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From Our Archives: Music During Sefirah

Posted By Shlomo Brody On April 7, 2010 @ 2:05 pm In From Our Archives,New Posts | 2 Comments

In 2008, Rabbi Moshe Bleich published in Tradition [1] (41:1) a survey of halakhic positions [2]regarding listening to music during the period of Sefirat ha-Omer (and the three weeks), which led to further correspondence [3]between him and Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot regarding Rabbi Soloveitchik’s opinion.

In addition to the positions cited in the article, one should add the recently published teshuva (Siach Nachum #35) of Rabbi Nachum Eliezer Rabinovitch, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Hesder Ma’ale Adumim, in which he rules that one is only forbidden from simchah shel rikkudim (dance festivities) during Sefirat Ha-Omer, and further allows listening to muzikah retzinit (serious music, apparently as opposed to rock music and their Jewish imitations) during the 3 weeks.

See also this article [4](21:4, Fall 1985) by Rabbi J. David Bleich, which includes a section on Sefirat Ha-Omer and Shavuot for travellers crossing the international date line.  For a brief survey of the general issues regarding the international date line, see my short article [5]in the Jerusalem Post.

- Shlomo Brody

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2 Comments To "From Our Archives: Music During Sefirah"

#1 Comment By Shalom Spira On April 8, 2010 @ 12:39 pm

If one synthesizes R. Schneersohn’s halakhic ruling [regarding traversing the international dateline during sefirat ha'omer] that is described by R. J. David Bleich in this posted article with R. Bleich’s other article in Tradition 38:3, the following remarkable conclusion emerges: A Jew who voyages to outer space during sefirat ha’omer – breaking free of earth’s orbit – will not count while he is in outer space (because he transcends halakhic time during his cosmic sojourn), but will continue counting his own personal sefirat ha’omer on whichever day he returns to planet earth. Thus, Shavu’ot could be celebrated any day of the year (depending on how much time the Jew voyages in outer space)! This intirguing result (viz. that according to one halakhic school of thought every day is theoretically worthy for the celebration of Zeman Matan Torateinu) confirms the truism expressed by R. Isaac Arama’ah in his Akeidat Yitzchak (Vayikra, sha’ar no. 27, ch. 4, final paragraph) that the reason the Torah Shebikhtav does not associate the holiday of Shavu’ot with Zeman Matan Torateinu is because really every day is a joyous day worthy to celebrate Kabbalat HaTorah. Bikhol yom va’yom yihiyu bi’einekha kichadashot.

#2 Comment By Shalom Spira On April 9, 2010 @ 7:55 am

My apologies: Correction to second line of above post – Tradition 36:3. Thank you.

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URLs in this post:

[1] Tradition: http://text.rcarabbis.orgwww.traditiononline.org

[2] survey of halakhic positions : http://www.traditiononline.org/news/article.cfm?id=105540

[3] further correspondence : http://www.traditiononline.org/news/article.cfm?id=105408

[4] this article : http://www.traditiononline.org/news/article.cfm?id=104348

[5] short article : http://www.jpost.com/JewishWorld/Judaism/Article.aspx?id=167236

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