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TOPIC: Music's Effect on our Souls- What About Jewish Music?

Music's Effect on our Souls- What About Jewish Music? 1 year 6 months ago #927

  • Not Sure
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Hi!
One of my teachers gave a class a while ago about nonjewish music. She was basically saying that music has a lot of koach and when a person writes music they are putting part of their neshama in it as well.
I completely relate to this and to the power of music, but my question is, what about Jewish singers? How do you know that they are ok?
And specifically, what about singers that are known to have gone off the derech afterwards or someone who did some really big aveiros?
Is it problematic to listen to them and have them spread out all over the Jewish world? Does THAT have an effect on our neshamos?
Last Edit: 1 year 6 months ago by Hadas Bat-el.
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Music's Effect on our Souls- What About Jewish Music? 1 year 6 months ago #928

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Hi Not Sure!
Nice to see you again. Actually your teacher is right and I know many people who are machmir not to listen to certain singers, even though they are frum, even though they are popular, even though....etc.

For example in high school my school was against many songs of Shwekey. Another person I know doesn't listen to Mordechai Shapiro or Shwekey at all. I know people who don't listen to Gad Elbaz, and others who don't listen to music at all. (That's another story)

I personally have nothing against these singers, nor do I think it's loshon hora to say these things because this goes to personal feelings some people feel when they hear certain music. (On a side note Mordechai Shapiro has been extremely supportive of my Jewish Music Gemach and I really enjoyed e-mailing back and forth with him, besides for the fact I love his music)

In these gray areas there's different levels, and we can always take on a higher level.

When it comes down to it, anyone who is a Jew is a higher level the a non-jew, because of their nehoma, also adding the fact if they are frum we hope the thoughts in their head are holy and good.

Relating directly to your question, all people make mistakes, even if people can do some not good things I'm sure you've done some not good things too in your life. Concerning people who have gone OTD, like I said some are machmir, but I really think music is kinda a frozen in time piece. I write music and it expresses how I'm feeling when I write and sing it, it doesn't express me in every moment of my existence. So although you don't know what was in the mind of a singer who went OTD, again we don't know what's in the mind of someone who looks and acts frum either. Just because someone did something before or after writing the song doesn't mean that was in his heart and mind while writing the song.

I love Matisyahu's old music. I grew up with him and met him a few times too when he came to my city, before he was even popular and people knew his name. He spent a few shabbosim in my city actually.

In any case, I'm attaching this thread to our Rabbanim and we can hear what they have to add.

Please note I'm not a Rabbi or a posek! I am just sharing what I know.
Good Luck!
Hope to see you around on less serious threads too.
Welcome to the FHO forum!
I'm Hadas Bat-el founder of FHO! I'm also a poet, blogger, writer, copywriter, and proud redhead! You can read my blog here: frumhangout.com/index.php/blog/item/hadas-bat-el-2 , I post every Sunday!

I can't wait to get to know you all! So what are you waiting for?! START POSTING!

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Music's Effect on our Souls- What About Jewish Music? 1 year 6 months ago #929

  • Malach136
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about Jewish singers who did things wrong, I've learnt that every jew is a holy and pure soul, they don't do wrong unless as its called in the gemara they get a ruach shtus-they got weird ideas in their head which propelled them to do wrong, their music from before they went wrong i think is still pure and good, though i would understand why you shouldn't listen to their music- we don't really know when they started planning what they ended up doing, but i do think it's better than altogether non Jewish music.
we cannot know whats in anyone's heart but we can't not listen to anyone just because we don't know what they may do in the future, singers who have done wrong may not have known themselves that they would be doing it.
but why wouldn't people listen to shwekey etc?? they are frum good Jews...
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Music's Effect on our Souls- What About Jewish Music? 1 year 6 months ago #930

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I honestly don't want to give my opinion in this area but I feel compelled to say one thing. Not Sure- ask yourself when you listen to a song, from whatever singer jewish, not, on or off.. Is what i'm listening to now making me feel closer to Hashem or not. If the music is making you dance inappropriately, feel sad or depressed, or in any state that's not conducive to growth then regardless of whose singing it that's your answer. and If you'd like to say that you don't feel anything, i'd challenge you to listen to a Jewish singer singing a passuk and then right after to a non jewish singer singing his own creation and then ask yourself the question again...
Music is a tool to create connection in a deep way to Hashem. any music that's contrary to that is probably not ideal. and since i'm not on such a level i'm going to sign out with that...
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Music's Effect on our Souls- What About Jewish Music? 1 year 6 months ago #931

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great point. thanks
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It's dishonest to disqualify the merit of a person's artistic achievments because he's not Jewish 1 year 6 months ago #932

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I don't accept your premise first of all. What's pure? Who decides? I only know of one kind of expression and that's honest expression. All good music, whether it comes from a Jew or otherwise has that quality. Don't throw quotations of the Kabbalah at me. I've heard it all. Good music comes from the heart. Jew, non-Jew, man from Venus. Doesn't matter.
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It's dishonest to disqualify the merit of a person's artistic achievments because he's not Jewish 1 year 6 months ago #933

  • Hadas Bat-el
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@Velvet Elvis, good to see you back! Even if it's an honest expression, you don't think anti-torah ideas or a song sung by someone who has anti torah ideas in his head or heart affects the music?

I found this answer online, and also my personal Rabbi says to go with that:

In 5719 (1959), Rabbi Moshe Feinstein was asked to rule on the permissibility of playing the music of a certain song writer who was rumored to engage in disreputable behavior.

(Teshuvot Iggerot Moshe, Even Ha-Ezer, I, no. 96.) Rabbi Feinstein distinguished between this composer’s early compositions and his later ones. Any music written in his early years when this individual comported himself appropriately remained permissible; at that time he behaved properly and his later activities can not retroactively taint his prior achievements. One of the proofs that R. Feinstein brought is from the case of a Torah scroll that was written by a heretic—Jewish law requires that such a scroll be destroyed so as not to perpetuate his name, reputation or achievements. (Hil. Sefer Torah 6:8) However, the law also asserts that a scroll written while that person was a true believer remains valid, even if he later became an apostate.(Pit’hei Teshuvah, Yoreh De’ah 281, no. 2.) Concerning subsequent musical compositions, R. Feinstein stated that even those songs that this person wrote after his “reputation became objectionable” are permissible because music, unlike Torah scrolls, have no intrinsic holiness. Furthermore, the questionable activities had nothing to do with undermining the fundamentals of Jewish belief but rather with casualness with regard to the intermingling of the sexes that were not in keeping with Orthodox norms. Such a lapse would not render a Torah Scroll he wrote invalid; it would certainly not disqualify his music. R. Feinstein wrote nothing about learning Torah from this individual. However, based on R. Feinstein’s discussion, one might distinguish between the teachings and insights of a heretic before and after his apostacy: the earlier Torah would remain kosher; the latter Torah would be banned.
Welcome to the FHO forum!
I'm Hadas Bat-el founder of FHO! I'm also a poet, blogger, writer, copywriter, and proud redhead! You can read my blog here: frumhangout.com/index.php/blog/item/hadas-bat-el-2 , I post every Sunday!

I can't wait to get to know you all! So what are you waiting for?! START POSTING!

You can also reach me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any questions, comments, or you want to help with the site!
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It's dishonest to disqualify the merit of a person's artistic achievments because he's not Jewish 1 year 5 months ago #947

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music is affected by the neshoma and theres different levels. full nonjewish music, singer, tune, and words is really bad, even if a jew takes the tune, its different since when he sings it he is expressing himself and his neshoma.
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