Video: Rav Amnon Yitzchok Tells Rav Shteinman About Today’s ‘Jewish’ Music


rav-shteinman-rav-amnon-yitzchak[Video below.] Recently, Rav Amnon Yitzchak went to Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman to discuss the problems that he feels have emerged in contemporary Jewish music and the effects of the non-Torahculture on the Jewish music scene and singers.

When Rav Yitzchak mentioned a certain singer, Rav Shteinman responded, “Is he secular?” and Rav Yitzchak responded that no, he is religious and that “there is no house in the religious world that doesn’t have his discs.”

Rav Shteinman smiled and said, “I don’t have his discs.”

For most of the video, Rav Shteinman does not respond to various comments of Rav Yitzchak, but listens as the latter shares his various concerns.

Click below to watch:

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{Yair Israel}


  1. OK – so after listening at length to one man’s version of facts (2 women left theur husbands and Yidishkeit because of a singer?), what DID Rav Shteinman agree to?

  2. Rav Shteinman obviously dosent want to be part od this. Btw it is good to see a clip like this so we can see how these things work.

  3. Are there not more pressing issues to be presented to Rav Shtainman? I mean klal yisrael has serious problems they need to deal with and this is not one of them.

  4. Rav Shteinman’s body language changed when Reb Amon started mentioning names. his discomfort seems apparent but the conversation is being taped and he seems restrained in making a fudd.

  5. Boruch Hashem we have come to a point in Klal Yisroel that this is the biggest issue that we should be busy with!! its suprising that a Godal as Rabbi Shteinman doesn’t see the urgency of this issue, as he doesn’t seem to agree with his esteemed guest!

  6. Anyone who doesn’t understand that there’s a core yiddishkeit issue here at hand – is only because they are already under the spell of these singers. The tunes have absolutely nothing to do with yiddishkeit. Nobody has sung or listened to these songs & was zoiche to a “Hirhur Tshuva”. It serves one purpose only – the rebellious uplifing & freedom of the Chevra (not our chevra) to continue with scoffing of Rabbanim & Manhigim. Just look at the comments – the proof’s in the pudding

  7. This is Rav Amnon Yitzchok, a man who devotes his life to bringing thousands of acheinu bais Yisroel all over the world closer to Avenu Shebashamayim. Even if your Rav may not agree with this issue, he deserves respect.

  8. Those who do not like the music should not listen to it. He says that the music is chotey umachti at ha rabbim. What he does not show is how this music is doing anything.

  9. He has some points, but he definitely exaggerates greatly: To say that #1 reason for school drop-out is Jewish music? to say that women left their husbands because of Jewish music? I think that’s a streaching it without logic.

    The Yetzer Hara works and has costumers on both sides. Take a good thing to an extreme without knowing where to stop, and you are a costumer…

  10. Did R’ Shteinmen also agree with him to give malkus in his “bais din” (which he did) to some singer who proformed in a mixed croud ????????????

  11. It is very clear that Rav Shteinman is uncomfortable with the whole idea, doesn’t give him the response he tries to squeeze out & politely sends him off with a vague blessing for ‘hatzlacha’.

  12. Rav Amnon has been a kochah gadol in the world of kiruv & that is where he should remain. Youth needs creativity, activity and excitement…Music fits that bill precisely.

  13. We need to stop with the extremism and the assuring everything in sight. How about promote that people learn more Halacha and Mussar and automatically people will know what they can and can’t and shouldn’t do.

  14. This video is priceless, as is having a Godol like R’ AL Shteinman, Shlit”a. If not for the video, when people would go out to the world and tell us how R AL Shteinman was maskim to this mehalech and in fact showed strong support (as one can interpret a bracha for Hatzlacha to be) for it, who would know the reality? This way, we know the reality, and any sane, ‘gelascente’ person can recognize that the Gedolei Torah have the ‘sechel’ and forbearance required to shoulder the burden of Am Yisroel’s problems, not like the fly-off-the-handle kanoim.

  15. I don’t listen to the music and performers about which and whom they are talking. Not because of any religious prohibition, but because the music, VIRTUALLY ALL OF IT, IS GARBAGE. I could use stronger, although less appropriate language to describe the music’s tenuous yet destructive relationship to the texts that form it core.
    The title of a non-frum song is appropriate to describe this entire controversy, particularly the so called artists, SEND IN THE CLOWNS

  16. I was once privileged to attend Yeshiva Gedola – Merkaz HaTorah – Tiferes Mordechai in Montreal during the time when the rosh yeshiva was Rav Mordechai Weinberg, ZT’L. I well remember one of the talks that he gave about this problem of bad music. He mentioned the Gemora in Meseches Chagiga that relates the story of Elisha ben Avuya. (Elisha ben Avuya was initially one of the Chachamim in the era of the Tanaim; latter on though, he very tragically slipped into k’fira.) Rav Weinberg pointed to the part of the Gemora’s narrative that lists what caused Elisha ben Avuya to turn bad and specifically to the reason that in his house, there was always playing Greek music.

    Rav Weinberg explained that music is something that touches and moves a person emotionally. So if the intent of the music is for bad things, listening to it is going to direct a person’s feelings and emotions toward that corruption.

    He then turned to the phenomenon of taking what is obviously a secular song with not good intentions and putting it to the words of some Torah phrase. He bluntly exclaimed “I don’t care who it is (that is doing this),” for doing that is going to help “fix” the bad song as much as if you were to have “a swine wearing a striemal”! (Ie. if you put a prayer hat on a pig, the pig is still going to be a pig!)

    Several years latter, I was privileged to attend Yeshiva Torah Vodaas. While there, I discussed this subjuct with the Mashgiach, Y’bodel L’Chaiyim Tovim V’Aruchim, Rav Moshe Wolfson, Sh’lita. He did not want to spend time talking about it, as it is something that is quite obvious and elementary: “This is ‘table talk’!” He explained that there is such a thing of great Chassidic Rebbes who took certain non-Jewish melodies and used them for Avodas HaShem; we though, are not big enough to do that. And he bluntly exclaimed: “Today’s music is not music; it is ‘noise’!!”

  17. (continuation of previous comment)

    In this realm of Chassidic Rebbes using non-Jewish melodies, I will relate two famous examples from the Lubavitcher Chassidim.

    1.) The first Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Baal HaTanya, Rav Schnier Zalman of Liadi, ZT’L, lived during the events of Napolian’s attempt to conquer Europe. The French forces were initially successful in occupying western Russia and reaching Moscow. When they entered the city, they, understandably, made a massive parade down the main streets with their military bands playing appropriate marches. The Baal HaTanya heard this marching music, and even though he had been strongly opposed to Napolian’s campaign, he still recognized that these marching melodies that they were playing correctly conveyed the feeling of victory. So he took two of them and used them as part of our service of HaShem on the Yomim Noraim, when we have the real “victory” of life — the “conquest” of the Yetzer Hara – the “conquest” over our inclinations to do bad. So at the completion of the concluding Neilah service on Yom Kippur, the Lubavitcher Chassidim will sing and even march around the shul with one of these melodies, and on Simchas Torah, they will march around the shul carrying the Torah scrolls (called the “Hakafos”) with the other one of these melodies.

    2.) The last Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rav Menachem Mendel Scheerson, ZT’L (who was nifter just about 15 years ago), recognized that one of the famous French patriotic songs did actually correctly convey a feeling of reverence. Of course, the intent of the song was that of reverence that a person must have for his country. At the same time, the rebbe realized — and every nationalistic Frenchman will certainly fully agree with him — that this reverence must be even more directed to the One to Whom all reverence is due! So the rebbe adapted the first two parts of this melody to the Piyut — hymn “HaAderes V’HaEmuna”: “HaAderes V’HaEmuna L’Chai HaOlamim” — “The honor and the faithfullness is due to the Life of all worlds!” So today, when Lubavitcher Chassidim sing this Piyut, they will often use this melody.

  18. Priceless. Rav Shteinman looking in the sefer. I can just see the bubble above his head-“maybe if I ignore him, he’ll go away”!

  19. I love the part when the Rov picks up the sefer! He’s probably looking up an inyun he was involved in before the meeting. He just needed to look at the edge of the page to get back into it. I think that was the end of the meeting right there.

  20. Most of these postings show how ignorant the public is about the sources of rock and roll and jazz music. I am not going, in the forum of this comment, to educate the public. And I am not interested in forcing the public to see things as I see them. But I would suggest that people who are open-minded check out the facts for themselves. Therefore, I will enable the public to find out more.
    A booklet has been published about this topic by Rabbi Ephraim Luft of Bnei Brak, an accomplished musician and composer in his own right, titled “The Torah is not Hefker” (also available in Hebrew called “D’var Hashem Baza”). It costs 5 shequel. It contains the views of eminent scientists, historians, statesmen, philosophers, etc. on this topic. His phone number is: (03) 619-1973, 054-846-0068. His email address is: Maybe he will send the booklet out electronically (I don’t know; I bought the Hebrew and English versions in order to check it out thoroughly).
    If Rav Amnnon Yitzchak is right, and I have watched several lectures of his regarding the issue, this is one of the most insidious sicknesses that affects also Chareidi Jewry and has permeated our community so much that we do not even realize the long-term effects. If you want to watch his recent lectures (to chareidi audiences; he has spoken also to non-chareidi audiences) on the topic, they are available on his site. Here are the URLs:

    Here is the URL for all of his recent lectures:

  21. To #10, You made some bold presumptive statements. Did you do any statistical surveys to find out what people felt and were driven to upon hearing the music set to Jewish lyrics? How do you know that what you are saying is indeed true? Are you just speaking from your gut? You do know what most people have in there gut. Don’t you?

  22. Listen to this from an American singer, Mordechai ben David:

    “Today there are styles in the chassidic music that have no connection to chassidus. It is like being in the jungle. The Blacks sing in a more refined way than they do. The words don’t make the song chassidic. Maybe it gives pleasure — like eating pizza, but there is no spiritual pleasure in it.” (from an interview in the Bnei Brak paper Kol HaIr, 12th Tisfhrei 5764)

  23. Even a goy can understand the problem:

    “Rock and roll represents some kind of change in our standards. What has happened to our concepts of beauty, decency and morality?” (President Eisenhower in a public statement, 1956, quoted in Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, vol. 3 p. 354)

  24. For those who don’t know, jazz and rock’n roll, the type of music that today’s Modern Jewish singers use, have their roots in African and Caribbean voodoo. The word jazz is of African origin, and the meaning of the word is the same as that of rock’n roll, which in Negro slang means Pritzus. This is not a coincidence, and describes perfectly the underlying influences of both types of music.
    The primitive tribes in Africa have been playing in this way for thousands of years, and according to the French professor of music, Pierre Meuge, the purpose of this type of music is to break down the moral barriers of the listener to entice him to idol-worship and immorality.
    This was the intention of Yuval (Breishis 4:21), the originator of musical instruments. Rashi mentions in the name of the Midrash that the intention of Yuval was for idolatry. The Malbim explains that his intention was for immorality:

    ??? ???? ????. ??? ??? ????? ?? ???? ???? ????? ?? ??? ??? ??? ???? ??????, ???? ??? ?????? ?? ???? ?????? ?”? ??? ???? ???? ??? ???? ?????, ??? ??? ??? ???????? ???? ??? ????? ?? ???? ?????? ?? ???? ???????, ???? ???”? ?? ????? ???? ????, ?????? ?????? ??? ?????? ?? ????, ??”? ???? ??? ???? ????? ??? ?????:

  25. Chasidishe “Tisch songs” that include many waltzes and marches beats , in many cases were based off of the contemporary non jewish music and symphonys that were prevalent at that time. Including Napoleans marches.

    So whos to say whats good and bad?

  26. to #10:
    I can only speak for myself, but I find many of these types of songs inspiring. They bring happiness to my life when they are leibedig, and I actually listen to the words which do give me inspiration as well.

    Also you have to know your audience since being ‘too frum’ can turn off certain people. I know someone who is struggling with Yiddishkeit, who heard about this discussion and was upset why everything seems assur, so you definitely can’t push this on someone unless they are ready to hear and accept it.

  27. Frum music today borders on craziness. The first time I heard one singer I had to turn it off. It was on a CD from a fundraiser of a famous organization. Insanity. Then I heard music from another young singer. The worst feeling ever. I could not believe everyone goes wild for this style of music. It is treife gamor.

    I learned that the Modzitzer Rebbe wrote that music affects the neshamah. I believe it.

  28. In comment to #35 (Alteh Bucher):

    Until about 30 years ago, all Ashkenazic music was really a reflection of European music with a Jewish flavour. That is, JEWISH music has always been strongly influenced by the contemporary style of the local goyim. By listening to the melodies of a certain group, any expert can tell that the Gerrer Chassidim come from Poland, Yekkes come from Germany and Austria, and Vizhnitz is in Romania. Every place has its own style, which changes from one period to another. At a time when the majority of non-Jewish music was a respectable art, there was nothing wrong with copying those styles, and therefore the Rabbis of previous generations allowed to use their music even for Kaddish and Kedushah.
    The same cannot be said about the music of Africa. It has no intellectual content, and is also not made to give respect or honour. It does contain feeling — but not the type of feeling that can be used for Dvarim SheBikDushah, but rather impure feelings from a type of primitive music that was used for Avodah Zara and the occult art of voodoo.