Sunday, April 15, 2007

I Need My Music!!

I stand proud of my piece from May 2005 entitled "A Capella -Load of..."
I think listening to A Capella music is simply a cop-out. Once doing that, just listen to the real thing already. It's like buying a burger in Wendy's. Not a cheeseburger, just a burger.

Well, it isn't "just like it" since there are Rabbanim that say it's okay to listen to music that isn't live during Sefira. Nobody says it's okay to eat beef in Wendy's. My point is, though, if you feel that it's assur to listen to music, then it's assur. If you feel it's okay, then by all means- listen to the real thing.

I haven't done substantial research, but before relying on the heter to listening to music, I'd like to know what these Rabbis' other shittos are. If they say, for example, women must daven three times daily, and I am not ready to commit to davening Maariv, I'd feel it was wrong to rely on his heter. However, one wise man pointed out, "Lack of inconsistency does not consistency make." Interesting.

Of course, since there is a heter, perhaps I'm being foolish. But then I think about the Bais Yaakov teachers saying, "LeFum Tzaara Agrah," the harder it is for you to do something, the more reward you'll get. But does this "minhag" even count?

In seminary, my rebbe told us that it was okay to listen to music if you need it while you exercise. I'd feel funny doing that. If I want to go on the treadmill during Sefira, if it's that important to me, I'd do it without music. What would these people do if their iPods were broken? The speakers in the room were shot? They'd either not go on at all, or forgo the music. Besides, who do I think I'd be fooling if I didn't say going on the treadmill now during Sefira was just as much for the music (if not more) as it is for the exercise? G-d knows exactly what our intentions are.

I asked the rebbe, in all seriousness, but I doubt he took it that way, "What if I rely on my music emotionally? I'm not myself if I can't listen to music." I confessed. He looked at me as if I was trying to stump him, and he thought what I said is stupid. Obviously, I won't go endanger myself or others if I don't have my music. I'm not jumping off any bridges, or slitting my wrists by any means. I just don't consider myself very pleasant company as Lag B'Omer approaches, and I'm wearing thin emotionally.

So why is it okay for these exercise-obsessed women, (many of whom do it out of sheer vanity) but not me??

Music for me is a drug. Sefira to me is one very long fast day. I'm starving for some music right now. I'd even listen to John Mayer--- That, my friend, is starving.

24 Comments:

At 4/15/2007 1:10 PM, Blogger Kaila said...

my problem with a capella music is not the sefira issue. if you can sing shabbos zmiros, why is this a problem?

my issue is the phraseology. did you know that A Capella means "as in chapel?" the phrase refers to church choir music used before organs were allowed to be played on Sunday. Does no one else find it problematic to be using such phraseology? all these metaphors commonly used today are inappropriate to their circumstances. think about it. Going on a crusade against something... the crusades were a christian excuse to massacre Jews! sheesh, people! Do NOT go on a crusade against lashon hara! just fight it normally. Using some of these metaphors take away from their original historical contexts.

and about that eli gerstner "a chassideshe capella"... i meant to write a letter to country yossi about that one when they featured it. CHASSIDIM DO NOT HAVE CHAPELS!

okay, i'm done ranting for now.

 
At 4/15/2007 1:35 PM, Blogger alex said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 4/15/2007 3:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This entire post in nonsensical. Furthermore, I bet you do not exercize.

 
At 4/15/2007 4:24 PM, Anonymous Ike said...

My take on a capella? Depends if the person asked their rav, and what kind of response they got. Some will allow a capella, while assuring taped music with instruments. Others allow both, others say both are no good. My problem with a capella is that the music is horrible.

Also, as for the emotional issue, if it really changes your mood, you should ask a shailah. If, for example, you would speak lashon hora or commit other sins due to being depressed, it might be okay to listen, especially because some rabbonim allow it. Ask a rav who knows you, and be sure to expain the issue clearly.

 
At 4/15/2007 4:31 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Ike--you hit on something important--perhaps a whole other topic--I am too shy to ask a rav. I don't have a rav i feel comfortabele discussing these matters with. Perhaps yet another fault in the system (or in me)?

 
At 4/15/2007 4:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michelle-you hit on an even bigger issue. There are too many girls out there without a good relationship with some sort of mentor (male or female) and certainly not with a competent rav. With so many issues in our everyday lives and even bigger ones in shidduchim etc., how are we expected to conduct ourselves properly without access to appropriate guidance? Why is this not built into our "system"?

 
At 4/15/2007 4:50 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

"With so many issues in our everyday lives and even bigger ones in shidduchim etc., how are we expected to conduct ourselves properly without access to appropriate guidance?"

Independent thinking? I, for one, think Michelle is perfectly capable of making this challenging musical decision on her own.

 
At 4/15/2007 6:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michelle, you've fallen into the Artscroll trap. The idea that there are halacha seforim is a joke. Halacha depends on the individual. Maybe Person X should listen to music. Maybe Person Y ought to listen to a capella only. Maybe Person Z shouldn't listen to any music at all.

Halacha is not one-size-fits-all.

 
At 4/15/2007 6:31 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

Anon,

"Halacha is not one-size-fits-all."

That's an interesting perspective. Care to elaborate?

Is it possible, say, for it to be Halachically acceptable for some individual to eat pork for different reasons than would be allowed for others?

 
At 4/15/2007 8:05 PM, Anonymous Hesh said...

Most folks do not find this so hard because they in fact do not NEED live music. For me merely not going to at least one show a week is too much pain and suffering to bear. I listen to non-live music because- first of all I have way more important things to improve and second of all- I am a concert junky so merely giving up the live music is very painful.

Most people do not attend so many concerts- so giving up music is not as painful.

 
At 4/16/2007 6:33 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Hesh--I'm not sure if you're being facetious. If you aren't-you raise a good point.

Say you weren't being facetious--would you have a heter to hear live music, but not be able to listen to recorded?

 
At 4/16/2007 8:01 AM, Blogger Scraps said...

Keep in mind that not listening to music during sefirah is a minhag--a prevalent one, but a minhag nonetheless. Also, a fairly recent one, as up until fairly recently (the last couple hundred years or so) it was presumed assur to listen to music ALL YEAR zecher l'churban--you won't find anything in the Shulchan Aruch about not listening to music during sefirah because the SA assumed people weren't listening to music at all.

 
At 4/16/2007 8:09 AM, Blogger Notsofrummie said...

My rational is this. Many rabonim say listening to non-live music is ok. After all, is it only a minhag. Theres alot worse aveiros we can be doing in this world. Not listening to music was suppose to help prepare for matan torah and such. There is no issur. I didnt listen to music until israel and almost everyone was listening to music, so i asked my rabbi and that is he explained it to me from what I can remember.

 
At 4/16/2007 9:33 AM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

The fact is that according to most opinions you are never allowed to listen to music except at weddings. Check the Mishneh Brurah or ask a rabbi.

 
At 4/16/2007 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jewish Philosopher--

I believe the prohibition is against listening to live music while eating a meat meal. Check again.

 
At 4/16/2007 2:08 PM, Anonymous Chani said...

I decided not to listen to a capella during sefira on my own, because I thought it was a cop-out. After I made this decision I found out that my father thinks the same way. This is not halacha, it's just a sensitivity. BTW, my father is my rabbi. I can't really help you too much with hashkafa or sensitivity issues, but if you ever had questions about halacha, you can ask me to ask my father for you. I've had friends do this in the past(contact your "L.O.R.")
I agree with whichever anon. it was who wrote about the problem of people not having mentors/rabbis. It's really important to have, but it's so hard to make that connection with someone you'd feel comfortable speaking to & who has time for you & whose opinion you'd respect!

 
At 4/16/2007 6:56 PM, Anonymous gavi said...

Michelle, how can you live on a day-to-day basis without a rav whom you can trust??

Funny I should write that, because I am a big believer in people making their own decisions, and not behaving as if their rav is the sole person capable of running their life: e.g. asking their rav if it is permissible to change a light bulb (old Ohr Somayach joke)...

Then again, I view the process of asking a shailah as a form of teaching. The questioner has almost as much knowledge as the questioned, and the questioned person teaches the questioner - why is it that a rav who answers halachic questions is called a "moreh hora'ah" - a teacher??

All in all, a rav is there to help a person make their own informed decisions.

--------------------------

Im yirtzeh hashem, when you get married, you will encounter some situations in which you and your husband may have to ask a rav questions of a very personal nature. It therefore pays to become comfortable with a rabbinic couple - any rav is only as good as his rebbetzin - so that you can talk to them about anything... And you'd be surprised at what people actually ask, and how much more empathy many rabbonim have than the estabishment would have you believe.

If you want, I can give you the name and contact info of one of our poskim - he is very good at responding to e-mails and phone calls. (His wife is great as well!) Tell him that Gavi and Carolyn Kaufman sent you...

--------------------------

With regard to the music on sefira issue, my personal practice is to not listen to any music, be it live, recorded, or a capella. All of these things bring me joy, and by not listening I curtail my joy in memory of the sad events of this time.

I know that some poskim allow a capella; others feel that recorded music is not really considered music, and some allow private listening to live music, since they feel that public concerts are the main prohibition.

 
At 4/17/2007 4:25 PM, Anonymous a junior said...

heyy i know what u mean, for a while dawson's creek was literally my drug

 
At 4/18/2007 12:14 AM, Anonymous Gilat said...

Hi everyone,
I just want to say that I realy anjoy reading this blog,because it's interesting to know about your (and I mean the whole jewish comunity in USE)life there...
I'M 22,live in israel,and I always think it's easer to live-as an orthodox jewish girl-in the US than in israel.
In fact, I realy want to visit in Brooklin-and see your way of life there....
(sorry for my not-perfect english :-)
waiting for your responds,
Gilat,haifa-Israel.

 
At 4/19/2007 2:58 PM, Anonymous Y-Love said...

I hate to plug myself, but my sefira album is completely upbeat, so much so it's almost digital and needed a hechsher to assure people that, to quote my manager "[the beatboxer's mouth] wasn't produced by Timbaland".

A cappella music has been equated with the funeral dirges you lament for so long that it's taking a while to come around.

But there are uplifting alternatives. And pretty soon one won't have to feel like they're stuck in Tisha B'Av just to remain musical instrument-free.

 
At 4/20/2007 6:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Gilat, the grass is always greener on the other side.

 
At 4/24/2007 12:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The prohibition against music is a weak rabbinic injunction; the prohibition against treif is biblical. You're comparison of the two is a straw man and has nothing to do with the halachic system. Indeed, the principle in terms of questionable situations we are lenient on rabbinic injunctions, but strict on biblical ones. Add into that the fact that this is more of a minhag than a halacha, that it has only been widely observed for about five hundred years, and that different communities deal with it in different ways and it becomes pretty clear you need to learn more before casting the finger of admonishment at your brothers. (and for the record, I don't listen to music year round except for suedot mitzvot and the like, so its not like I'm defending my practices).

 
At 4/24/2007 2:53 PM, Blogger Semgirl said...

Couldnt agree with you more Michelle. The garbage they play on 107.9 the Lakewood station is awful. It sounds like either church music or barbershop quartet.

The other night I could of sworn I heard The Mormon Tabernacle Quoir singing Kah Ribon.

 
At 5/15/2007 8:17 PM, Anonymous a junior said...

i know this is random but i discovered ur blog upon googling the term flatbushy how odd is that!

 

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