Rav Elyashiv Refuses to Sign Against Frum Singers

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rav-elyashiv-rav-yitzchakAs we’ve reported in the past, Rav Amnon Yitzchak has been highlighting what he feels is a drastic change needed in the style and tone of contemporary Jewish music. Last month, he met Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman regarding this matter.

Among other criticisms, Rav Yitzchak lambasted those who take holy words of Torah and put them to melodies that are not reflective of the kedushah of the lyrics.

In continuing his effort, yesterday, at about noon, Rav Yitzchak visited the Yerushalayim home of the posek hador, Rav  Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, at 10 Rechov Chanan in Meah Shearim, to ask the gadol hador to sign a kol koreh stating that Yidden should not participate in or support events or concerts featuring these singers, nor should one buy their albums.

Rav Elyashiv, according to reports in the Israel chareidi media, listened to Rav Yitzchak’s concerns but ultimately refused to sign the kol koreh presented to him. Those close to Rav Elyashiv said that the gadol hador feels that there are more important matters affecting Klal Yisroel, and before addressing the matter of singers, more pressing matters must be dealt with.

Rav Yitzchak, according to sources, is not abandoning his campaign against those he feels have brought a non-Jewish element into Jewish music.

According to a report, in the coming weeks, Rav Elyashiv will release a statement on the matter.

{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel} 


  1. Rav Amnon Yitzchak is bothered by :
    those who take holy words of Torah and put them to melodies
    2) a non-Jewish element into Jewish music.

    or both? or other things?

  2. there are ashkenazei
    nigunim from the yomim norim which were taken from the church
    so maybe this is a sefardei vs aschenazi thing?

  3. Although I applaud Rav Yitzchak’s motives a clearer deeper analysis is required. Who will be affected by this Kol Koreh? For who is it intended? For the ultra ehrlich Yeshiva Bochur? he wont listen to this tyoe if Music. For those who do listen to this Jewish music, they wont be put of by a ban, it might only encourage it. Additionally, those that do find their outlet in this music, the next step is actual music.

  4. He wanted R Elyashiv to sign a Kol Koreh that forbids one from buying music albums by singers who dont meet up with his ( R Amnon’s) specific standards.

  5. This report isn’t accurate. Rav Elyashev simply deferred the matter for further consideration. IOW, he hasn’t yet made a decision.

    Whatever his decision ultimately is, we all must accept it — wither way.

  6. #3: I don’t know which yeshiva bochurim you are referring to who live in such a bubble. I have all types of Jewish music at my home including the ones that some want to ban, so I am not that much of a zealot on the matter. But I can argue with you that my son who learns in a top yeshiva says the bochurim sing and play these songs. Next time you are invited to a chasunah, look at the music they play and the beats which accompany it. Some of the most yeshivish bochurim are dancing and swaying to that music, which is quite familiar to them.
    Is it wrong? I can’t say either way, since I enjoy leibedig music myself.

    In my small manner of kanaus, I can say something which does bother me. When I watch a concert dvd (that’s probably assur too), the most wild of the singers get on stage and speak about their lofty level of avodas Hashem by bringing simcha to klal Yisroel. I love their songs and they put me in a good mood, but I do wonder if they are really as much a kiddush Hashem as they promote.

  7. though i definitely hear rav Yitzchaki’s opinion, I also see that perhaps bans are not the right way to do things, to make a long story short, the right way ( at least in our generation) would be to inspire ppl to do what you think is right with the 2 “L’s” “love @ logic”, and if that means just 1 person at a time, so be it, there are no shortcuts to success, and that is PERHAPS what R’ Elyashiv is pondering.

  8. the whole report is innacurate…. Rav elyasiv asked rav amnon to write a nusach and have his son in law, rav chaim kanievski sign and bring it back to rav elyasiv to sign thereafter….just wait and see!

  9. The comment from ‘please be clear’ is not true. The nigunim that are used on the yamim noraim were not taken from the church, the church took it from the yidden. They were composed around the time of the bais hamikdash.

  10. r Shalom zalman i think said that a non Jewish song as long as it has jewish words can be considered a jewish song ie gerer march songs supposedly not jewish

  11. There is an important point being overlooked. In the past, the music styles that were adopted into Jewish liturgy were at least composed with a certain degree of chochma and the composers, yes, even goyim (yikes!) were attempting to write music that was uplifting, inspiring and based on lofty ideals. On top of that, the instrumentation of yesteryear lent itself to a more sublime type of music.

    Today, the styles that are being copied are generally, quite the opposite: meant to invoke the worst human sentiments and inclinations and the instrumentation is taken from similarly degrading forms: african rythms, jazz, rock and other styles that formed the basis of the counterculture that emerged in the middle of the last century and now completely dominates the society, taking the world ever more rapidly into the sewer.

    Having said that, I don’t want people to think that I mean that there are no positive musical inluences at all. Within certain genres, such as folk music and the softer, more sentimental part of the spectrum, there are still beautiful melodies being written by people who still have not lost all their humanity.

    In the end, the question still is: is the music and the manner it is presented (ie: concert spectacles vs. recordings) consistent with Torah values. I’m not an authority, but I think I can tell the difference. To be perfectly honest, an awful lot of the “Jewish” music nowadays sounds like trashy or syrupy pop songs with hebrew words, or worse, it is no more than knock-off rock and other schmutz. To hear the holy words of the Tanach sung to this kind of music is sickening.

    Just my opinion.

  12. “Those close to Rav Elyashiv said that the gadol hador feels that there are more important matters affecting Klal Yisroel, and before addressing the matter of singers, more pressing matters must be dealt with.”
    This is clearly not his opinion on the matter for since when, does one important matter preclude one from addressing a diferent less important matter as well. I need to go to the pharmacy to get medicine & I also need a bottle of milk. If there’s time I’ll do both of them.

  13. truth:
    ahh sorry maybe we have something crossed.
    there are MANY nigunim used during for example RH. there are some which we have as tradition, which go back, there are some we use from mordern day composers, and there are some we (ashkenazeim) use from places we picked up along the way. it’s a well known fact that some of these were influenced by goish culture, speak to any normal chazan and he’ll confirm your error

  14. #9, on #3, + everyone
    i think there is somthing to rememeber:
    the focal point of this discussion is refering to eretz yisrael, to israel.
    i’m almost positive they will not remove these cd’s in america

  15. Maran Rav Elyashiv should be maarich yomim veshonim. How fortunate are to have a gadol like him.

    And Rav Amnon Yitzchak should be genencthed and have koach to do his gevalidge work. He has been mekarev a million people.

    What Yidden! How lucky we are. Heilige gedolim.

  16. to Mr. 9

    The end of your nice respOnse ” I DO WANDER IF THEY ARE REALLY … – Don’t wander. they are not …. ( but it is good for their business )

  17. This is such a confusing issue. So many questions unanswered. We need a greated coverage of this issue here in the USA.

  18. Music is contextually neutral. What makes music
    religious or not is the context that it is being played in and the words that are applied to it. Therefore the same tune that was sung about Gingus Kahn is used by Mordechai Ben David who sings about Moshiach. If the music is good and it emotes feelings that resonate within you then how can we then define it as secular. Many of our most popular niggunim were once music written by non Jews for secular purposes. It is the context that we use it that can help elevate the music and the person singing and dancing to DVeykut.

  19. I like chazunus chasidishe marches mbd a.f dveikus etc. thats what i grew up on.I Couldn’t stand it when my wife bought other cds but she realy enjoyed it.At first i tried to get her off it with no success + a negative shalom bais effect.Slowly I realised that if its a mitzva for me to buy her an icecream to make her happy (even though it’s not nutrisiously healthy)then perhaps it’s a mitzva for me do let (help) her enjoy that music…
    (hashem is willing to have his name erased for the sake of shalom bais i.e. sotah)
    and they lived happily ever after.
    p.s. I think same is true for parent child relationship

  20. Isn’t depression a bigger problem? If the new generation enjoys this music and does not relate to the type of music that others would like them to, do we not risk by banning it that they will stop listening to music and have no outlet for when they’re feeling the need for some music to get them out of the mara shechora that plagues our generation? Personally, I do get feelings of ‘dveykut’ from some of the modern type of music (especially the Breslov ones). For some people it is the modern jewish music that keeps them from leaving the derech. I just recently heard that somebody made teshuva because of such music.

  21. Sheldon:

    Your first sentence, about context, is promptly contradicted by your second sentence.

    As for the rest, I simply think you are wrong.

    There are certainly categories of music, styles of play, choice of instrumentation, rythms, harmonies and other elements that dictate the message of the music.

    You say: “If the music is good and it emotes feelings that resonate within you then how can we then define it as secular.” The first part is simply a conclusion: if it’s good? According to what? If someone thinks blaring guitars, crashing drums, played at extreme volume without rythm or harmony is good, therefore it’s good? If it “emotes feelings that resonate within you”? Any feelings? What about feelings of anger or hatred or lust? Are you saying that it’s all subjective, all in the ear of the beholder? If you sing about Moshiach to awful music, it doesn’t make it beautiful or holy. If the context is a concert hall packed with gullible young people with raging hormones, it doesn’t make it beautiful or holy. It’s a golden ring in the nose of a pig.

    Just My Opinion.

  22. In fact, I would say that the words are the LEAST significant aspect.

    What matters most is the demeanor of the performer, which is exactly where the problem lies with much of popular “Jewish” music.

    Go on Youtube and compare the way that non-Jewish classical and folk musicians conduct themselves on stage with the way that certain Jewish musicians do.

    Then tell me which is more tzniudik, in the true sense.

  23. Dear Just My Opinion,
    Thank G-d, we live in the US and not the former Soviet Union. What may be noise to one person may be exciting and motivating to another. These are feelings and sentiments that one can not dictate to another. If the tunes are placed into religious context, and sung under religious context who are you to dictate what is appropriate to another person, especially when you don’t and can’t appreciate that person’s style of music. My mother in law is a concert classical pianist. She loves her music and is inspired by it. Me, I just go for a good Schloof. Hey That’s me. and That’s my opinion.

    PS. Don’t take yourself so seriously, you just might be able to laugh at yourself.

  24. Sheldon:

    I never said a word about stopping anyone from doing anything, so your straw man argument is about as logical as your other points.

    I don’t need to laugh at myself. For laughter, I have you.


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