Music From Foreign Cultures

Q: I was sitting with some relatives and we were speaking about Jewish music in our generation — about some singers who are considered chareidi, yet the words, melody, and tones of their songs grate on the ear and sound very coarse.

We spoke in a manner that laid the blame on those singers, since they inject into our society a style of song that is not acceptable and is far from suitable for our communities.

But then someone pointed out that it’s not certain that we’re allowed to speak about them like that, since this is their parnassah, and our words may be considered lashon hara. Is this argument justified?

A: These relatives were very right in speaking against those singers who bring unrefined, non-Jewish concepts into the chareidi camp with songs that have foreign tones and melodies that rouse feelings of wildness, lack of restraint, and licentiousness, all under the pretense of “chareidi music.” It is a great mitzvah to denigrate such singers and to warn others so they shouldn’t be misled by them.

Of course, this is only in a case where it is clear, beyond a doubt, that these singers are indeed guilty of such conduct. It is also proper to stress, when speaking against those singers, that these comments are in keeping with halachah, as explained by the Chofetz Chaim (Hilchos Lashon Hara 4:10 and Be’er Mayim Chayim se’if katan 43).


The questions and answers above were taken from the Mishmeres Hasholom pamphlet in Israel. For details and inquiries please e-mail us at office@hasholom.org or call 972-2 5379160.

The views expressed are of the individual author. Readers are encouraged to consult their own posek for guidance.