(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Torah Forum (c) Project Genesis

Date: Sun, 26 Dec 1999 21:07:39 -0500 (EST)
From: Russell Hendel <  rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu>
Subject: Re: Music on Shabbat

Why is there a prohibition of playing music on the Sabbath.
The basic idea of the prohibition is that
<  <   when you play musical instruments you frequently tune them>  >  .

I would like to supplement these remarks with 3 observations. First I would
like to explain WHY tuning an instrument is prohibited on the Sabbath.
Sabbath prohibits creative work. Therefore COMPLETION of any utensil you
have been working on is prohibited on Shabbath. If for example you made the
shoe but did not yet put in the shoelace then putting in the shoelace is
the COMPLETION of the shoe (and is Biblically prohibited).

A Rabbinic derivative of this Biblically prohibited "completion of a
utensil" is any "fixing or maintenance of a utensil". So if the shoelace of
an already existing shoe gets loose and I fix it, or if the strings on a
guitar get loose then fixing it is rabbinically prohibited.

Since singing and instrumental music are often inseparable therefore the
Rabbis prohibited all music on shabbath.

Next I would like to point out that there are a rich variety of allowances
to sing in shule (possibly even with clapping, possibly even with dancing).
I am sure other respondents will discuss this.

Finally, I would like to point out that once something is prohibited people
frequently color the prohibition with "extra reasons" (Such as remembering
the destruction of the temple). From a halachic point of view however we
all listen to instrumental music today and this reason is not accepted.

Russell Hendel; Math; Towson Univ;