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Secular music

Rabbi Yoel LiebermanSivan 11, 5779
39
Question
I have read the questions and answers regarding secular music on the website. I am wondering however, if secular music is permissible if it is religious. Although I am trying to limit listening to any secular music, there is a band I like to listen to specifically because of the content. They often sing about not giving up hope and believing in G-d, etc... If I connect to that and use it as inspiration for my own Avodas Hashem - is that okay? And even if "the letter of the law" says it is okay - is it in the spirit of the law, is it something I shouldn’t be doing? Thanks in advance and kol tuv
Answer
ב"ה Shalom, It seems, that even your question about music comes at a proper time, because it is discussed in this week's Parsha (In Eretz Yisrael=B'halotcha) in regard to the sounding of the trumpets. The Sefer Hachinuch, when explaining the reasoning behind the sounding of the trumpets, says: " there is nothing as arousing as the sounds of music… Now getting back to your question. Since you have seen other answers on the issue, you know that the content of the lyrics has major influence on the decision of allowing or forbidding to listen to certain music. But you are saying you're listening to positive content of encouragement and belief, so that doesn’t seem to apply here. But another issue comes into play. One of the major issues of listening to music is identifying with the singer and are the melodies he uses fit for listening to if the person is a sinner. Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l (שו"ת אגרות משה אבן העזר חלק א סימן צו) addressed a similar issue, if one may listen to music from someone held as an apikorus = non believer in Hashem. He ruled that the music doesn't become desecrated even if the person is not a virtuous person, and one may listen to it. The same would apply to a person who somewhat goes against the Torah. However, since he felt that there is the slightest reason perhaps not to allow it, Bnei Torah and those who are highly stringent with themselves should refrain from listening to such music. So if the singers are non-virtous people, it seems the same would apply here, if the more stringent path is followed. All the best.
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