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Is It Permissible to Listen to Music During The 3 Weeks and Throughout The Year
The question is asked in Halacha regarding some of the laws that apply during the Ben HaMitzarim, which is the 3 weeks between Shivaa Asar BeTamuz and Tisha BeAv. The question is asked, whether or not it is permissible to listen to music during this time, and does it make a difference if it is live music or if it is on the radio or on a tape?

The truth is, that this is a question that we need to address for the entire year and not just for the period of the 3 weeks. Is it permissible to listen to music?

According to Shulchan Aruch and Rambam, listening to live music outside of a Seudat Mitzvah can be problematic all year round. Although Chacham Ovadia Yoseph has a Teshuva that finds a loop-hole for those that are lenient to listen to music over a radio or a tape all year around, however during the 3 weeks since we are in a more serious period where we are mourning the Bet Mikdash, so it would not be proper to listen to music. That would include music that is live, music that is on the radio, and music that is on a tape. When we say music, we mean songs that have musical accompaniment in the background. But, if it is just singing without musical instruments, then that would be permissible.

And of course it goes without saying we are only talking about Kosher music. We are not talking about any of the other styles of music that is out there today. We are talking if there is a tape of Pizmonim where there is no musical accompaniment in the background. Pizmonim of this type would be permissible to listen.

Furthermore, it should be pointed out, that it would be permissible during the 3 weeks, to have a musical band to accompany the Pizmonim if there is a Seudat Brit Milah, or if there is a Seudat Pidyon HaBen, or there if is a Seudat Siyum Masechet, or if there is a Seudat Bar Mitzvah on the day that the boy becomes Bar 13. It would also be permissible to have musical instruments that play at a Sheva Berachot.

For that matter, it is permissible on Shabbat to sing Pizmonim at a Sebet or at the Shabbat table. It is permissible to have Chazanut during the 3 weeks. Which means it would also be permissible if the Chazan wants to sing a little and make some nice tunes during the Tefilah.

So again, during the 3 weeks one should refrain from listening to music on the radio, and on tapes, and all other types of music. This applies to ladies as well, and it also applies to children that reach the age of Chinuch, which is the time when a child reaches the age of 5 or 6 where he understands already a little about the mourning of Yerushalayim and the Bet Mikdash. This is when he should be trained not to listen to music during the 3 weeks.