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Secular Music


Rabbi Moshe Leib Halberstadt

Kislev 9, 5772
Is one allowed to listen to secular music while exercising? Is there any Halacha about it or it’s personal feeling? I’ve been attending a gym that uses lyrics and instrumental music for 2 years, I don’t find that it affected me but it is said music affects the soul.. I am not musical so I don’t pick up on tunes and the words are pretty fast, I wouldn’t be able to sing back a complete song. Can you attend a gym that uses secular music - music with lyrics if I’m not in control of the music they use?
The topics to be discussed regarding secular music are as follows; listening to a woman's voice, instrumental music without words and songs with content which is objectionable. You, the person asking are a woman, therefore listening to a woman's voice is irrelevant. The law is that a woman allowed to even say holy prayers while hearing the sound of another woman singing. (מ"ב סימן עה סעיף א ס"ק ח, והליכות בת ישראל פרק ה סעיף יא והערה כו). Regarding instrumental music with no words there is certainly no problem. Music that has words, if its content is not objectionable there is no Halachic issue. Nevertheless in many cases its content is objectionable. In such a case, it is certainly preferable if you are able to influence them to play music with positive content, or alternatively change to another gym. If it is not possible and you are not listening and paying attention to the lyrics, you can continue attending the gym and distract your mind to positive thoughts. (בענין שמיעת שירי עגבים עיין מ"ב סימן תקס בשעה"צ ס"ק כה, ושערי תשובה לרבינו יונה שער שלישי אות רכט, ונראה שזה שייך גם לגבי אשה).
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