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Apr 29, 2011

Acapella During Sefira

The common custom is that listening to music during [parts of] the sefiras ha'omer period is prohibited. There are raging debates what is considered music, and what is prohibited/permitted. There are raging debates regarding whether or not digitally recorded music is considered music or if the prohibition only includes live music.

I have no problem with anyone choosing to rely on the more lenient opinions and choosing to listen to music, if they so choose. I personally do not, though I don't make a big deal if I go somewhere and they are playing music.
If you choose to not listen to music, I think the modern day acapella style music should be just as prohibited as regular music. It is recorded at a very high quality, and sometimes they are so good that it sounds like there is music. I don't see why this should be defined as music any less than regular music.

4 comments:

  1. There is yet another approach. As I recall, Rav Soloveitchik held that the principal prohibition isn't on music at all. It is on public gatherings for celebration, like weddings.

    That being the case, then the prohibition would not be listening to music, but groups of people 'hanging out together.' Listening to a CD at home would be fine; but meeting a large group of friends to eat, drink, and play board games would not. It's a pretty contrary logic to what is typically done.

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  2. that is really all that the Shulchan Aruch prohibits. The additional prohibition of not listening to music in general seems to have evolved as later customs.

    Someone told me that the SA does not discuss generally not listening to music during sefira because he paskens one can never listen to music, zeicher l'churban, so there is no need to prohibit it specifically during sefira.

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  3. Listen to classical music.

    This is a fine time to learn to appreciate its less accessible beauty, now that it does not have to compete with the quick fix of hassidic pop.

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  4. "It is recorded at a very high quality, and sometimes they are so good that it sounds like there is music...."

    Perhaps you realize it but aren't saying so - in most cases these recordings are synthesized versions of the original voices, which some modern-day poskim say transforms the voice into an instrument.

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