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Nov 11, 2010

Interesting Psak: Homosexual Singers

Rav Eliyahu Abergil, an av beis din on the beis din of Yerushalayim, was asked about, and therefore issued a psak that it is prohibited to listen to songs sung by homosexuals. Rabbi Abergil explains that the messages these performers will transmit are dangerous to the youth and might influence these youth to become like them.

Rabbi Abergil also mentioned a number of popular Israeli singers by name such as Yehuda Poliker, Avri Lider and Harel Skat, who are out of the closet homosexuals, and said one cannot listen to their music. Abergil says that because they are public figures, the danger is much greater, as they have a greater level of influence.

Rabbi Abergil said that a homosexual or lesbian singer are public figures, exactly like a rav, and every word that comes out of the mouth of such a person has great significance. Therefore it is prohibited to listen to them, or to broadcast their words in public.

He continued, "What message do they have to give over to the youth and to people? Only bad messages. nothing good comes from them. Their behavior is a result of their problems with their sexuality. All they have to give over to the young kids is negative and dangerous messages."

Note that he did not say to avoid the music because it is inappropriate or prohibited to listen to secular music. He said to not listen to homosexual singers, specifically. And he is not saying dont listen to a sng where the singer encourages homosexuality. You cannot listen to any of their music. They transmit evil messages that are influential. It's amazing that such opinions still exist in 2010. 

I don't know Rabbi Abergil., but according to NRG, he is one of the most important poskim in today's rabbinate. Rabbi Abergil had been considered a serious contender for the Chief Rabbi position a few years back, and has published 6 books in halacha.

As usual (and it applies even on posts where I forget to include the caveat), don't consider any psak quoted on the internet without actually seeing the source as being definitive. Any questions should be directed to your own personal rabbi and mentor.


  1. I don't understand your reaction. People who are icons of particular cultures and are popular figures clearly influence their audiences. It's not only in the words but the style of dress, the body language, the reported social interactions, the "tone" of the songs.

    And can a message of confusing, overt, extreme, or alternative sexuality influence others - particularly teenagers. Of course!

    It may not change their sexual preference but it certainly can influence their thinking on sexual topics.

  2. if somebody is evil, they should be avoided.
    My comment is on the assumption that all homosexuals are automatically evil and pass along evil messages..

  3. I wonder what R. Abergil would say about someone who is homosexual but overcomes his yetzer, i.e., he does not engage in homosexual relations, and possibly is married to a woman and had children with her. Could we listed to his music?

    What about someone who "discovers" mid-career that he's homosexual. Could we listen to his early music?

    What about other issurim? Could we listed to music from someone who is mechalel shabbat b'farhesia or a Christian singer who is oved avodah zara?

  4. To Yoni - When I was in Yeshiva there was a very popular singer (since deceased) who was considered to have gone off the Derech. Many listened to his early music, when he was still 'Kosher', but discarded his later music.

  5. @yoni r .
    There is the "famous" R Moshe teshuva about an unnamed but still famous singer that says since his early music was written before he "sinned" (of course its not clear that he did) it is mutar....

  6. Understand What It Means to Be Created in the Image of God: http://www.thebody.com/content/art13149.html

  7. Ditto on Akiva's comment.

    The coming out of the closet, pride in who they are is heard through their music and expressed to the youth listening.

  8. I'm still stuck on the whole "they-have-a-pgam*-and-therefore-everything-they-do-is-tainted" approach. Should we stop listening to overweight singers (or rabbis) lest our children become morbidly obese?

    One could argue along similar lines that in order to get up on stage and sing in front of thousands of people, a certain degree of vanity is probably involved (the jury is still out on blogging). Let's stop listening to music altogether since anyone who performs is vain and it will rub off on our youth!

    *I'm not calling it a pgam. That's just the point of departure for Rav Abergil's psak.

  9. in order to get up on stage and sing in front of thousands of people, a certain degree of vanity is probably involved (the jury is still out on blogging)

    I already admitted straight out that I am no rocket scientist... :-)

  10. Wow Yehuda Poliker's famous song "Hurts But Less" sounded like a guy talking about a girl who dumped him. She hurt him and he doesn't under stand why but over time the hurt is less. Sounded like someone straight to me. Well what do I know. Go figure. On the one hand this message is "straight" but i guess if you like one of the songs like this one you can get hooked on others which presumably might not be good ones.

  11. Is this a distinction over other irreligious singers? The orthodox community has fallen into the same political debate of whether this type of "toeva" makes a person generally immoral or just a "mumar b'davar echad" and can otherwise be considered potentially moral. I am not familiar with the full gamut of Torah answers on this - it is a new question since being public about one's status is now fully acceptable in secular society.


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