Mar 26, 2018

Interesting Psak: Singing with Koolulam

President of Israel, Reuven "Ruvi" Rivlin, has a nationwide musical program planned for this coming Yom Haatzmaut. Rivlin is using Koolulam to put together a mass singing event which will be videoed and broadcast on Yom Haatzmaut.

To that end, someone asked Rav Aviner about the Koolulam experience and how to relate to it from a halachic perspective.

Here is an example of the most recent Koolulam event, from the Shneider Children's Hospital in Petach Tikva:

and here is my favorite of the Koolulam events, their rendition of Matisyahu's One Day:

So someone asked Rav Aviner about Koolulam events. The initial question asked was if it is kosher, to which Rav Aviner replied it is definitely not kosher and the two problems with it are mixing and mingling of men and women along with mixed singing.

The follow-up question was if it is done in a shul, with men and women separated, is it ok then? Rav Aviner said that would take away the mingling, but would add a problem of doing something improper in a shul and damaging the kedusha of the shul. Regarding this question, I do not know why they asked about doing it in a shul rather than just a gender-separate event anywhere.

Q: What about if they sing "holy songs"?
A: Even worse. Any sin while connecting it to kedusha is worse.

Q: Men cannot hear women sing but what about if it is a lot of women together or many men hearing many women?
A: Even worse, as the sin is magnified by so many people..

Q: what about the fact that at the Koolulam events it is unifying people among the spectrum of Israeli society?
A: unity is good, but not through sin

Q: So how should we unify?
A: have separate Koolulam events for men and for women. And, real unity isnt created by a passing experience. Real unity is created through service in the IDF, mesirut nefesh for each other and for klal yisrael.

Q: And in our daily lives [how is unity created]?
A: helping others, doing chessed. that is true love.
source: Kipa

The main method of creating unity is through army service? Army service, like any difficult/challenging/dangerous experience will be a bonding experience and create some sort of unity, but is that really the main or only way to create unity, discounting all others? Especially when you don't want half the people (the women) to serve in the army, and many others also do not, such as Arabs and Haredim, among others. It creates a bond, and perhaps unity, but only among those serving together in the same unit.

I am not sure what the premise was for asking if hearing women is still a problem if it is many men listening to many women. Why would the number of men listening change anything?

I do not know why they did not ask about the common hetter of "two voices cannot be heard", meaning with so many people singing together, you aren't hearing anybody's voice, or anybody specific's voice, thus it is allowed and not kol isha. I also don't know why they did not ask about the men singing as well and thus not hearing the other women singing. Either way, Rav Aviner very well might reject those hetterim and say it does not matter, or he might say even if such a hetter could be valid (in some circumstances) it is still inappropriate and still mingling of men and women,but it still should have been asked. I think they are more relevant questions than, for example, asking about doing the event inside a shul.

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  1. and yet who have a half million haredi jews [at least] for whom IDF is not only assur bedieved, but for many --yeihareig v'al yaavor...

  2. Of Course Rav Aviner is correct

    still we could appreciate after the fact how beautiful it was and is


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