Sunday, May 15, 2011

Music soothes the savage beast- or so they say.

During this time of year for orthodox Jews music is generally a no no.  Yes there are some loopholes like accapella being okay (even if it is digitally manipulated so it sounds like real instruments) or playing and instrument for learning or professional reasons, but on the whole from pessach until either lag b'omer or until shavuote (depending on who you ask) most music is considered off limits (although according to one Rabbi we know this assumes that most music is generally on limits- an assumption he does not make so easily).

Along with it being disallowed at this point in the year, it is also generally considered a no no while in mourning.

The problem is that for a very long time now music has been a huge part of my life.  I find it relaxing, soothing.  I can listen for hours while I am working and the time will just fly by, or I can sit and pull out a old favourite piece of sheet music and by the time I am ready to get up from the piano I feel like the weight of the world has been lifted from my shoulders.

So what is a poor, cranky, miserable, lonely, mourning, non-parent to do?

Well fortunatly halacha has some wiggle room.  1) I am not officially in any sort of mourning as halacha never really recognized the loss of my Gabbi so that is one less no no to worry about.  2) The truth is, the Rabbi's have a fair amount of power to say what can and/or can not be overridden for the sake of someone's health and/or sanity.  When Jason asked this year about whether I could continue to use music as a way of soothing my aching heart the answer was not only that I could but that in this specific case I should.

I am certainly not telling anyone to do what I have been doing and to continue listening to music during gsefirat haomer or at any other time when it is normally unacceptable.  I just find it is interesting that  there is so much wiggle room on a question I am not sure I would have even thought to ask if my husband had not brought it up as I was moping around right after pessach.

Maybe in some small ways halacha is not as rigid as I thought that it was.

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