Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef rules music permitted in isolation

Innovative halakhic ruling: During coronavirus period, those in isolation may listen to music, even rhythmic, in Three Weeks.

Mordechai Sones ,

Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef
Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef
Kobi Richter/TPS

Rishon LeTzion Sefardic Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef issued an innovative halakhic ruling regarding listening to music in the days referred to as "the Three Weeks" that commemorate historic calamities for the Jewish People and when music and other forms of joy and celebration are proscribed.

"This year, when unfortunately the coronavirus has spread to all corners of the world and many are in their homes in isolation leading to stress, depression, and great sorrow, to the point that they cannot stay closed in their room, and listening to songs and calm melodies would help them to stay in the isolated room lest they go out and infect people and bring them to danger, it should be permitted for them to hear these songs. And if they do not find calm even in such songs, it may be made permissible for them to hear even upbeat, rhythmic songs to calm their soul and revive their spirits."

Rabbi Yosef cites a source from which it appears that during a plague one should be joyous and reduce depression and stress because such stress and tension kill more people than the plague itself.

However, the Rabbi points out some conditions: It should be an audio recording and not a video where one sees the singer, the carrier should listen through headphones or earplugs and not play the music for others who don't share his mental state, and it's better to hear vocals and quiet and calm songs, and only in case they don't help relax him may more upbeat, rhythmic songs be played.

Also, the purpose of this ruling is to help a carrier come back to himself and for to another purpose. When there are small children in the house and it is impossible to keep them busy and calm them, recorded children's songs may be played.

To read Rabbi Yosef's ruling in the original Hebrew, click here.