The Matzav Shmoooze: Time to Revisit the Taam-Less Dance Music

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Modes of dancing inconsistent with tradition have made inroads into chasunah dancing (primarily after the first dance). To be honest, it is not limited to dancing. One no longer hears the meaningful songs of yesterday (Pirchei, MBD, Avraham Fried, etc). Rather, the multiple piece bands serve up a cacophony of loud music with no taam or rei’ach.

In my yeshiva, it is well-known that when the chosson invites the rosh yeshiva for siddur kiddushin, the chosson is told that the rosh yeshiva will be happy to be mesader providing  that the music and dancing is “vi es flegt to zein.”

It’s not clear why this matter has not been discussed. Hopefully, after being discussed on Matzav, the matter will now get the attention it rightfully deserves.

Yeshiva Bachur
Brisk Feeder, USA



  1. It rightfully doesn’t deserve any attention. What does deserve attention is why a yeshiva bochur/ yungerman needs to spend close to 2 hours picking out a black hat in bencraft

  2. Yeshiva Bochur- You are so right. Unfortunately, your target audience cannot hear you. They have permanent hearing loss from the music they are dancing to.

  3. welcome-sadly-to the new rocken jewish music, copied straight from the goyim & just changing the words from english to hebrew words.

    so your yetzer hara tells you whats wrong with doing this? all these different kinds of goyish rock & jazz music etc… (swiched to jewish words) is seeping into our frum homes & when listened to it effects your attitude to life & yidishkeit. Open up the sefer of ALL the kinds of music & what the results are that happen to a person when you listen to it & how it affects your yiddishkeit & life

  4. It’s about time this issue was discussed. It has been around for a long time. I went to a Chasuna about 20 years ago. The chasuna was in NY at a fancy venue. There were about 500 people present. At one point the band played a favorite lively tune at that time called Makarena. The dance floor filled up with all the young people present and some older NY Askanim who thought that they were young enough. The (kosher) mechitza was removed. Hats and jackets were removed and they danced until they were covered with sweat. The Rosh Yeheshiva and Chasidishe Rebbe who I sat with turned their chairs away from the dance floor. Some people just left in disgust at this awful display of what the choson and kallah thought was ok.
    This was 20 years ago, things have gone downhill since then with meshiga musical sounds and dances.
    Whatever happened to “Yismechi Hashomayim”, “V’Taher Libeni”, “A-Leh Chomde Libi” and all of the songs of my childhood? It is high time to revisit this issue.

  5. As we’re now only 3+ days from Rosh HaShanna let’s keep any discussion civil and rancor-free. (There are unquestionably strong opinions on this topic.)

  6. rav moshe wolfson shlita who is very musical and has a deep appreciation for the power of neginah said “v’ROCK ain yiras elokim bamakom hazeh
    the issue is much bigger , you ” need ” to hire singers, chiors because the oilam isnt singing they are spectators
    a family gets together for a shabbos sheva brochos and you need to pay a group to walk in and sing !? the simcha and family should sing from joy
    if you want to know the shoresh of the music you are listening too see which parts of your body are “nisorer”
    finally even music w/o lyrics can potray the composers feelings thats how yanni songs have titles even w/o words

  7. It is a legitimate issue and one that cries out for correction. But the issue goes much deeper.
    Why are the bochurim craving this type of music? Where did they hear this music to begin with? Where did they learn these dance steps? Especially since these songs and dances do not come from neither the yeshivish or chasidish velt! It has “goyish” written all over it. This means we have a big chinuch issue here.
    Yes, it is Erev Rosh Hashana. That doesn’t mean that we should sweep this issue under the carpet. It calls out for “cheshbon hanefesh”.
    The Rosh Yeshiva of the writer has it right. Kol hakovod lo.

  8. Azoiy

    we can all thank those in the industry who have brought klal yisroel to this low level of yiddishkeit.

    come out with new CD’s of music with a jewish ta’am.

  9. Whoever hires the band can dictate the style and volume of music to be played. The same way one can request certain songs be played, one can request certain songs not be played. You can write it into a contract. If the band breaks the contract, they are penalized based on the terms of the contract. They should be instructed not to take requests from anyone except the one who is paying them.

  10. I assume this bochur knows for a fact the Simchas Beis Hashoayva in the Bais Hamikdash was filled with men in Shtreimlach dancing in a circle.

    The reality is that we have no idea what simcha dancing looked like. This bochur would probably be shocked if he was sent back in time to see the Chassidim of the BSHT dancing in the way of the Ukranians and the Chidushei HaRim dancing like a Poylisher.

  11. The author needs to learn some jewish history! Jewish music??? Jewish dance?? Check the regions these came from the music and dance is similer!

  12. Yeshiva Bochur,Azoiy,

    If these boys would be/have been accepted into your Yeshiva ,would they be doing this?If it was the other way around ,would you?

  13. Why would this writer sign his name as a member of a brisk feeder yeshivah. Is there nothing positive about his yeshivah itself other than it is a brisk feeder? Is it appropriate for any yeshivah to be a brisk feeder or should the yeshivah place bachurim based on what is best for each individual bachur? Should a wannabe Brisker talmud be on the internet? Most importantly is the issue that is rocking (pun intended) this bachur’s peace of mind the most really the type of music being played at weddings?

  14. I agree one million percent. The whole second dance has turned into a disgrace, halacha, kedusha, normalcy all thrown out the window.

  15. A million percent right.
    Azoiy there are many baalei teshuva today and we live amongst the goyim, unfortunately that means their culture slips in at times. I would love to add to this that even the “kosher” music of today is influenced far too much by the goyish song and more often than not it is accompanied by techno music which sounds to me more like noise than music. I would love for rabbonim to push the matter just like we wouldn’t think of attending a mixed dancing wedding so too we should refuse to attend a wedding with unkosher music but I think the rabbonim have larger issues to deal with already…

  16. “vi es flegt to zein.” ???When you speak Yiddish ” vi mir hubben amol geredt” then maybe the dancing will be like it used to be. Things change. Older people have been complaining about the music and dancing of younger people for as long as I remember and I’m in my 60’s. That’s the way it is. I’m older so I don’t enjoy some of that music either, but it means nothing except that the kids are having fun. They’ll grow out of it just like we did. (But they’ll unfortunately never learn how to speak Yiddish correctly)

  17. I well remember a talk that the previous Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Gedola – Merkaz HaTorah – Tiferes Mordechai in Montreal, Rav Mordechai Weinberg, ZT’L, 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 not good intention song and putting it to the words of some Torah phrase. He bluntly exclaimed that, that is like (i.e. that is going to help “fix” the bad song as much as) “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 discussed this subjuct with, Y’bodel L’Chaiyim Tovim V’Aruchim, Rav Moshe Wolfson, Sh’lita. He did not want to even 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’!!”

  18. A few years ago when my mother and I were chatting about the cheap low level of today’s music, I related to her that the Mashgiach of Yeshiva Torah Vodaas (Rav Moshe Wolfson, Sh’lita) had told me:
    “Today’s music is not music; it is ‘noise’!!” AND SHE WHOLE HEARTEDLY AGREED!!

    A few decades earlier, when I was a young child in the late 1950’s and early 60’s, was the beginnings of rock music. Needless to say, that early rock was no where near as wild and as violent as much of the current (heavy rock and heavy metal, etc.) productions are. Regarding that early emerging rock music, many times, L’Havdil Bein HaChaim L’HaChaim, my father, Alav HaShalom, then sarcastically remarked (that same condemnation, that it is not “music”; rather): “IT IS A BUNCH OF TIN CANS!!”

  19. 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 Schneur Zalman of Liadi, ZT’L, lived during the events of Napoleon’s attempt to conquer Europe. His French forces were initially brilliantly successful in invading and 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 himself had been vehemently opposed to Napoleon’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” over 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 over 22 years ago), recognized that one of the major 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 so directed to THE ONE to Whom all reverence is due — HASHEM! So the rebbe adapted the first two parts of this melody to the Piyut – the hymn “HaAderes V’HaEmuna”: “HaAderes V’HaEmuna L’Chai HaOlamim” – “The honor and the faithfulness is due to the Life of all worlds!” So today, when Lubavitcher Chassidim sing this Piyut, they will often use this melody.

  20. This shmooze was the topic if conversation on my table in the yeshiva (also a R.A.Y. brisk feeder) dining room. The consensus was in agreement. Was just wondering why there was no mention about the volume. Ken zain if he learns in a bais medrash with a lot of people he is used to loud noise

  21. DeaR author ,Engaged & co.,
    How about if you “come out..” and broadcast which yeshiva
    you happen to attend?

    and Reread post from Emes
    sept. 29


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