Music therapy-May one listen to music during the three weeks [or during Sefirah] for emotional and mental health purposes?

*The article below is an excerpt from the above Sefer

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Music therapy-May one listen to music during the three weeks for emotional and mental health purposes?

In general, one may not play or listen[1] to music during the three weeks.[2] [It is forbidden to listen to music, whether live or recorded.[3] This applies likewise to Chassidic Niggunim, whether a slow or fast Niggun.[4] Thus one may not listen to music on a tape, CD, Ipod, MP3 and the like.] However, this only applies if one is doing so for purposes of pleasure.[5] One may, however, listen to music for therapeutic purposes, such as to remove depression, anxiety and other mental or emotional turmoil’s that one may be experiencing. This applies especially towards women.[6] [However, if one is able to accomplish the same music therapy without listing to actual musical instruments, such as through listening to A Cappella music, or through listening to various nature sounds, then one is to do so.]

May one who is driving late at night listen to music for the sake of preventing him from falling asleep at the wheel?



[1] Aruch Hashulchan 493:2 regarding Sefira

[2] P”M 551 A”A 10; Kitzur SH”A 122:1

[3] Shevet Halevi 2:57; 127; Igros Moshe 1:166; 3:87; Minchas Yitzchak 1:111; Kinyan Torah 2:99; Yechaveh Daas 3:30; Mishneh Halachos 8:128; Az Nidbaru 10:23; Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:13; 493:4

[4] See Moed Lekol Chaiy 10:19, brought in Kaf Hachaim 551:41 that even by singing of the mouth it is better not to sing even slow Niggunim which break the heart; Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:13; There is no reason to differentiate, as all music has a power of Simcha, and singing a soulful Niggun also gives one Simcha. Admur in various areas of Chassidus writes that some people enjoy fast music while others enjoy slow, depressing music, and each one has a different pleasure. So I received from various Morei Horaahs. However, some are lenient in this matter. Each person is to contact his Rav.

[5] So is understood from all Poskim who rule a musician may play for gentiles due to that for him it is not for pleasure. [See P”M 551 A”A 10; Kitzur SH”A 122:1; Ben Ish Chaiy Devarim 5; Biur Halacha 551 “Mematin”; Kaf Hachaim 551:39; Igros Moshe 3:87; Kinyan Torah 2:99] So is also understood from M”A 560:9; and Sota 49a regarding the allowance to sing during laborious work in order to hasten their work ability.

[6] See Shevet Halevi 8:127 “Especially the women who do so to remove their depression, and it is permitted” [however it is unclear if he refers to during the year or even during Bein Hametzarim, although, in truth the reason of the Heter should apply during all times]; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 493 footnote 36; Chelkas Yaakov 1:61 and 3:98 regarding Shabbos; See Sefer “Eileh Heim Moadaiy” 3:63-65 for a discussion from Poskeiy Zemaneinu on this matter

The reason: As the music is not being listened to for purposes of joy and dancing but for therapeutic purposes, and in such a case the custom was never accepted to prohibit the music.

[7] This follows the same logic as the previous Q&A.

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