Halacha for Wednesday 26 Nissan 5778 April 11 2018

Listening to Music During the Omer

From the time the Bet Hamikdash was destroyed, our Sages prohibited listening to songs accompanied by musical instruments (see Gittin 7a). This means that while merely singing vocally is permissible, hearing songs with musical accompaniment is forbidden, excluding a celebration of a Mitzvah in which case there is room for leniency. Indeed, the prevalent custom throughout the entire Jewish nation is to bring musicians who play and sing songs of praise and gratitude to Hashem at celebrations of a Mitzvah, such as at weddings and the like.

In more recent generations, the great Poskim have discussed this matter lengthily and they conclude that, according to the letter of the law, it is permissible to listen to songs with musical accompaniment when this music is recorded, such as on the radio, tape, etc. even if this is not being done in the context of a celebration of a Mitzvah. This custom is widespread among many great and pious luminaries who listen to recorded holy songs and music which uplift one in the service of Hashem and bring peace an tranquility to the soul.

Nevertheless, regarding the days of the Omer counting period when, as we have explained previously, the tragic event of the death of Rabbi Akiva’s twenty-four thousand students occurred, Hagaon Harav Moshe Feinstein zt”l (see Igrot Moshe, Orach Chaim, Volume 1, Chapter 166) writes that one must act stringently and not listen even to recorded music. Several other great Poskim rule likewise, including Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l.

Thus, although we rule leniently throughout the rest of the year and allow listening to recorded music, during the Omer period, one should act stringently and abstain from doing so.

Nevertheless, during a Mitzvah celebration, such as a Bar Mitzvah, Berit Milah, Siyum Masechet (meal marking the completion of a Talmudical tractate), and the like, it is permissible to play and listen to songs of holiness with musical accompaniment since even when our Sages prohibited playing instrumental music after the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash, they ruled leniently regarding Mitzvah celebrations. Thus, the same would apply to the days of the Omer in that there is room for leniency in this regard.

Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l adds (in his Chazon Ovadia-Yom Tov, page 259) that if one wishes to hold a Hachnassat Sefer Torah (Torah dedication celebration) during the Omer, it will be permissible to do so even with musical accompaniment since this celebration is considered a great Mitzvah.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Eating Meat Following Rosh Chodesh Av

The Mishnah in Masechet Ta’anit (26b) tells us that on Erev Tisha Be’av during the last meal one eats before the fast, one may not eat meat, drink wine, or eat two cooked foods, such as rice and an egg. Although the letter of the law dictates that the prohibition to eat meat only applies......

Read Halacha

Havdala on Motza’ei Shabbat Which Coincides with Tisha Be’av and the Laws of an Ill Individual Who Must Eat on Tisha Be’av

On years during which Tisha Be’av falls out on Motza’ei Shabbat, such as this year, 5778, there are three opinions among the Rishonim regarding how Havdala should be recited on a cup of wine on Motza’ei Shabbat. The first opinion is that of the Geonim who write that one should r......

Read Halacha

Laws Pertaining to Tisha Be’av

There are five categories of abstinence which must be observed on Tisha Be’av: Eating and drinking, washing one’s self, rubbing one’s body with oils or lotions, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. Our Sages also prohibited learning Torah on Tisha Be’av, for the word......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Last Meal Before the Fast of Tisha Be’av This Year (5778)

On Erev Tisha Be’av, our Sages prohibited eating meat and drinking wine during the last meal before the onset of the fast of Tisha Be’av held after halachic midday. They likewise forbade eating two cooked foods during this meal. Nevertheless, this year, 5778, since the fast of Tisha Be&r......

Read Halacha


The Laws of the Beginning of the Fast when Tisha Be’av Falls Coincides With Motza’ei Shabbat

The Baraita in Masechet Ta’anit (30a) states that our Sages prohibited five things on Tisha Be’av: Eating and drinking, washing one’s self, rubbing one’s self with oils or lotions, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. Our Sages said (Ta’anit 30b): “One......

Read Halacha

Those Who are Obligated and Exempt from the Fast of Tisha Be’av and their Status When Tisha Be’av Falls Out on Motza’ei Shabbat

Someone Ill with a Non-Life-Threatening Illness, An Elderly Person, and a Woman who has Recently Given Birth One who is ill (meaning when one is actually bedridden and the like, even if the illness is not life-threatening) is exempt from fasting on Tisha Be’av. When in doubt about one’s......

Read Halacha

When Av Begins, We Diminish Our Joy

This coming Friday will mark Rosh Chodesh Av. May Hashem soon switch it to a month of joy and celebration. This year, 5778, there are some unique laws we must discuss since the Ninth of Av falls out on Shabbat and the fast is thus postponed until Sunday. The Jewish Nation’s Fortune During ......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Taking Haircuts During the “Three Weeks"

The Customary Prohibition of Haircuts As a result of the mourning observed during the “Three Weeks,” the Ashkenazi custom is to abstain from shaving and taking haircuts beginning from the Seventeenth of Tammuz until the Tenth of Av. The Sephardic Custom Nevertheless, the Sephardic ......

Read Halacha