Rabbi Aviner: IDF Soldiers Permitted to Hear Females Singing if Given No Choice

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shlomo-avinerRabbi Shlomo Aviner, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Ateret Yerushalayim and a prominent rav in the Religious Zionism movement, has ruled that, according to halacha, religious soldiers in the IDF  may hear a woman singing as part of an army ceremony if they have no other choice, but efforts should be made beforehand to avoid such a scenario.

The psak from Rabbi Aviner comes a week after ten religious IDF officers’ course cadets left in the middle of a military activity after a female soldier began singing solo on stage.

The incident took place last Monday evening during an event focusing on Operation Cast Lead attended by hundreds of cadets slated to receive an officer’s rank in about a month, many of whom are affiliated with the Religious Zionism movement.

At some point during the evening, two female soldiers got up to sing. When one of them began singing solo, dozens of religious soldiers got up and turned to leave the auditorium.

“It was spontaneous. We know it’s forbidden, but we left quietly without coordinating it,” one of the soldiers said at the time.

Regiment Commander Uzi Klieger tried to stop them from leaving, threatening to punish anyone who walked out.

Some of the soldiers returned to their seats, while 10 left the auditorium despite the regiment commander’s threats. Last Tuesday evening, the 10 soldiers were summoned by the training base commander, Colonel Eran Niv.

Before the event, two of the soldiers asked not to participate in it and were refused.

The training base’s commander told them that he viewed the incident as extremely severe and that soldiers, and especially officers, are required to carry out orders. “This was not an illegal order,” he added.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Office said in response, “In this incident, cadets deviated from the army’s orders. The entire matter is being looked into and conclusions will be made in the coming days by the Ground Forces and training base commanders. The performance of all members of military bands is an inseparable part of the IDF milieu.”

This isn’t the first time troops left military ceremonies for this reason and they have been punished for it in the past.

According to the General Staff orders, a religious soldier is entitled not to take part in recreational activity which contradicts his lifestyle and faith, but the orders do not apply to non-recreational military events.

This past Sunday, Israel’s chief rabbis, Rav Yona Metzger and Rav Shlomo Amar, met with IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and asked him to allow religious soldiers to excuse themselves from military events where women are singing. Gantz told the rabbonim that he plans to discuss the matter with Chief Army Rabbi Brigadier-General Rafi Peretz.

Rabbi Aviner, in explaining his ruling, told Makor Rishon, “You have to ask the commanders to cancel the singing of women in the IDF…. The singing of women has never treated, not in the IDF or any army in the world, as a sacred part of the army. It is not in the regulations of the army or the IDF’s ethical code. Therefore, it may be possible to ask the commander to do one a favor and cancel it.”

As long as the singing remains a part of life in the army, Rabbi Aviner advised, a religious soldier should first try to ask the commander to excuse him personally from attending the service and instead ask for another task.

Rabbi Aviner believes that ” for the most part, the IDF soldier who has a personal request will be granted it by reasonable officers. That’s how our army is. There’s mutual trust. The soldier could ask, ‘Please, let me go home, I want to see my wife… Do me a favor and exempt  me from this part of the ceremony.”

However, if the captain refuses the soldier’s personal request, “The soldier may stay for it,” said Rav Aviner.  The ruling, he explained, is based on the halachic principle that it is “hanaah shebah l’adam baal karcho – pleasure that comes to a person against his will. ”

For example, he said, “Our yeshiva is located along a path where Christians pass and sing Christian songs that we are forbidden to hear. But that’s not a reason not to go to the yeshiva. I do not listen. I hear, but I am not listening.”

“We have no time to fight the IDF,” added Rabbi Aviner. “In general, in this country, we have no time to quarrel. We have to be together. It would be prudent for the army to supervise this better. In the military they call it, ‘Do not give a command that you know in advance will not be followed…’

Rabbi Aviner encouraged the IDF not to be stubborn in this regard and to work to resolve it.

“Does the IDF have nothing else to do?” he asked. “They should be worried about the southern border and the Palestinians. Instead, the General Staff is discussing the singing of women… Are we little children?”

{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}


  1. I happen to blame the IDF. Why are they stubbiorn about these stupid things!!

    Rabbi Aviner is only trying to find a pesach for them. But why must the IDF c reate such problems in the first place???

  2. This Rabbi is known for his role in the expulsion of Gush Katif. The residents of the Gush were quite upset with him. The idea of soldiers being forced to listen to entertainment is outrageous. What does entertainment of any kind have to do with being a soldier. The agenda here is more than meets the eye against the religious in Eretz Yisrael. These great young soldiers are a pride to Am Yisrael and are willing to stand up for their convictions and especially for Torah! Tzahal seems to be coming less Jewish every day.

  3. To Mr. Rescue,

    Obviously in your thinking who should be serving in an army defending the State of Israel?
    Obviously you would be parat of the parasites who feel let others put their lives on the line. You would not care about anybody else just yourself. SHAME ON YOU AND YOUR ILK.

  4. I cannot see what all the fuss is about. When I served my conscriptive years in the Israel Defense Force (1966-1969), and I was faced with this problem, I simply shut my ears and concentrated on other, more holy matters.

    If it was not a problem for an am ha’aretz like me, then kal vechomer all these.

    All it needs is a little bit of will-power and a belief in H’.

  5. Rabbi Aviner is doing all of the religious chayalim a great disservice. Now when a religious chayal wants to avoid hearing kol Isha, he will be told: Rabbi Aviner said you are allowed to hear a woman sing, so you may not leave.

  6. Anonymous, FYI Rav Aviner wrote clearly that a soldier should be incapable of participating in the expulsion. You are a party to the Leftist media’s distortion of his views.

  7. 1.The idf first of all is not a yidishe army
    2.Yiden dont belong in an army (and please dont start bring proofs from the Torah that have no application today)
    3.all these problems start when we think the idf and the israley state actually care about judaism
    When in reality the Jewish religion is looked down Up on there more than any where in the world
    And any one with even the slightest of Jewish morals is tossed away as being hareidi due to the fact that the Israelis consider them selves jews on the middle path when in reality they are just heretics.
    However in America one who has religious views would not be criticized

  8. Apparently most of you have never heard of Rav Aviner. So please don’t knock him, he must feel this is important, for if you do now him you would know how string he feels on these matters, IE. Tzneeis

  9. #16-
    who are you to say he’s arguing on poskei hador and Shulchan aruch?? Does the mechaber talk about this din of hearing kol beisha bal korcha?
    Mr, if u learned thru the Sugya in pesachim, daf ??-??, u would know that tosafos says eo agrees if one can’t avoid hanaa, and isn’t intending to be nehene, it’s muttar acc to everyone
    Don’t pretend to be so frum Maybe u should change your posting name to am haaretz

  10. #14 Ignoramuses like you are bad for the Jews.

    #16 Where is he disagreeing with the Shulchan Aruch? He clearly explained his reasoning with an halakhic concept: “hanaah shebah l’adam baal karcho – pleasure that comes to a person against his will”.

    Furthermore, he is not obliged to listen to the Poskei HaDor. They pasken for their flock. Rav Aviner is not obliged. You need to learn how the system works.

    (disclaimer: I currently disagree with Rav Aviner and think it’s deplorable that soldiers are forced to stay in; if I were in the same situation I would walk out and say they were violating my rights.)





  12. Lets have a little reason since no one here knows the precise background:
    1. To a secular world there is nothing wrong with Kol Isha. There is not even the hava amina of erva (I think we can assume the songs were not in themselves inappropriate)
    2. To walk out in the middle of an arranged event while people are performing is rude (whether or not justified). Imagine how this looked to an office in the army.
    3. To disobey orders – ANY orders in an army can indeed be a matter of life or death. The army is built on the idea of unconditional obeyance – except in extreme circumstances. Think obeying a rebbe or mother and father – only more so with much more at stake.
    4. Rav Aviner’s approach seems reasonable. Lets make the army more sensitive (they are learning believe it or not) so as not to put the boys in these situations but as Rav Aviner (who is a recognized RZ poseik) paskens, this situation is forced upon them and they are under no obligation to leave. So they shouldnt disobey orders.

    5. Israel and its army indeed has much much MUCH bigger problems right now. The storm is on the horizon. Lets hope the army is ready for all eventualities. Lets all hope and pray it passes as peacefully as possible.

  13. #14 i was going to sit out this one but I must protest your kefira. How dare you say any part of the Torah isnt applicable today. Every letter is as applicable as the day we said naaseh venishama. Please keep you kefira and anti-torah ideas to yourself
    stop poluting this website with your filth

  14. I agree with number #14
    And a response to #19
    I would respectfully call you ignorant since alot of misled yiden
    Think like you
    How ever there are those yid (more and more each day) who see the truth
    whether we are happy about it or not
    The truth stares At all yiden today more than ever

    how ever we still have to treat them as if we would treat any government
    Afterall we are still in galus and it is no different there than here in America

    The geulah can’t come from such people who sin in eretz yisroel
    Because other wise we would have to back into galus for a third time chas vhsalom
    look in ahavat yonason parshat vaeschannan

  15. Without seeing the Rabbi’s actual ruling it is hard to critcize it fully.However, the Rabbi’s ruling is perplexing because what lies behind the participation of female soldiers?
    It would be shocking to believe the IDF command is unaware of Kol Ishaand similar modesty issues. It would even more shocking to think in a civilized liberal democratic society the authorities would deliberately attack a citizen’sdeeply and sincerely held personal beliefs.
    Indeed the legality of the order should rest on the IDF’s underlying intention is ordering/endorsing such activities.
    It is disturbing that the esteemed Rav did not see this.
    May this come to a mutually agreed to solution..


    The problem is that none of you have any military background. While all of you who sit back and let others fight for you, you have the audacity to criticize. It is time that you all contribute to the welfare of clal yisroel by joining tzahal and performing your required military obligations. If you are not ready to do so then keep your parasitic comments to yourselves because you contribute nothing. That is calles beeing a leech. BTW. If you don’t know the norms and obligations of the military
    how do you have th chutzpah to even have a comment. You are all ignorant of the facts.

  17. The Israeli Army is full of intentional pritzus far far worse than “just” Kol Isha.

    There is a reason all the real Gedolim from the Chazon Ish on said it is yeherg val yavor to not join their army.

  18. An article like this should never appear on this site. Do you have any idea who or what this Rabbi is?

    The truth is that those soldiers should go to the brig if necessary, rather than compromise on their beliefs. This is the kind of stuff the state will use to try to tear down the religious community.



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