We have finished siman 6, and are discussing zmiros on shabbos. Today, we will address the issur of zimra. The Shulchan Aruch, in siman 560:3, writes that part of the zecher l’churban of Yerushalayim is a gezeirah from Chazal against playing music. This issur applies all year. The Rema clarifies that some hold the issur only applies to people who use music in a significant manner, such as in order to go to sleep, wake up, while drinking wine, and so on. The issur is not only to play instruments, but to hear them. While drinking wine, it is assur to sing, even without any musical accompaniment.
The Shulchan Aruch continues, and writes that nonetheless, the minhag of all of Klal Yisroel is that it is muttar to sing praises to Hashem while drinking wine. Similarly, the Rema adds that it is muttar to sing or play music for the purpose of a mitzvah, such as simchas chosson v’kallah. In fact, the Tur writes that it is inappropriate to conduct sheva brachos without music, due to the importance of the simcha.
Thus, we see the Shulchan Aruch holds that music is generally assur, with the exception of singing praises to Hashem.
The Magen Avraham writes that in addition to the issur of zecher l’churban, there is an additional issue when pesukim are used in a way that is not the serious manner for which they are meant to be used. The Magen Avraham is based on a Gemara in Sanhedrin, daf 101. He quotes from the Maharil that it is inappropriate to sing songs based on pesukim in a lighthearted, joking manner. The Torah, as it were, puts on sackcloth and complains that it has been used as a utensil to make music. However, the Maharil writes that it is appropriate in Shul. The Magen Avraham adds that piyutim (including zmiros) instituted for Shabbos or Yom Yov are muttar, because they bring out the praises of Hashem related to the day. However, even on Shabbos and Yom Tov, it would seem inappropriate to sing other pesukim at one’s seudah which are not part of an established piyut.
We come out with two issurim; the issur of zimra, which we conclude is not a problem when giving praise to Hashem, and the issur of using pesukim in a denigrating manner such as just to make music.
Regarding the issur of zimra, the poskim write that we are not so machmir on this issur nowadays, because without music in our lives, we would become emotionally withdrawn. However, the issur of using pesukim still applies. If so, some poskim suggest that this second issur is another reason why one should not say shaim Hashem when singing pesukim, as it then changes the pasuk to avoid this second issue.
- We are no longer so machmir on the issur of zimra, so this issur is not such an issue regarding zmiros.
- However, the issur of using pesukim in a denigrating manner applies to zmiros. One suggestion is not to recite shaim Hashem so it is no longer a pasuk.