Yerushalayim - Uniting the Divided City
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To the question of how a religious musical group can perform during Sefirat Ha'omer [Maccabeats Manager Chaim (Julian)] Horowitz answered, 'We received permission from Rav Hershel Schachter (Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva University) who said that shows with positive content are better than shows that are not appropriate for this time of year. He said that from our shows there's a spiritual elevation.'recently announced winner of the Katz Prize for applying halachah to modern life) permit the Maccabeats to perform in Israel during the Sefirah - he also endorsed the group! Moreover, Mekor Rishon's sister paper - Ma'ariv - has publicized the Heter under the title: איך מופיעים בספירת העומר, אם אסור להשמיע מוזיקה? - "How Can They Perform During Sefirah if it's Forbidden to Listen to Music?" There Rav Schachter's heter receives prominent placement - basically the same article, but with an entirely different emphasis on the halachic leniency.
I spoke with my father about your email...He said he does not recall any sort of shailah or conversation with the Maccabeats at all. He agreed with your concerns, and felt that if in fact the crowd they are trying to attract, are the types that would otherwise doing things that were less in the spirit of sefira, then they should certainly be encouraged to go here. But this is not something he would suggest, for people who otherwise would not be involved in sefira appropriate activity.Moreover, my father said he has always been careful not to issue psakim for Eretz Yisrael, the same way that he doesn't like when Eretz Yisrael rabbanim issue psakim that are relevant to America. He said that makes this conversation with the Maccabeats even more hard to believe, as he in the past has almost never issued rulings that impact the society in Eretz Yisrael.
And so for me, and I imagine for many others like me, the key to Jewish living is not our religious beliefs but our commitment to a set of practices and values that foster community and continuity.I said that I thought that the article reflected an extreme. After all, most members of Orthodox communities adhere to Orthodox beliefs, I argued.
It's not just Shemittah. The entire Torah was given at Sinai. All the details of the Oral Torah, and the means to extrapolate those rules to our modern lives, were given by God to Moses at Sinai.אלא מה שמיטה נאמרו כללותיה ופרטותיה ודקדוקיה מסיני, אף כולן נאמרו כללותיהן ודקדוקיהן מסיניRather, just as with regard to Shemittah - all of its rules and details were given at Sinai, so too all [of the commandments] - their rules and details were [also] given at Sinai.
That is why we wear Tefillin.יכוין בהנחתם שצונו הקב"ה להניח ארבע פרשיות אלו שיש בהם יחוד שמו ויציאת מצרים על הזרוע כנגד הלב ועל הראש כנגד המוח כדי שנזכור נסים ונפלאות שעשה עמנו שהם מורים על יחודו ואשר לו הכח והממשלה בעליונים ובתחתונים לעשות בהם כרצונו וישתעבד להקב"ה הנשמה שהיא במוח וגם הלב שהוא עיקר התאוות והמחשבות ובזה יזכור הבורא וימעיט הנאותיוHe should concentrate when he dons [the Tefillin on the fact] that the Holy One blessed is He commanded us to don these four sections [of the Torah], for in them is the unification of His name and the Exodus from Egypt. [And we should place them] on the arm corresponding to the heart and on the head corresponding to the brain so that we remember the miracles and wonder that He did with us, for these teach us about His Oneness, and that He has the power and dominion above and below to do as He wishes. And he should subjugate his soul to the Holy One - which is in the brain and the heart, where the essential thoughts and desires are found, and in this way he will remember the Creator and minimize his desires.