Background Music & Sefirat HaOmer

The Daily Halacha Moment - Background Music & Sefirat HaOmer 🎶


״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)


“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


Question:

May one watch a video if there’s background music? May one be on hold on the phone and there’s background music?


Answer:

One may watch the videos and stay on the phone because his intention is not to listen to the music.


There’s many similar cases that are indeed permitted by the poskim, since ones intention is not to listen to the music, but to listen to the speech.


Below are some examples:

See Ashrei HaIsh, O.C., vol. 3, 68:8, which says in the name of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv that if one is waiting on hold with music playing, he does not have to hang up the phone.

See also Sefer Nechamat Yisrael, ch. 2, n 38, which states in the name of Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky that someone who is on a bus with music playing does not have to shut off the music, even if one is deriving pleasure from it, since the Chachamim did not prohibit one from listening to music against ones will.

See Shevet HaLevi 6:69, which cites She’arim HaMetzuyanim BeHalachah 126:4, which discusses listening to the radio (for permitted reasons such as) for the news or weather, and there are points during the broadcast when music is played. In such a case, one does not have to turn off the radio, since he is not listening to it for the music, rather the news. The Shevet HaLevi also adds that even without this reason, it should be permitted, since the person does not even want to listen to the music.

Another similar case is if one’s ringtone for his cell phone is a song. According to Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, as cited in Kovetz Halachot, Ben HaMetzarim 4:12, one does not have to change the ringtone, since he does not intend for the music to bring him to dance.


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