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Musical Instrument Kabbalat Shabbat

Question:

Shalom Rav,

I hope all is well. In Australia, some orthodox communities have begun a “musical” Kabbalas Shabbas to attract members to the shul.

During Kaballas Shabbas, they play musical instruments, including guitar, piano, violin, saxophone etc.

They start before Shabbas officially comes in… and they stop playing and put their instruments away at Mizmor Shir when officially Shabbas comes in.

What are the halachic & hashkafic problems of this? If you can bring sources, this would be very beneficial.

Kind regards,

Answer:

Before answering, this issue is really up to the decision of the local poskim and Rabbonim, and this answer is only from a theoretical angle as I am not involved in the situation over there.

Having said that, it is very understandable that communities will want to encourage people to come to the shul and that is a great thing, however they should look for a different way to do this. There are a number of issues with this practice. The first being that the second the shul says mizmor shir, (and according to some opinion it is when they say “boei kallah” which is even earlier), that everyone in the shul is mekabel shabbos. That being the case, the instruments are muktza and may not be put away. So they would have to complete putting their instruments away before the congregation gets to this part of kabolas shabbos.

Aside from this, hashkaficaly it isn’t the thing that the orthodox do. The reason is because having music during davening is the way the Reform and Conservative pray, therefore we specifically don’t wan’t to do something like this. In fact for a similar reason the Chasam Sofer prohibited having music in a shul entirely, in order that our davening should not resemble the Reform services.  Another issue is because it is doing melacha very close to Shabbos, which is not kavod for Shabbos.

May Hashem help that these communities should be able to find other ways to encourage people to come to davening, such as getting an exciting chazzan who will sing catchy songs which will encourage people to come.

Best wishes

 

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