Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Let There Be Singing In The IDF!

There has been a minor storm in the teacup that is Israel regarding women singing in the IDF. Weirdly there is little that is new in this story. It seems that every few years, some religious soldiers make a fuss of women singing, storm out of the concert hall or ceremony and receive their 15 minutes of news fame.

This time however, the issue has managed to create some surprises. Harav Cherlow has published an article instructing his students not to leave during army ceremonies where female soldiers are a-singing. His explanation is noteworthy  (and I highly recommend you read the whole answer) for being based on the acceptance of the reality that currently the army isn't religious. He takes it as a given that in the non religious community women singing is an intrigal part of ceremonies (and not something that they do just to annoy the religious). Secondly, he explains that when you are deciding halacha for the community as a whole, you must go to the baseline halacha - and not the most strict interprentation that you might ascribe to in private. Due to the need for cohesion in the army - he reaches the conclusion that the individual soldier should rely on those who allow the hearing of women in public (it is a pleasure that comes to him against his wishes).

The bigger surprise though - was that Harav Aviner seems to have followed a similar line of logic, and reached the same conclusion.

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