Anything about JUDAISM
Anything about JUDAISM
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MODERATOR Posted - 25 August 2000 0:57


Music is a very sublime form of expression, and a person's music is a kind of product of his soul (I saw that in the Kuzari but I cannot find exactly where, right now). Therefore, even music without words can have an effect on you.

The Mishna Brurah (Shaar HaTziyun, laws of Tisha ba) brings in the name of the Shelah that a woman should not sing a baby to sleep with a non-jewish melody, because it can have an affect on the baby's neshoma.

This is true even though the baby cannot understand one word, even if the mother is singing with the words.

And when you say "I hardly pat attention to the words," that, too, won't matter. The words are still there, youre still listening. They still get into your head, and stay there. It is known that even while sleeping, people can listen to instructive tapes and it will make an impression on their minds. To wit: Lack of attention does not negate the effect of the words.

Edited by - admindealing on 8/24/2000 8:59:32 PM

asdfg Posted - 25 August 2000 14:03
Me, I didnt start listening to nonJewish music because its cool, even though it is. Hard rock hepls me when Im angry at my parents or other people. Its the cleanest way I have of venting my anger without hurting others. Right now Im not in the greatest mood and IM listening to Metallica scream his head off and I feel better. I only wish I wasnt watching my little brother because he doesnt need to hear it.
pj Posted - 25 August 2000 14:04
me- point taken.i think though,that jewish rap is better than something like "kitties" heavy metal for someone who "needs" their rap. i heard once that jewish music as a genre stems from the shiras haleviyim, which had no percussion at all. that's zero beat. i wonder what that means as far as all the jewish music out there today. everyone has some sort of drum sound. do you think thats still considered jewish music? i'm stumped on that one.
Punims Posted - 25 August 2000 14:05
just something on jewish music. i dont know if ppl realize but jewish music just makes you feel so much better (an opinion), vs. non jewish music, u put it on, it makes u feel all wild and if you're in the car, like speeding and just doing something crazy. when i listen to beautiful,pure jewish music (for example Shalsheles, D'vaikus and Yehuda!) some of it is just so beautiful that it makes you wanna cry or just thinking of doing the right thing. just want you ppl to know that just bec it may be "uncool" to listen to jewish music; music when it's played right - the Jewish way, is more beautiful than anything. in the future it is going to be JEWISH music that is played in the Beit Hamikdosh, not that other beep-beep stuff.
mevaseret Posted - 25 August 2000 14:06
what is goyish music? all music by non-jews, or music by any one about a topic other than God, or music with particular instruments, music with particular lyrics??? please define.

akiv44 Posted - 25 August 2000 14:08
Just because a song is written by a non-jew, and has a non jewish tune does not make it bad. I mean I listen to simon and garfunkel. And a lot of their songs are basically about believeing in god. Just because it's not specifically jewish does not mean we cannot derive a jewish lesson form it.
for instance "Like a bridge over troubled waterrs i will lay thee down" That song basically talks about how god helps troubled people.
We also have to define what exactly is jewish music? Can zionist folk music be considered jewish?
asdfg Posted - 26 August 2000 4:59
Moderator, are u saying that nonJewish music is assur or just wrong according to hashkafa? We asked one of my rebbaim and he just explained why it goes against hashkafa but I dont think its against halacha.
akiv44 Posted - 26 August 2000 5:00
pj- i doubt shirat haleviyim had no percussion or beat. It was most likely something like arabic music. Like it probably sounded like what the arabs sound like when they pray. very sephardic
shunamit Posted - 27 August 2000 22:17
First of all, Arabic music definitely does have a beat, and classically uses a lot of percussion and rhythm. What it doesn't have, that we're used to, is harmony. And second, it is overly simplistic to say that Sephardic music sounds like Arab music. Maybe it's the other way around? I dont note any of you saying that Eastern European Jewish music sounds like Greek, Hungarian, or Balkan music. (which it does) Or that Dveykus etc. sound like American music (which it does).

I listen to a lot of Jewish music from all over the world, and I would say that makes it Jewish is both the words and the inspiration behind it.

The problem with non-Jewish music is the same as the problem with non-Jewish literature. It's not so much that all or even most of it is a bad influence or badly done. The problem is, the quality of the CONTENT and the ideas behind it is uncertain, and a lot of that is inimicable to Jewish tradition. Because music and literature appeal to a non-analytical part of our brain, it is harder to filter out the negative influences,or (sometimes) even to see them for what they are. There's a lot of really good music whose message is basically sexual immorality, moral relativism, etc. And it all goes down just as easy as morally good music.

MODERATOR Posted - 27 August 2000 23:33
No, listening to non-Jewish music is not Halachicly prohibited, at least not the tune. That is simply unhealthy for your soul, as the Mishna Brura quotes in the name of the Shelah. However, the words of the song may qualify as "divrei cheishek", having sexual connotations, and therefore are prohibited as per Shulchan Aruch OH 307:16.

I am certain that when your Rebbe said non-Jewish music is Halachicly permitted, he was not thinking of Lil' Kim.

Edited by - admindealing on 8/27/2000 11:08:58 PM

Me Posted - 28 August 2000 0:28
Hi guys sorry I haven't been posting for a few days and answering but we had tons of kids around my house this week and it got too hectic.
Anyway asdfg- The non jewish music just makes you more upset without you realizing
it cuz it leaves that garbage in your brain and even though the yetzer hora make it calm you for that minute your anger will start again soon and you feel you need it more and more until you become like a mosquito only living off of that goyish music.
pj- you're right i guess that the jewish rap is better than than that goyish stuff if that is what it takes for kiruv but it's really not much better I mean well even though it's better words it's taking Kadosh pesukim and making them disgraceful sounding!!!!!
Punims- you know what i think we're very similar I mean you think the same way i do you like the same exact music i do... I mean Shalsheles sounds like it comes straight from shamayim. I think that's really cool that we are very alike. just thought I'd let you know that i really agree with you.
MODERATOR Posted - 28 August 2000 2:20

About believeng in G-d, yes, but also in Jesus. Even though they were Jewish, RJJ Yeshiva graduates. Don't get your religious inspiration from them.

Renée Posted - 28 August 2000 19:11
i've never listened to jewish music before. i don't listen to anything that would be halachically prohibited either (unless there's something wrong with my dorky rogers and hamerstien musicals LOL). i checked out borders looking for jewish stuff but i couldn't find anything with a "modern" sound to it. any suggestions?
Punims Posted - 28 August 2000 19:11
me, it's really weird to hear you say that about us being similar bec. the other day i thought the same thing, from one of ur other posts. it would be great if somehow we can contact eachother, but i dont think it's possible on this site. :)
captainbkeller Posted - 28 August 2000 19:12
first of all, what defines music as jewish?

music that is definitely NOT jewish: metallica, eminem, lil kim, creed, etc.

music that is definitely jewish: chabad niggunim, modzitz niggunim, MBD, avraham fried, shlomo carlebach, and chazonus.

music that is questionably jewish: anything by a jewish person that is not in the above list.

as soon as i find out the status of the "questionably jewish" music. i'll talk more.

send me an email...ciao

MODERATOR Posted - 28 August 2000 22:00
Unfortunately, not all the music you cataloged as "definitely Jewish", is. MBD's entire song "Yidden, Yidden," for example, is, from beginning to end, a German 80's song called "Dschingis Khan". And it's not the only "definitely Jewish" tune that was lifted from the goyim.

Even among the "oldies", the New York School of Jewish Song's "Btzais Yisroel mimitzrayim" is actually, note for note, a Greek syrtaki (type of dance).

Even Shlomo Carlebach was influenced by the French folk singer George Moustaki (they even look a bit alike). And compare the Irish folk song, "What should we do with the drunken sailor?" and Shlomo's "Odchah Hashem b'chol levav", and then tell me what "definitely Jewish" means.

And it is no secret, nor need it be, that many Chassidic niggunim were actually non-Jewish melodies that were "sanctified" and used at the tisch.

On the other hand, the way we perceive Jewish music, there are very few Jewish melodies that sound nearly as heavenly Jewish as Kitaro's "Silk Road" (particularly the "Enchanted Evening" version) and you would be hard pressed to find a more appropriate sounding "chupah march" than "Milky Way," by the same artist.

Yanni and John Tesh are sold today in Jewish music stores and their music is sometimes accepted as more Jewish than those of many Jewish composers.

When MBD came out with "Let My People Go". A number of Roshei Yeshivos declared it to be plain goyish music composed by a Jewish artist.

It's hard to define Jewish music today, since our music has for so so long been so so mixed up blended and influenced by and with any and all types of music that exist, and the only one criterion that determines what music is sold as "Jewish" is if the "Jewish market" is willing to buy it.

And marketing is a very messed up way to a spiritual concept, such as "Jewish music".

Music has tremendous power over us. It has the power to make us happy, sad, angry, optimistic, or hopeless. It can get a lazy guy moving, make our hearts beat faster, and make us shed tears. The Vilna Gaon writes that if someone could theoretically harness the power in music they would be able to actually “revive the dead” with it.

Music sits in your head even when you don’t know it’s there – how often do you find yourself absent-mindedly humming a tune without even deciding which tune to hum? Or to hum it at all? That doesn’t happen with non-musical information. You don’t absent-mindedly recite the Gettysburg Address. Tosfos in Megilla says that if you learn with a melody you will remember what you learn better.

Music comes from a person’s soul, says the Kuzari. The tune can have an effect even on the soul of a little baby that hears it, says the Shelah. So music is really a form of communication, soul-to-soul, that comes from somewhere deeper than the place where we make conscious decisions, and penetrates to there as well.

So I guess that Jewish Music would be music that comes from a Jewish place within a person’s soul, or at the very least, music that contains a Jewish feeling, meaning, a feeling that the Torah would encourage or at least approve of.

Now even Jews, because of the impact that their deeds and thoughts have on their souls, may have non-Jewish influences within their own souls that can be expressed in their music. And so, too, a non-Jewish melody can be “repossessed” by the Jewish soul, using the melody as a medium for the expression of exclusively Jewish sentiment.

Recognizing music as possessing Jewish sentiments is a matter of sensitivity. To be sure, to a certain extent, we do possess the sensitivity to recognize some musical sensations as thoroughly non-Jewish (such as the veneration for death in many metal tunes). But for the most part, as we can see from the above examples, we no longer possess the sensitivity to recognize music that’s coming from a Jewish place within someone, from music that is coming from elsewhere. And it’s no wonder. Since we have mixed and matched both our music and our souls with foreign influences for so long, it becomes almost impossible to sense the Jewishness and non-Jewishness in our music altogether. We have for the longest time commercialized the creation of song, cranking out melodies while being concerned more on the sale than the soul, that it’s unclear to me that today’s music is an expression of anything except market trends.

Music, really, is a lost art. Lost because we are not sensitive enough to recognize the message of Jewishness – and to discern an undesirable message of non-Jewishness – but also because there is very little left in our big business music industry that actually has a message anyway.

What we have are nice, catchy tunes, melodies to dance to, and songs to sing. But all that isn’t “music” in the religious sense. There may be an exception or two, but in general, we’re talking about a business rather than a religious experience. Or at the very best, something somewhere in between.

Our music today is a lot like us: mixed up and confused.

Edited by - admindealing on 11/23/2000 4:55:07 AM

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