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Re: follow up of permissable music

Rabbi David SperlingKislev 14, 5772
320
Question
Thank you for the sources you provided. I would appreciate if you could provide a source specificaly in regards to that a song who’s lyrics may hint towards love between the genders, but nevertheless does not cause me to have bad thoughts, is permissable. That it dedpends on the person listening to the song. Thanks again.
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your interest in this question. My answer was "So, in answer to your question, if the song has no vulgar or inappropriate words, and the thoughts expressed in it do not lead you to improper thoughts, then it is permitted". For a source please see the work "Understanding Tzniut" by Rav Y.H. Henkin shlitah, (p. 78-84 [Urim Publications, 2008]) where he explains at length the concept of "hirhur" or licentious thoughts. There he explains that actions which "are innocent in and of themselves" are permitted when the society in which one lives has become accustomed to these actions, and the individual in question will also not be led astray. For example "speaking to and casual sight of women, as well as everyday social and commercial activities that involve the mingling of the sexes". He quotes a long line of Rishonim and Achronim to support this view. My understanding is that in our society, mild references to marital love ("She loves you, yeah yeah yeah" - Beatles) that are prevalent and do not lead one to licentious thoughts are included in this ruling. In Victorian England, one never mentioned legs, as it was considered inappropriate and too sexual - to the extent that in some places even piano and table legs were fitted with covers to protect the wondering eye and mind. It is clear that today one is allowed to make mention of a woman's legs ("Are your legs cold?"). Nonetheless, if a certain individual has a leg fettish, they may not excite themselves with such talk. But do not misunderstand me - songs that have vulgar lyrics, or clearly refer to inappropriate subject matter, are forbidden no matter what thoughts you have about them. Also, one must be very careful not to "kid themselves" - if you have to work to "reinterpret" the lyrics of a song, it is a sign that the song does indeed bring you to improper thoughts. My ruling refers to songs that in truth do not arouse any sexual thoughts. Blessings, D. Sperling.
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