during the three weeks.[11] However, there are Poskim[12] who are stringent to prohibit listening to music even of such nature.

 

For non-enjoyment purposes

May musicians play music for the purpose of making a living?[13]

It is forbidden for a Jewish musician to play music on behalf of Jews, even if he is doing so for the purpose of his livelihood. He may however play music on behalf of gentiles up until the nine days, if he is doing so for the purpose of making a livelihood.[14] From Rosh Chodesh Av until after Tisha B’av he may not play music even for gentiles.   

 

May one practice music during the three weeks?[15]

It is permitted to practice music for Parnasa purposes until the nine days.[16] If he is doing so for purposes of pleasure then it is forbidden. Likewise, students may not practice playing music on their own during this time [if it is not for Parnasa purposes].[17]

 

May a music teacher continue teaching during the three weeks?

If the teacher is doing so for his Parnasa and the student is also learning for Parnasa purposes then it is permitted to teach during Sefira.[18] If, however, the student is not learning for purposes of Parnasa then seemingly it is forbidden for him to be taught. If, however, the teacher is pressed for Parnasa or the students are pressed for time then some Poskim[19] rule it is permitted up until the week of Tisha B’av.

 

May one listen to music for emotional and mental health purposes?

Yes. One may listen to music in order to remove depression, anxiety and other mental or emotional instabilities. This applies especially towards women.[20]

 

May one perform exercise to the beat of music during the three weeks?

Seemingly one may do so up until the nine days[21], and perhaps he may do so even during the nine days.[22]

 

May one enter into an area where music is playing, such as a bus, store and the like?[23]

Yes.

Mitzvah purposes

May one dance and listen to music during a Bar Mitzvah; Bris or Pidyon Haben?

Many Poskim[24] rule that [up until the nine days[25]] it is permitted to dance and play music during a Seudas Mitzvah, such as by a Bris, Pidyon Haben, Sheva Brachos, Bar Mitzvah.[26] However, other Poskim[27] rule it is forbidden to dance and play or listen to music even on these occasions. Some[28] rule one may dance, although may not listen to music. [Practically, the Rebbe asked Rabbi Groner to visit the wedding halls on Lag Baomer and ask them to stop playing the music starting from sunset.[29] From here we can deduce that in the Rebbe’s opinion it is forbidden to dance even by a Seudas Mitzvah, during times of the year that music is forbidden.] 

 

May one dance on Shabbos?[30]

It is permitted to dance in honor of Oneg and Simchas Shabbos.[31]

 

May one dance on Shabbos in honor of a Chasan or Bar Mitzvah?[32]

Yes. This applies even by Shabbos Chazon.[33]

 

May one hold a celebratory Kiddush in honor of a Simcha?[34]

Yes.

 

May one play music by a dinner held for an organization?[35]

No.

 

May one perform a Hachnasas Sefer Torah during the three weeks?[36]

It is preferable to not schedule a Hachnasas Sefer Torah to take place during the three weeks, and certainly not during the nine days.

 

Children

May one play music by school outings and events in order to help electrify the mood?

No.

 

May children play/hear music and dance during the Three weeks?[37]

No.

 

May one play music for children who are practicing a skit or play?

Some Poskim[38] rule it is permitted to play music for children for them to practice a skit or play.

 

May music be played by a children’s rally?

Some[39] write regarding Sefira, that if one makes a Siyum Misechta by the rally then it is allowed to play music.

_________________________________________

[1] M”A 551:10; M”B 551:16; Elya Raba 551:6 that this applies even not during a wedding; Kaf Hachaim 551:39

[2] Aruch Hashulchan 493:2 regarding Sefira

[3] P”M 551 A”A 10; Kitzur SH”A 122:1

[4] Shevet Halevi 2:57; 127; Igros Moshe 1:166; 3:87; Minchas Yitzchak 1:111; Kinyan Torah 2:99; Yechaveh Daas 3:30; Mishneh Halachos 8:128; Az Nidbaru 10:23; Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:13; 493:4

[5] See Moed Lekol Chaiy 10:19, brought in Kaf Hachaim 551:41 that even by singing of the mouth it is better not to sing even slow Niggunim which break the heart; Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:13; There is no reason to differentiate, as all music has a power of Simcha, and singing a soulful Niggun also gives one Simcha. Admur in various areas of Chassidus writes that some people enjoy fast music while others enjoy slow, depressing music, and each one has a different pleasure. So I received from various Morei Horaahs. However, some are lenient in this matter. Each person is to contact his Rav.

[6] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 493:4

[7] See Igros Moshe 1:166 regarding Sefira

[8] See Leket Yosher that the Terumos Hadeshen did not sing during Sefira; Moed Lekol Chaiy 10:19, brought in Kaf Hachaim 551:41, that even by singing of the mouth it is better not to sing even slow Niggunim which break the heart; Yosef Ometz p. 128; Makor Chaim 551:1; Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:13; Nitei Gavriel 10 footnote 2; Yechaveh Daas 6:32; Rav SZ”A is quoted to rule that songs which involve Avodas Hashem [slow Niggunim] may be sung while those songs that involve simple joy which lead to dancing may not be sung.

[9] Shevet Hakehasi 1:189; Piskeiy Teshuvos 493:4 and footnote 35 in name of Rav SZ”A and 551:13 footnote 90 that songs which involve Avodas Hashem [slow Niggunim] may be sung while those songs that involve simple joy which lead to dancing may not be sung.

[10] Music that is not accompanied by instruments of any sort and is merely vocal.

[11] Igros Moshe 1:166; See Sheivet Halevi 8:127 that states the widespread even amongst G-d fearing Jews is to listen to such music [it is however unclear from his reponsa if he is referring to the entire year or even the period of the three weeks]

[12] Sheivet Halevi 8:127 [ in his personal opinion]; Az Nidbaru 8:58; Tzitz Eliezer 15:33; Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:13

[13] P”M 551 A”A 10; Kitzur SH”A 122:1; Ben ish Chaiy Devarim 5; Biur Halacha 551 “Mematin” in name of Peri Megadim “May play for gentiles for Parnasa” and Derech Hachaim “Implies that even according to the Peri Megadim it is only allowed until Rosh Chodesh”; Kaf Hachaim 551:39

Ruling by Sefira: One may play music for gentiles for purposes of Parnasa throughout Sefira. [Igros Moshe 3:87; Kinyan Torah 2:99]

[14] The reason: As when doing so for Parnasa purposes it is not considered a matter of Simcha for this person. [ibid]

[15] Igros Moshe 3:87; Kinyan Torah 2:99 regarding Sefira, and based on the P”M 551 A”A 10 the same should apply until the nine days; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 551 footnote 95

[16] The reason: As when doing so for Parnasa purposes it is not considered a matter of Simcha for this person. [ibid]

[17] Betzeil Hachochmah 6:61; Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:14

[18] The reason: As although the teacher is permitted to hear music being that he does not receive pleasure when doing so for Parnasa, however the student does not have such an allowance. Rav Asher Lemel Cohen told me it is forbidden being that there is no allowance for the students and most people are not in such dire need for Parnasa.

[19] Zecher Simcha 63; Tzitz Eliezer 16:19; See Mahrahm Shick 368; Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:14; See Nitei Gavriel 53:6 who does not differentiate regarding the students; Halichos Bas Yisrael 24 footnote 5 [brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos 493 footnote 37] that teachers of a class may prepare the class for a play or skit even if it involves playing music for them as part of the play or skit.

[20] See Shevet Halevi 8:127 “Especially the women who do so to remove their depression, and it is permitted” [however it is unclear if he refers to during the year or even during bein Hametzarim]; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 394 footnote 36; Chelkas Yaakov 1:61 and 3:98 regarding Shabbos

The reason: As the music is not being listened to for purposes of joy and dancing but for therapeutic purposes, and in such a case the custom was never accepted to prohibit the music.

[21] As one is not doing so for purpose of pleasure and is hence similar to the allowance given to practicing music for purposes of Parnasa.

[22] As ruled in M”A 560:9 that playing music for the sake of performing a work was never included in the prohibition of playing music after the Churban, and perhaps the same applies likewise during the nine days.

[23] Ashel Avraham Butchach 553; Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:14

[24] Kneses Hagedola 551:33; Chaim Sheol 1:21; Oas Chaim Veshalom 265:29 regarding Bris; Mishneh Halachos 6:109 in name of Rav Moshe Feinstein regarding Sheva Brachos; Kaf Hachaim 551:40 [regarding music by Mila] depends this matter on the dispute regarding whether one may build for the need of a Mitzvah [see Rama 551:2 “For the need of a Mitzvah it [building] is all permitted”; The Kaf Hachaim 551:33 brings Poskim who argue on Rama.] The Kaf Hachaim ibid concludes that those which are lenient have upon whom to rely.

Ruling by Sefira: Implication of Admur 493:1; M”A 493:1; M”B 493:3 that the prohibition only applies by “Seudas Reshus” and so rule: Keren Ledavid 119; Igros Moshe 2:95 and in Even Haezer 1:97; Mishneh Halachos 6:109; Yechaveh Daas 6:34

[25] Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:13

[26] See Rashal Baba Kama 7:37 that a Bar Mitzvah is considered a Seudas Mitzvah even if it is not taking place on time, so long as Drasha is recited.

[27] Elya Raba 551:26; Siddur Yaavetz; Initial ruling of Kaf Hachaim ibid; Shraga Hameir 2:13; Orchos Rabbeinu 2:128; Shraga Hameir

Regarding Sefira: So rule regarding Sefira: Maharsham in name of Daas Kedoshim; Minchas Yitzchak 1:111; Shraga Hameir 2:13

[28] Mishneh Halachos ibid; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:13

[29] Heard from Rabbi Groner, however the dancing may continue

[30] Nitei Gavriel Pesach 3 52:6; Rav Asher Lemel Cohen; See Likkutei Sichos 4:1090

[31] The reason: As public Aveilus is not accustomed on Shabbos. However, this requires further analysis, as private Aveilus is accustomed on Shabbos and hence perhaps only a community who commonly dances on Shabbos is allowed to continue dancing. However, see Likkutei Sichos 4:1090 that one must add in even more Oneg and Simcha on the Shabbosim of Bein Hametzarim in order so no one think there is any worry of Aveilus on Shabbos.

[32] Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:5 in name of Makor Chaim 551

[33] The reason: As public Aveilus is not accustomed on Shabbos. However this requires further analysis as private Aveilus is accustomed on Shabbos and hence perhaps only a community that commonly dances on Shabbos is allowed to continue dancing. However see Likkutei Sichos 4:1090 that one must add in even more Oneg and Simcha on the Shabbosim of Bein Hametzarim in order so no one think there is any worry of Aveilus on Shabbos.

[34] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:5

[35] Minchas Yitzchak 1:111; Piskeiy Teshuvos 493:5

[36] Igros Kodesh 20:253 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 3:48]

[37] Piskeiy Teshuvos 493 footnote 37

[38] Koveitz Mibeis Levi 1:57; Halichos Bas Yisrael 24:5; Piskeiy Teshuvos 493 footnote 37

[39] Hiskashrus based on Likkutei Sichos 37 p. 122 “In order for the rally to be permitted according to all it should be connected to a Siyum  Misechta.” The Rebbe does not make clear as to whether this is done to allow live music, recorded music or simply singing and dancing.

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1 Comment

  1. Chaya Kuk

    May one dance for a bar mitzvah even if is not shabbos?

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