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Ask the rabbi Halacha Songs and Music

Listening to instrumental or relaxing or music for meditatio

Rabbi David SperlingCheshvan 24, 5776
323
Question
Shalom, Is it permissible in Jewish faith to listen to music that is relaxing , instrumental or meditative( like Yanni, Vangelis or piano tracks etc.) ? I am new to Judaism and interested in Monotheism, and find Judaism comparatively pure than other monotheistic religions. I am trying to learn more about it.
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your question. I understand from your letter that you are not Jewish, and as such I am glad to hear that you are interested in Judaism, and find it to be a "pure" monotheistic religion. This is certainly true – it is the source of monotheism, and at its very roots is the concept of One G-d. Even though other religions took from Judaism (Christianity and Islam), and as such they also have a basic belief in the Oneness of G-d – you will find in your studies that Judaism's understanding of this idea is "pure" indeed. However, allow me to point out, that Judaism, unlike other religions, does not believe that every person needs to become Jewish. In fact, conversion to Judaism is a rare exemption in special cases. Our teachings tell us that all peoples have a place in this world, and also in the world to come, through acting as upright creations of G-d, and keeping seven basic laws of ethical morality. These are called the Seven Noachide laws – and I am sure you can find much source material about them. So, whilst wishing you every success in your studies about Judaism, let me also bless you to be successful in serving G-d as a true and upright non-Jew, with a love and closeness to the Jewish people. In answer to your question about relaxing and meditative music – this is certainly allowed in the Jewish faith (as well as many other types of music, which play a large part in Jewish culture). There are times when Jews do not play music – such as on our Sabbath and on many of the Festivals, and in times of mourning. Even during these times we sing, and through singing also can arouse the soul to spiritual heights, or relaxation. I hope this is of some help to you – Blessings.
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