Music and dancing during the three weeks-Bein Hametzarim:
A. The general restriction and prohibition:
One may not dance during the three weeks. Likewise, one may not play or listen to music during the three weeks. [It is forbidden to listen to music, whether live or recorded. This applies likewise to Chassidic Niggunim, whether a slow or fast Niggun. Thus one may not listen to music on a tape, CD, Ipod, MP3 and the like. This applies even to Sephardim.]
Singing-May one sing during the three weeks? The custom is to allow singing during the three weeks. However, some Poskim are stringent. Some rule that during a meal with friends, although one may sing soulful melodies of Avodas Hashem, one is not allowed to sing songs of joy that can lead to dancing.
A Cappella-May one listen to A Cappella music? Many are accustomed to permit listening to a cappella music during the three weeks. However, there are Poskim who are stringent to prohibit listening to music even of such nature.
Chabad Niggunim-Is it permitted for one to listen to Chabad Niggunim [with musical instruments live or recorded] during the period of Sefiras Haomer or Bein Hametzarim? No, as is true with all music, and so was the Rebbe’s opinion, and so is the ruling of the veteran Chabad Rabbanim. This applies to both fast and slow Niggunim.
B. Cases of exception-For a musician and music teacher or student:
May musicians play music for the purpose of making a living? 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. 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? It is permitted to practice music for Parnasa purposes until the nine days. 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].
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 up until the nine days. 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 rule it is permitted up until the week of Tisha B’av.
C. Cases of exception-For mental health, driving & exercise:
Music therapy-May one listen to music during the three weeks for emotional and mental health purposes? The prohibition against listening to music during the three weeks only applies if one is doing so for purposes of pleasure. One may, however, listen to music for therapeutic purposes, such as to remove depression, anxiety and other mental or emotional turmoil’s that one may be experiencing. This applies especially towards women. This applies throughout the three weeks and nine days. [However, if one is able to accomplish the same music therapy without listing to actual musical instruments, such as through listening to A Cappella music, or through listening to various nature sounds, then one is to do so.]
May one who is driving late at night listen to music for the sake of preventing him from falling asleep at the wheel? Yes.
D. Cases of exception-Unintentional & background music:
It is permitted to enter an area where background music is being played if one does not rejoice with the music.
May one enter into an area where music is playing, such as a bus, store and the like? Yes, unless it gives one real joy to hear the song.
May one play a video that contains background music? Yes, unless it gives one real joy to hear the song..
May one have an alarm clock or phone ring play a song? Yes, unless it gives one real joy to hear the song.
E. Cases of exception-For a Mitzvah purpose
May one dance and listen to music during a Bar Mitzvah; Bris or Pidyon Haben or Siyum? Many Poskim rule that [up until the nine days] it is permitted to dance and play music during a Seudas Mitzvah, such as by a Bris, Pidyon Haben, Sheva Brachos, Bar Mitzvah, Siyum Misechta. However, other Poskim rule it is forbidden to dance and play or listen to music even on these occasions. Some 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. From here we can deduce that in the Rebbe’s opinion it is forbidden to play music and dance even by a Seudas Mitzvah, during times of the year that music is forbidden.]
May one hold a celebratory Kiddush in honor of a Simcha? Yes.
May one play music by a dinner held for an organization? No.
May one perform a Hachnasas Sefer Torah during the three weeks? It is preferable to not schedule a Hachnasas Sefer Torah to take place during the three weeks, and certainly not during the nine days.
F. Cases of exception-Children:
Regarding mourning laws applicable after the passing of a relative, we rule that they do not have to be followed by children below the age of bar and bas mitzvah. However, mourning laws that are applicable to the public due to tragic occurrences are applicable even to children. Thus, just like adults may not listen to music during the period of Sefira in which we mourn the passing of the students are Rabbi Akiva, or the three weeks, so too, children also may not listen to music. Nonetheless, children who are below the age of Chinuch do not need to be stringent in this matter especially when it is for the sake of keeping them occupied, and not simply for them to rejoice. Furthermore even children are above the age of Chinuch, although they are not initially to listen to music, if it is necessary for the sake of the sanity of the home to keep them calm and occupied then there is room to be lenient to put on a music video for them such as uncle Moishe, as the main restriction against listening to music is only when it is done for purposes of rejoicing and not when done for ulterior purposes.
May one play music by school outings and events in order to help electrify the mood? No.
May one play music for children who are practicing a skit or play? Some Poskim 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 write regarding Sefira, that if one makes a Siyum Misechta by the rally then it is allowed to play music.
May small children listen to music or a music video during Sefirah in order to keep them occupied?
This depends on the age of the child. Very young children who are below the age of Chinuch may have music or a music video such as uncle Moishe put on for them in order to keep them occupied. However, for children who are already above the age of Chinuch, one is to be stringent, [unless it is a time of real need and is necessary for the sanity of the home]. The age of Chinuch in this regard is defined as an age of maturity in which the child understands the mourning period and it’s reason and purpose.
 M”A 551:10; M”B 551:16; Elya Raba 551:6 that this applies even not during a wedding; Kaf Hachaim 551:39; So rule regarding Sefira: Admur 493:1; M”A 493:1
 Aruch Hashulchan 493:2 regarding Sefira
 P”M 551 A”A 10; Kitzur SH”A 122:1
 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
 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. See Q&A below!
 Yalkut Yosef 551:6; Chazon Ovadia Arba Taaniyot p. 414-415; Or Letziyon 3 29:26; Divrei David 1 O.C. 32
 See Piskeiy Teshuvos 493:4
 See Igros Moshe 1:166 regarding Sefira
 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.
 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.
 Music that is not accompanied by instruments of any sort and is merely vocal.
 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]
 Sheivet Halevi 8:127 [ in his personal opinion]; Az Nidbaru 8:58; Tzitz Eliezer 15:33; Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:13
 Setimas Kol Haposkim; No logic to differentiate; See Moed Lekol Chaiy 10:19, brought in Kaf Hachaim 551:41, who only allows singing slow Niggunim which break the heart, and even this he concludes that it is better not to sin. Hence certainly, one may not listen to it with musical instruments; Yechaveh Daas 6:32; Shevet Hakehasi 1:189; Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:13 that the above allowance is only to sing without musical instruments; Nitei Gavriel Pesach Vol. 3 53:11; Ruling of Gedolei Rabbanei Anash, including Rav S”Z Gurelik OBM, the first Chief Rav of Kefar Chabad, and Rav Eli Landa Shlita [brought below]; The Rebbe’s opinion, as is evident from his Sichas and testimonials [brought below]
 In honor of Jewish custom, which is Torah, one may not listen to Niggunim during Sefira or Bein Hametzarim, whether live or recorded, unless it does not contain musical instruments [i.e. only vocal/singing], or one is doing so for an exterior purpose such as to keep one awake while driving, or during exercise, or on occasion in private to lift one’s personal downtrodden and melancholy spirit, in which case all kosher music is allowed to be listened to and not just Niggunim. It is certainly forbidden to play Niggunim with dancing during the above period on behalf of groups of people including students and campers, and those who do so do not have upon whom to rely, even if they do so under the claim that it helps electrify the mood of the participants. So is evident from all the Poskim, and so was the Rebbe’s opinion.
 The negation of a differentiation between Niggunim and other songs: I’m not aware of any Poskim who differentiate between Niggunim, or Hasidic music, versus any other music, and there is also no sense or reason to differentiate in the two. The argument that Niggunim is not considered music is similar to saying that Chulent is not considered food and therefore may be eaten on a fast day, and is completely baseless and preposterous. On the contrary, from the words of the Poskim which some have quoted as a source for this ruling, can be deduced the exact opposite. Some, in defense of the allowance to listen to Niggunim, have quoted Poskim who write that slow Niggunim which break the heart are permitted to be listened to. However, in truth they are referring to singing these Niggunim with one’s mouth and are not referring to musical instruments at all. There is certainly no source from any of their words to permit listening to fast and Simchadiki Niggunum.
 The Rebbe’s opinion: It is clear from various testimonies as well as public talks of the Rebbe, that he did not hold of such an allowance to listen to Niggunim during Sefira, if they have musical instruments. So can be understood from the fact the Rebbe stated that even the children’s rallies which usually has Niggunim played by them, must be done in a way that is permitted according to all, without any questions in the matter, hence negating the playing of music. [Likkutei Sichos 37 p. 122 “In order for the rally to be permitted according to all it should be connected to a Siyum Misechta.”] Furthermore, Rav Groner related to me that the Rebbe had personally instructed him on Lag Baomer after sunset to visit the wedding halls and tell them to stop playing the music. Hence, we see that even by a wedding that was started on Lag Baomer, in which many Poskim permit the wedding to continue with music even past sundown, nonetheless the Rebbe took a stringent approach and prohibited it. Likewise, Rav Groner related that one time the Rebbe passed by 770 during the period of Sefira and heard the Mivtza tank playing Niggunim. The Rebbe turned to Rabbi Groner and said to him in astonishment, “do they not know that is forbidden to listen to music during Sefira?” And the Rebbe then directed that they should only put on vocal Niggunim without any musical instruments.
 Story by Rav Landa Shlita, of Rav Gurelick: All the veteran Rabbanim that I have spoken to regarding this have told me that they are not aware of any such Heter. Recently, it was publicized in the name of Rav Eli Landa Shlita that he is part of the list of so-called Rabbanim who permit listening to all types of Niggunim during Sefira etc, even with musical instruments. I was puzzled by the suggestion that he would say such a thing, and therefore contacted him myself to verify whether this is true and as to the basis for it. Rav Eli Landa responded to me that it is completely false, and that he never gave such a Heter neither during Sefira or Bein Hametzarim, and on the contrary he has for years spoken against the so-called allowance. He then related to me a story that happened in Kefar Chabad in the early 50s with the first Rav of Kefar Chabad, Rav Shneur Zalman Garelik, for which we see how history repeats itself regarding spreading false allowances in the name of Rabbanim. At that time, Rabbi Landa was a counselor in the Gan Yisrael camp which was run in Kefar Chabad during the period of Bein Hametzarim. One day, one of the staff members put on Niggunim music on the loudspeaker. Rav Landa who was puzzled by this, questioned the individual as to what he was doing, as it is forbidden to listen to music during Bein Hametzarim. The individual responded to him, “what do you want from me, the Rav [Rav Garelik] gave us a Heter to listen to Niggunim.” Rav Landa who accepted the response of the individual as true made no further issue with it, as if the venerated Rav of the Kefar said it’s okay who is he to argue. A few days later he was sent to Rav Garelik with a question on behalf of the camp, relating to a totally different issue. After he finished asking his question, Rav Garelik turned to him and asked him that before he answers his question he has a question for him in return, and Rav Garelik then asked him as to who allowed them to play Niggunim and music in the camp and as on what basis they are doing so? Rav Landa, was taken aback by the question and responded that he was told that Rav Garelik himself was already asked and had said that it is allowed. Is this not true? he asked the Rav. The Rav then told him that in truth he was asked a question by a specific person in a specific scenario as to whether that person may listen to the Niggun of Rav Michel of Zlotchiv, and he responded to him in that scenario that he may listen to it. Seemingly, they took my Pesak in this matter and evolved it into a general allowance in my name to listen to Niggunim, and even fast Simcha Niggunim, during Sefira and Bein Hametzarim. In truth, no such Heter exists. Rav Landa concluded to me that he is shocked by the rampant leniency in this in our circles, and that even the Chareidi radio stations are particular not to play Niggunim with musical instruments during Sefira and certainly he never stated that it is allowed, as he himself believes that it is not allowed.
 See Moed Lekol Chaiy 10:19, brought in Kaf Hachaim 551:41, who only allows singing slow Niggunim which break the heart, and even this he concludes that it is better not to sin. Hence certainly, one may not listen to it with musical instruments; Yechaveh Daas 6:32; Shevet Hakehasi 1:189; Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:13 that the above allowance is only to sing without musical instruments; Nitei Gavriel Pesach Vol. 3 53:11;
The negation of such a logic to differentiate between fast and slow music: In truth, there is no reason to differentiate even between slow and fast Niggunim, as all music has a power of Simcha, and singing a soulful Niggun also gives one Simcha, it is just a different type of Simcha. In Chassidus it is explained that some people enjoy fast music while others enjoy slow, depressing music, and each one has a different pleasure, and it is this pleasure of music that we diminish in during the period of mourning. Just as we do not differentiate on a fast day between sweet and sour foods, so too we do not differentiate between sweet and melancholy music. Some, in defense of the allowance to listen to Niggunim, have quoted Poskim who write that slow Niggunim which break the heart are permitted to be listened to. However, in truth they are referring to singing these Niggunim with one’s mouth and are not referring to musical instruments at all. There is certainly no source from any of their words to permit listening to fast and Simchadiki Niggunum.
 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]
 The reason: As when doing so for Parnasa purposes it is not considered a matter of Simcha for this person. [ibid]
 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
 The reason: As when doing so for Parnasa purposes it is not considered a matter of Simcha for this person. [ibid]
 Betzeil Hachochmah 6:61; Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:14
 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.
 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.
 So is understood from all Poskim who rule a musician may play for gentiles due to that for him it is not for pleasure. [See P”M 551 A”A 10; Kitzur SH”A 122:1; Ben Ish Chaiy Devarim 5; Biur Halacha 551 “Mematin”; Kaf Hachaim 551:39; Igros Moshe 3:87; Kinyan Torah 2:99] So is also understood from M”A 560:9; and Sota 49a regarding the allowance to sing during laborious work in order to hasten their work ability.
 Divrei Shalom 4; 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, although, in truth the reason of the Heter should apply during all times]; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 493 footnote 36; Chelkas Yaakov 1:61 and 3:98 regarding Shabbos; See Sefer “Eileh Heim Moadaiy” 3:63-65 for a discussion from Poskeiy Zemaneinu on this matter; Nitei Gavriel 15:9
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.
 Nitei Gavriel 15:9 footnote 22
 This follows the same logic as the previous Q&A.
 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.
 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.
 Ashel Avraham Butchach 552; Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:14; Nitei Gavriel 15:8
 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
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:13
 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.
 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
 Mishneh Halachos ibid; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:13
 Heard from Rabbi Groner, however the dancing may continue
 Nitei Gavriel Pesach 3 52:6; Rav Asher Lemel Cohen; See Likkutei Sichos 4:1090
 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.
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:5 in name of Makor Chaim 551
 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.
 See Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:5
 Minchas Yitzchak 1:111; Piskeiy Teshuvos 493:5
 Igros Kodesh 20:253 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 3:48]
 Michaber Y.D. 396:3; Tur in name of Rosh; Shach in Nekudos Hakesef 340:15 based on Rosh and Tur and Michaber 396; M”A 551:38; Rokeiach Aveilus 314; Degul Merivava 340; Yad Avraham 381; Beis Hillel 381 based on Rashi Taanis 12b; Levushei Serud 340:15; Chochmas Adam 152:17; Pischeiy Teshuvah 340:10; Igros Moshe 1:124; Nitei Gavriel 105:25; and many Poskim in 127 footnote 1; See Pnei Baruch 25 footnote 9 See Pnei Baruch 25; Nitei Gavriel 127
 M”A 551:31 “It is implied that it is permitted to give meat and wine to a child this week [of Tishe Beav], as to begin with they were not accustomed to be stringent with a child, however only if he is not of age of mourning” based on Rama 551:10 who permits giving wine of Havdalah to child, and based on Hagahos Maimanis Minhagei Av 59, as explained in Machatzis Hashekel ibid [The M”A ibid negates the argument that the Rama’s allowance is limited to when there is a Mitzvah need involved in the eating or drinking, and proves that it applies in all cases]; Makor Chaim 551:9; Chayeh Adam 133:16; Divreiy Yatziv 2:236; Chanoch Lanaar 21 footnote 5; Or Letziyon 1:33; Yalkut Yosef; Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:41 [that this applies even according to the M”B brought next]; See Nitei Gavriel 38:1;
 Igros Moshe 4:21-4; Likkutei Sichos 37 p. 122; Koveitz Mibeis Levi 1:57; Halichos Bas Yisrael 24:5; Piskeiy Teshuvos 493 footnote 37; Nitei Gavriel 53:4-5 and footnotes 8-9
 Igros Moshe 4:21-4; Halichos Bas Yisrael 25:4; Nitei Gavriel 53: 5 and footnote 9
 Halichos Bas Yisrael 24:5; Piskeiy Teshuvos 493 footnote 37
 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.
 Igros Moshe 4:21-4; Halichos Bas Yisrael 25:4; Nitei Gavriel 53: 5 and footnote 9
 Igros Moshe 4:21-4; Likkutei Sichos 37 p. 122; Koveitz Mibeis Levi 1:57; Halichos Bas Yisrael 24:5; Piskeiy Teshuvos 493 footnote 37; Nitei Gavriel 53:4-5 and footnotes 8-9;
 M”A ibid; Chayeh Adam ibid; All Poskim ibid in first footnote, and so agrees: Or Letziyon 1:33; Yalkut Yosef; Divreiy Yatziv 2:236 regarding chicken