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HALACHA-----kol isha

Rachel Posted - 30 May 2000 12:58

What are the halachos of Kol Isha?

MODERATOR Posted - 30 May 2000 14:27

A man is not allowed to hear a woman singing. This is true regardless of whether the woman is singing for the man specifically, or just singing in general.

Conversely, a woman may not sing if she knows a man is listening.

Whether a man may hear a recording of a woman singing is subject to differing Halachic opinions.

A man may hear a woman's voice if she is not singing, but a woman may not speak publicly for an audience of men. (This is not a Kol Isha issue, but a Tznius issue.)

A woman may hear a man singing, live or recorded.

DORTY Posted - 19 June 2000 16:09

1. does this rule apply to a wife who is a niddah?

2. to whom does this mitzva apply? (brothers?)

3. is the reason because of "lifnay eever lo sitain michshol" to keep the guy's fantasy world in check?

akiv44 Posted - 19 June 2000 16:11

The whole issur of kol isha is highly over-rated. We can see this from the Tanach. It says in the 5th chapter of shoftim that devorah and barak sang a song. This is kol isha and it didn't seem to bother them

When Miriam sang a song after kriyat yam suf there might have been a mechitza between the guys and girls. But I highly doubt the guys closed their ears

MODERATOR Posted - 06 July 2000 14:38


The Gemora (Brachos 24a) derives the prohibition of Kol Isha from a posuk in Shir HaShirim (2:14). Here we happen to be talking about saying Shema (or learning Torah - Mordechai ad loc.) while hearing a woman's voice. However, in Gemorah Kiddushin 70a and Sotah 48a it is clear that under any circumstances - even without Shema - Kol Isha is prohibited. (There is a discussion in the Rishonim regarding differences between Kol Isha during Shema vs. other times – during Shema it may be more strict, or more lenient. The above is the bottom line Halachah as recorded in Shulchan Aruch).

There is a disagreement in the poskim regarding whether only a singing voice of a woman is prohibited or even plain conversation. The Rambam (Teshuvos, mekitzei nirdamim, II:224) seems to hold that even a non-singing voice of a woman is prohibited. This non-singing prohibition may be limited to a friendly or even affectionate voice, as opposed to plain business, for instance, which may be permitted even according to these opinions.

Achronim (Magen Avraham 75:6, Beis Shmuel 25:4, and others) conclude that the speaking voice of a woman is permitted. There is discussion in Poskim regarding voice that is not quite singing, but not exactly plain conversation either.

There are poskim who permit hearing the blended voices of men and women singing together (Chasan Sofer aovdas hayom, taharas hayadayim 14). Others disagree (see Otzar haPoskim 21:1).

If you have never seen the woman whose voice you are listening to, the Maharam Shick (Even HaEzer 53) would permit listening. It is a matter of controversy in the poskim whether the Maharam Shick would permit in such circumstances even an actual singing voice or merely an “affectionate” greeting voice. Knowing what the woman looks like from photos qualifies as having “seen” her, even if you never met her live (Yabia Omer I OH 6).

Kol Isha on the radio or a CD is a topic of disagreement in the Poskim. It may not be Kol Isha because it is not actually the voice of a woman but the voice of a machine. However, even the lenient Poskim agree that such practice should be avoided as it is “mechuar”, even if not Halachicly prohibited.

Whether you can listen you your wife, when Nidah, is a big controversy in the Poskim. Rav Moshe (YD II, 75) rules that you should be machmir.

MODERATOR Posted - 06 July 2000 14:41


Judaism is not only Tanach. Torah Shebal peh is equally authoritative.

You have submitted zero evidence that people in Tanach did not consider Kol Isha as important as we do today -- especially since we learn the Halachah form a Posuk in Shir Hashirim. The poskim deal with Devorah and Barak and they unanimously agree that it has no bearing on our Halachos. See Seridei Aish II, 8.

Devorah's case is different since Hashem specifically commanded her.

Harmonypal Posted - 24 July 2000 22:49

I didn’t understand the answer to "are my brothers allowed to hear me sing?"

MODERATOR Posted - 24 July 2000 22:50

Yes they can.

shtark sheya Posted - 24 August 2000 15:37

So does this apply to a woman who's in nidah and her husband?

sarchie Posted - 17 October 2000 13:30

I go away to a yeshiva and whenever I come home my father wants me to give a divar Torah to the shul. It is a small shul, a chabad house. Everyone is really close, we do things's not like a big massive congregation.

Am I still not permitted to announce anything there? Even the shluchim's wives announce stuff. Why wouldn’t I be able to?

Also, if I am not able to, then what do I tell my father? He will be pretty upset and say its nonsense.

MODERATOR Posted - 17 October 2000 14:33

Whether you can listen you your wife, when Nidah, is a big controversy in the Poskim. Rav Moshe (YD II, 75) rules that you should be machmir.

MODERATOR Posted - 17 October 2000 14:51

According to the vast majority of poskim, only the singing voice of a woman is prohibited as Kol Isha. A plain speaking voice, such as what you would be using in your dvar Torah, is not included in the prohibition.

However, women speaking in public for men is certainly frowned upon, and may be Halachicly prohibited. The source would be the Halachah that a woman who has to bentch gomel may not do it in public in full sight of men because it is not Tzniusdik to do so. Speaking in public would involve the exact same lack of Tznius.

However, with great effort, (b'dochek) a distinction can be made in that with bentching gomel an alternative is available - she can bentch gomel from behind the mechitzah, or even in the privacy of her own home in front of her husband. If there is no alternative speaker to deliver the message that the woman would, we have no proof to prohibit.

HOWEVER, prohibited or not, we certainly see that it is considered not Tzniusdik.

If you are Chassidish, you may want to point out to your father that in Chassidish tradition, there were women, rebetzens, who occasionally said divrei Torah for men, but invariably did so only from behind the mechitzah.

But Halachah aside, if you are uncomfortable speaking for the men, it is certainly a good trait of booshah, and Halachah or not, Chassidish tradition or not, you should ask your father to please not force you to do something that makes you uncomfortable, especially since the discomfort is coming from a good place.

Nicole Posted - 11 September 2001 18:32

I am not speaking for myself, but rather for my friend.

It seems that in her school, during choir tryouts, a certain rabbi of the school remains in the room and listens to each girl as she tries out.

Also, during the choir practices themselves, this particular Rabbi "helps" out with different harmonies and the like.

The Rabbi claims he had a heter to do this but the whole thing bothers my friend a great deal. Is there such a thing as getting a heter for listening to high school girls sing? I mean, it's not as if nobody else can do this.

MODERATOR Posted - 21 September 2001 14:36

That is absolutely prohibited, Nicole. If you are interested in the reason for their behavior, you should respectfully ask the principal why they do it and see what he says.

dave17 Posted - 08 May 2002 17:08

I know of a well known seminary in Israel where the Rosh yeshiva (head rabbi-or whatever he is referred to as) has a kumzits with all the girls a few times a year. The girls all singing along with him. what is the heter there?

MODERATOR Posted - 13 May 2002 17:28

Never mind the Kol Isha problem - Im sure he'll say he’s relying on the heter that a chorus of voices isn’t prohibited since no individual voice can be discerned among the crowd.

Worse than that is the obvious lack of Tznius involved in such a thing. It should not be done.

1 comment:

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