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1161 – Brachos and Tefilos – (Klal 4 Siman 6) – Kol 6 – Close Relatives 2 – Zemiros

D'var Halacha
D'var Halacha
1161 - Brachos and Tefilos - (Klal 4 Siman 6) - Kol 6 - Close Relatives 2 - Zemiros


We are continuing in siman 6, discussing the halachos of kol. We raised the question regarding a man hearing close relatives’ singing voices while davening or learning. Some make an argument based on the language of the Rema, who writes that kol haragil is permitted, that a close relative is someone who a man is used to hearing sing, so it is muttar to hear them while davening or learning (see more shiur 1558). However, we already pointed out that this is not the point of the Rema. Rather, he is coming to respond to the rishonim who hold that even a woman’s regular talking voice is problematic to hear when reciting shema, and the Rema is coming to say that it is not a concern. The Rema is not on record saying that since one is used to hearing his close relatives singing, it would be permitted to hear her singing when davening or learning, but just that it is muttar to hear her regular speaking voice.


One area where this question comes up is when it comes to shabbos zemiros. Is a man allowed to sing shabbos zemiros when he has close female relatives who are singing as well? There is an argument to be made that zemiros are not considered torah and tefillah. However, we would have to differentiate between the zemiros which are pesukim, such as Mizmor Ledovid and Eishes Chayil, and those which are poems of praise to Hashem but not intrinsically torah or tefillah. There is much more of a leniency in zemiros which are not pesukim, but it would preclude a woman from singing Eishes Chayil or the like together with men. 


There is an argument to be made that when a person is singing any shirei kodesh, the yetzer hara does not apply. The pasuk says that Devorah and Barak sang shirah together after the battle with Sisra. The simple understanding of the word shirah as it is used in Tanach does not necessarily refer to a singing voice, but rather to composing poetry. In other words, the navi is telling us that the shirah of Devorah and Barak was poetic praise to Hashem rather than straightforward prose. However, the Chida understands that the pasuk could even be referring to Devorah singing with Barak. He explains that at the moment of hashraas hashechina, a woman is allowed to sing and there is no concern for hirhur. When the shechina is present, there is yirah, and therefore no problem for a man and woman to sing together. 

If the concern of the issur of kol isha is hirhur (see shiur 1559), the Chida makes sense. However, if the concern is the intrinsic issur ervah, even if there is no reason to be concerned for arayos, the issur ervah is an inherent issur enacted by Chazal which exists regardless of the circumstances. Therefore, some say we cannot learn from Devorah, who received a nevuah, and are not comfortable permitting singing zemiros based on the Chida alone. 


Rav Shlomo Zalman is quoted as holding that the minhag is to be meikil on zemiros shabbos, but to hear relatives at other times is not appropriate. In the sefer Es Tznuim Chochma,  the author adds that he found in a sefer composed by Rav Shlomo Zalman’s great nephew where the nephew writes that he was the one who asked the above question to Rav Shlomo Zalman, and that he had asked the question regarding the general question of hearing close relatives sing, but not regarding the issue of hearing close relatives sing while engaged in devarim shebikedusha. It was regarding the general issur of hearing a close relative sing that Rav Shlomo Zalman was meikil regarding shabbos zemiros, but not regarding the question of devarim shebikedusha. If so, Rav Shlomo Zalman’s heter can only be used to permit shabbos zemiros which are not pesukim, but it is not clear what Rav Shlomo Zalman would hold regarding shabbos zemiros which are pesukim, such as Eishes Chayil.



Regarding singing shabbos zemiros with close female relatives, there is what to rely on regarding zemiros which are not pesukim, but regarding zemiros which are pesukim, the heter is less clear.


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