Letter: Disturbing

There is a topic that I find very perturbing, and I would like to bring it to the public’s attention.

Before doing it, I want to have some disclaimers. I am not super yeshivish, just another working guy who you would probably deem “not yeshivish”. I know that klal Yisroel has bigger problems. And I honestly would love someone to refute me on some substantive grounds and not the typical comment section type of gibberish.

Let me start with a personal story. Many years ago someone I was close to confided in me that he was having severe internal struggles with Yiddishkeit. I spoke with him and was trying to pinpoint where it was coming from. Then I suddenly had an epiphany. I asked him if he had started to listening to secular music. Incredulously he asked me why I would figure. I told him that there clearly was something rotting in his neshama and directly atacking his spiritual defenses. The only thing I can imagine was the language of the soul. Therefor I assumed music was the cause. TO this day I believe I was right.

We all know the gemarah (Babylonian Talmud, Chagigah 15b -16a.) which mentions one of the reason the holy Tannah went off the derech was due to zemer yevani. Which in its most simplest form is secular music.

Without going into the reasoning behind it, it is well known that the message conveyed in music is subliminal and directed at the subconscious. It can suck the fire of Yiddishkeit out of someone without them even realizing.

One of the topics we consider so often in the public sphere, is this question in many forms. What has happened to the “neshama” and the kedusha of klal yisreol. I believe this would be a pretty direct approach.

Getting to my point. I am sure many of my fellow readers would be shocked to know that there are establishments in our community which play degenerate music par for the course as a matter of fact. In the words of one proprietor “if I played Jewish music everyone would stop coming.” The people attending these classes is you, your yeshivish wife and your heilige daughter who you invested so much effort into. I know an otherwise very yeshivish woman who can lip sync any (moderated) lyrics although a few years ago she would have never considered letting such music enter her ears.

I am trying to raise awareness. Take it or leave but don’t say you didn’t know…

A concerned yid.

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  1. having knowledge of jewish music production, i can tell you that what passes a jewish music today is directly intertwined with undesireable sources. even the intros to chasunas have this. one jewish musiciN admitted he uses ano yehudim as sources for some of his work. you are right, but how would we ever go back? first question is which rav permitted sefira music. I want a actual name or names. I dont know of any. one thing leads to another….

  2. Lakewood has become a town of halacha. We don’t do anything beyond what it says in shulchan aruch, and even then, according to the most lenient opinion. There are many things I see that were not accepted in klal yisroel that are commonplace today. Everything from our hairstyles, clothing, not keeping cholov Yisrael, ending shabbos early, and more. It’s time that those that care start a revolution. Instead of worrying about a parent’s smartphone, let’s enforce no long haircuts and restore payes to what they once were in our boys schools and yeshiva. The Rabbanim all spoke out against lace sheitlech, yet many ignore them. Many light chanuka candles by R Aron Zman but end shabbos 35 minutes after shkia. So either we care about what it means to be a jew or we follow shulchan aruch only.

    • Why, “instead of”? How about, “in addition to”? Smartphones expose us to more goyishkeit then secular music alone would.
      In addition to the secular music found on the internet, there are youtube clips which we would never have thought about looking at just a few years ago.

  3. I love this writer even though its not relevant to me personally (or my family) as BH I never have and never will bl”n listen to secular music, but this writer is not pointing fingers at anyone and not assigning blame to anyone but rather pointing out something that needs to be pointed out and whether you agree or disagree with the writer that’s your decision but everyone will appreciate the way in which this letter was written…

        • You are…. well I’ll stop there. What’s your issue? I read this writers letter and not only is he on target with his letter but I think the way in which he wrote it as I stated in my earlier comment is worthy of my (and everyone else’s) compliments.. I think that’s how all letters should be written. Bringing out a point without assigning blame or pointing fingers but alerting the oilam at large to an important issue is very commendable..

      • So you’re waiting for some hate comments, aye? Okay? You’re gonna regret this, but here we go:
        I hate it when people listen to music that destroys their neshoma!!!
        How’s THAT for a hate comment?!
        A little too sharp for you?! Well, I’m not finished yet! Are you sure you still want me to go through with this exercise? Okay, here’s some more:
        I hate the negative influence that comes from bad hashpa’ah!
        How’s THAT for a nasty, hate-filled comment!? Is that hateful enough for you?!
        You still want more?! Are you sure? Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
        Okay, here we go:
        I hate liverwurst! I detest it! Yuk!
        I’m not finished yet! How about this one?
        I hate the ‘typical comment section type of gibberish’! I can’t take it! I absolutely despise it!…………
        Umm, hold on one second….. What did I just say?!…… Umm, I think I’ll stop right about now………
        I hate falling right into my very own trap! Ughh!

  4. Could not agree with you more! I may take it a step further and decry the sorry state of affairs of Jewish music. I have been on the other side of the fence and unfortunately recognize a lot of the contemporary music is coming from hits that were popular only a few years back. The so called composers use to have a little busha and they would wait a few years before ripping off the tunes, that gap has shortened alot……

  5. Bsd
    Yes people send they daughters to home dance classes with a secular music. Girls ages 7_16 dancing with the music of secular people the mothers don’t see even something wrong with that.

  6. Many years ago in Mitzraim, when 20% got saved and quickly left towards Eretz Yisroel, one of the reasons why they got saved was because they did not change their language.

  7. Can we have a clear answer or description what exactly is “goishe” music.made by a goy ..sung by a goy…bought from a goy???

  8. Maybe he is listening to those frum women singers who post all of their stuff on youtube with the claim that Rabonim told them they should (not that the Rabbonim were just matir). I know for a fact that men are listening.

    • Hallmark of a a ‘letz’ is to point to the flaws of the messenger, thereby muting the message.

      And to your claim, those songs clearly state for women only. It is not my responsibility if someone takes my bike lock and proceeds to hit themselves in the head with it.

      That is not lifnei iver.

      Though the whole idea of people being on Youtube is another issue…

  9. i think there is a huge difference between rocky Jewish music that has Jewish words and music with non-Jewish words (i.e. taavos). In fact the mefarshim on the aforementioned gemara in chagiga say that the Greek songs Acher listened to spoke of apikorsus. (now we have different yetzer hara).
    That said, I think that there is something beautiful about a wholesome niggun with a Yiddishe taam and there is something wrong with the rocky Jewish music.
    My children asked me how they could determine what is Jewish music nd what is not. I told them that a Jewish niggun inspires us to close our eyes and wave our hands. The non-Jewish music inspires us to wave another part of our body. (if you have a better litmus test, let me know.)

  10. Mashiach we need you to come before there’s no hope
    As a great Rav said: Harder than taking the Yid out of Gauls Will be taking the Galus out if the Yid!

  11. Just to add a similar story, A friend was going through a hard time spiritually and was about to get a divorce. The beis din that involved asked him to meet with a certain older Rav. The Rav spoke to him for a while and he figured out that he was eating some foods that had a questionable hechscher. He stopped eating these foods and in two weeks was back to his old self. The Neshamah is real thing, food and music affect it!!!

  12. Be careful when visiting hobby lobby, just because there’s no words to the music doesn’t mean it’s good. Everything played there is what Christian’s call worship music.

  13. Chalav Yisroel?
    Rav Aharon served chalav stam in Yeshiva, feeling that the chumra was overridden by the finacial cost to the Yeshiva.
    In Rav Aharon’s days, everyone wore colored suits and hats.
    I remember (moderated) wearing blue suits. only 40 years ago.
    If you mean behind the ears or long sideburns?
    They were unheard of in Rav Aharon’s time.
    Everyone had short sideburns “at the bone”, as did every single bachur in Slabodka, Telz and Mir.
    As did Rav Schneur ZTL when he learned in Baranovich.
    There are pictures all over.
    We should not make an “ikar” of things that were not an ikar to Rav Aharon and to the Litvish mesorah.

    • I am retired and living on a fixed income. Due to chronic heart disease I only consume fat free milk. Now, here’s the kicker: 1 gallon of cholov stam at Walmart is $3.26; 1 gallon of the lowest cost brand of cholov Yisrael at my local kosher supermarket is $7.98. Now, someone please explain to me how a whopping 145% greater cost for cholov Yisrael is justifiable by any sane rationale. (Parenthetically, I’ve read that the additional costs associated with kosher milk production should add only about 20% to the price, NOT 145%)!

      • Costco chicken is also cheaper. We don’t lower our neshama for a few dollars. I assume you finish 1 bottle a week. So for $3 you are sacrificing alot.

  14. Being a senior citizen I can answer to the comment made by MK. Rav Aharon who was a true Zaddik made those decisions that were appropriate for those times.
    Torah has flourished all over the world by leaps and bounds. Circumstances are different now and our gedolim make decisions based on the time we are in. Torah and halacha do not chas v’shalom change, but certain guidelines of gedolim, and things we do today can not be equated to previous years. I find some old timers grumble about why this generation has to be “holier.” I for one am proud that my children grew up more right-winged than I was. I myself have become much more right-winged. I am delighted in my growth and am proud to have produced children that went higher than I was. What more nachas can any Yiddishe Mama want.

    • I wish Bubby much continued Yiddishe nachas!
      However, the examples that I gave were not core values to Rav Aharon and to the extent that thye have become such today, indicated Chassidic influence, rather than growth in ruchnius.
      If one has a Chassidic mesorah, payos are sacred.
      But to think that all of the Gedolei Lita “wished” that their talmidim had payos, is without basis.
      Same for black suits and hats.
      And I am not aware of any contemporay Litvish Gadol who said that virtually every boy in Lakewood Cheder should have payos. And should have no haircut before 3 years, followed with an “upsherin”. This was totally non existent in Rav Aharon’s times, as well as in the entire pre war Litvish world.
      By all means, kvell over your grandchildren, but let it be over things that were important to Rav Aharon.

  15. I agree with the letter writer completely.

    It’s a disgrace that the lowest and most provocative offerings of today’s pop culture, which even most decent conservative Americans find offensive, is somehow OK because… parnassa?

    But I don’t understand why we need to resort to threatening and fearmongering in order to make this point. Does the deciding factor in making proper decisions always need to be whether or not it can lead to total collapse? Can we just say it must stop because we know it’s wrong, unhealthy and degrading to the core?

  16. While the Marsha does explain the gemara as referring to secular music rashi says the issue is the churban habayis and that is why to avoid music See the gemara at the end of sotah

  17. Agree fully with this letter, but let’s take it a step further with those who would NEVER listen to goyishe music.

    Kol ha kavod to the kiruv musicians who are offering those who are OTD or not yet religious a path to yiddeshkheit, but for those of us who are already here, it only leads us away from refinement and ruchnios.

    Those who are not desensitized can immediately feel themselves dragged down into bad middos by the inclusion of goyishe niggunim in so called “Jewish music”. Parents of kids who listen can see the bad behavior after listening to something that is borderline, and how it makes them not want to listen to anything calm or tame again.

  18. I read this letter and I keep on thinking:
    Why don’t they teach this to our children in school?
    The same way it was recognized that technology needs to be taught- the background, proper hashkafa,pitfalls etc. and now Heinini is a subject, so too, music should be taught in our schools!!!!
    There is a lot to be learned and there is a great lack of knowledge in this area.
    Isnt this more important than Science, Geometry and History?
    This is so applicable to our children and impacts their feelings and attitudes towards yiddishkeit!!!

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