Sunday, September 14, 2008

And the Beat Goes On

In wish I could say I’m surprised. But I’m not. Perhaps the only surprising thing here is the speed by which this is happening.

I am talking about a new set of rules with respect to music as proposed by Rabbi Efraim Luft. It’s not longer enough to say that rock and roll music has infiltrated the Torah world. Now specific instruments are banned: Saxophones are out! Electric and bass guitars – gone! Percussion is to be used sparingly. All forms of modern music – forbidden.

But he doesn’t stop at merely painting these instruments wrong. He wants to ban all bands who violate these rules. How does one and instruments – you may ask? By denying Hechsherim to catering halls that allow such music to be played in their halls! I don’t know if that will happen, but it wouldn’t surprise me if if did – at least in Israel.

Can Boro Park be far behind? This edict will not affect the American Jewish music scene now. For one thing it is nowhere near the radar screens of non Charedim. And American Charedim are not adopting these kinds of Takanos either. Yet. But it does have the potential to eventually make its way into Charedi circles here - as do many of the radical ideas that are quite normal for Israel these days.

This is ban is so radical I actually hope it is enacted in Israel and that Askanim try and get it enacted here. Let’s test the waters. Just how far will this segment of Klal Yisroel allow this radicalization go before they revolt.

Yes… there will always be those who will go along, but I really think that population is shrinking. Edicts like this will cause a major break in the Charedi world. Will this be the straw that breaks the camel’s back? I don’t know.

But I do think that many will start asking some of the questions I’ve been asking. This is Takana SheEin HaTzibur Yochel Lamod Bah. Most of the Charedi public just won’t put up with it.

And that’s a good thing. It’s time we had some common sense injected into the system. This does not mean that Charedi Gedolim will be rejected. But I think a grain of salt will be taken with every new edict of this type in the future. And that should cause the rabbinic leaders to rethink enacting these types of Takanos in the future. And maybe… just maybe… we can go back to a time where Rabbinic leaders did not ban everything in sight at the drop of a hat.

Let the rabbinic leaders refocus on what’s important, and reject once and for all these trivialities. Let them stop listening to the 'Lufts' of the world. Because luft (air) is about all it is worth. There needs to be some point where common sense in determining the welfare of that community takes over before and priorities are re-ordered. I echo a line used often by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz. If we don’t - we will fall off a cliff.

To see the list of new rules, click here.