web analytics
August 5, 2015 / 20 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Sounds Of Silence


Schmutter-041213

Welcome back to “You’re Asking Me?” where we delve into questions sent in by readers. We might as well. It’s not like we can listen to music.

Dear Mordechai,

What should I do about Sefirah and the whole “no music” thing?

Awkward

Dear Awkward,

A lot of people go crazy about it. “A month without music! Oh no!” This is because they’re afraid to be alone with their thoughts.

Why not talk to yourself, like the rest of us?

One of the huge benefits of music has always been for when you’re so uncomfortable with the people you’re talking to that you need a break. Kind of like at Shabbos meals, when someone always starts singing just as the conversation gets weird. Or interesting. And the same goes for weddings. This is why school dinners are so awkward — you can’t suddenly break into song. The speeches don’t help.

Also, a lot of people like having music on in the background while they do other things, because they want to feel like they’re in an inspirational movie montage. How are we supposed to work off a whole Yom Tov’s worth of weight when there’s no inspirational background music?

Oh, well. I guess we’ll start working out after Sefirah.

So a lot of people try to come up with strategies to cope. For example, many people use the same strategy they do before a fast day – listen to as much music as they can right before Sefirah, and hope it will hold them over. Even though it doesn’t really work with fasts either, and that’s just one day.

Or maybe their plan is to get so sick of music that they can go for a while without it, kind of like we do with noodles before Pesach. We eat them 3 meals a day for a month straight, and then we feel like maybe we can go for a week without noodles. So we listen to music the entire time that we’re cleaning. This isn’t something you can do with haircuts.

“Yes, I’d like 3 haircuts, please!”

But if you really can’t get along without music, you might be able to try listening to something that’s not music, such as a cappella.

(Ask your rabbi, though. Some rabbis say you can only listen to bad a cappella.)

Of course, there is a limited amount of a cappella albums out there, and you can easily get sick of them. But the upside is that you can make your own, and no rabbi would question that that’s okay. Some rabbis also permit classical music, because those don’t usually lead to joy (except maybe “An Ode to Joy”). At best, people are sitting there going, “Wait. Which part is the chorus?” or “When are they gonna get to the words?” And you can’t even hum it without at least 20 people, which means that it’s probably not something you can sing in the shower.

Dear Mordechai,

Why is there a minhag to cut a 3-year-old’s hair on Lag Ba’Omer specifically, even if it’s not his birthday?

Meir Rhone

Dear Meir,

I don’t know that it’s necessarily a minhag. I think it just seems like more people do it then because it’s basically the culmination of 34 days of birthdays where you couldn’t cut hair, plus all the days before Yom Tov when you didn’t really have a chance because you were busy cleaning and cooking and listening to music, and all your relatives were like, “I’m not going to drive 2 hours each way to watch them cut their kid’s hair. There’ll be other haircuts. It’s not like he’s balding yet.” And the last thing you want right before Pesach is to get hair over everything you own, which is what happens when you have all your relatives take turns cutting hair off a 3-year-old boy and then giving him honey.

I think some people do have a minhag specifically for Lag Ba’Omer, though. It has something to do with Rabi Shimon bar Yochai, which, as with most things about Rabi Shimon bar Yochai, we don’t really understand. But to emphasize the connection, those people incorporate the Bar Yochai song, which goes, “BAR Yochai, nananananananai nananananai nanananana-nai, BAR Yochai nananananananai nanananai mei chaveirecha.”

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Sounds Of Silence”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
The Quran
Dawa* at Chautauqua
Latest Sections Stories
South-Florida-logo

An impressive group of counselors and staff members are providing the boys and girls with a summer of fun and Torah learning and a lifetime of wonderful memories.

South-Florida-logo

Rabbi Sam Intrator recently led a summer program in Williams Island, located in Aventura. The event focused on how to find spiritual joy in Judaism. The rabbi cited biblical and Talmudic teachings, ancient Temple rituals, and the words of prayers to establish the role that love and positive thinking have in Torah values. Rabbi Intrator […]

South-Florida-logo

The Iranian deal was sealed on July 14, four and a half months after Netanyahu’s visit. The details of the agreement were shocking and worse than anyone had imagined.

There are so many toys available for newborn to age 5, but how do you choose?

In 1939, with life getting harder for Jews, she and several friends decided it was time to make aliyah, and applied at the Palestina Amt for permits.

I am not sure how many of you readers have had this experience, but I did and it truly tested the limits of my sanity!

Aside from my own 485-page tome on the subject, Red Army, I think Jamie Glazov did an excellent job at framing things in United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror.

We studied his seforim together, we listened to famous cantorial masters and we spoke of his illustrious yichus, his pedigree, dating back to the famous commentator, Rashi.

Jews who were considered, but not ultimately selected, include Woody Allen, Saul Bellow, David Ben-Gurion, Marc Chagall, Anne Frank, and Barbra Streisand.

More Articles from Mordechai Schmutter
Schmutter-M-NEW-logo

My parents have a coffee table in their den, and I’ve never seen anyone drink coffee on it.

Schmutter-M-NEW-logo

Wait. Why would I give you 22 minutes first? How about you give me the world, and then I give you the 22 minutes.

For the most part, though, people tend to base their decision on how long the lines in the store are going to be.

Now that Pesach is over, we return you to your regularly-scheduled pressing questions:   Dear Mordechai, Can I use a nose hair trimmer during Sefirah? Harry Lipman   Dear Harry, Yes, as long as your nose hairs are so bad that they’re affecting your job. Like if you have a desk job, and they interfere […]

So generally, I dance for a few minutes and then stand off to the side with all the other people who don’t dance and feel like they have to make conversation, even though that’s when the music is the loudest.

Imagine you were a doctor, and then, one day a year, everyone tried his or her hand at surgery.

Dear Mordechai,
How do I prevent my Smartphone from breaking the first time I drop it?
Shattered in Pieces

Because you can’t have kids pouring huge jugs of oil into tiny glasses, unless you want to turn your house into an environmental disaster.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/sounds-of-silence/2013/04/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: