Music in 3 Weeks

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Dear Rabbi Simon,
I am at home much of the time at the moment, doing computing work out of my home office.  I listen to music on headphones to drown out other noise and to help me concentrate. (I have tried using the radio instead or other talking noises – and it does not really work.)  Would it be permitted for me to continue to doing this during the 3 weeks?
Regards
David

Dear David
TY for your timely question.
The Talmud prescribes a diminution of joy with the arrival of the month of Av [until after the Fast of Tisha B’Av]. Ashkenazic tradition has expanded this practice to include the days from the Fast of 17 Tamuz until midday on the 10th of Av. As you know, this is colloquially known as the Three Weeks.
It is generally agreed that the seasonal restrictions include listening to music. However, the essential prohibition is only live music accompanied by dancing and celebrating generally. Hence, chamber music, mood music and the like would not violate the prohibition. Similarly, there are those who distinguish between live and pre-recorded music.
In light of this, I would say that if listening to pre-recorded music enables you to concentrate better, and is not a form of recreation (ta’anug) per se, you may do so until the week in which the Fast of Av falls. If you find that your productively is actually compromised, and that even the last few days represents a hardship, you may even use your earphones until midday on Erev Tisha B’Av.
I hope this is helpful.
BW
Rabbi Rashi Simon

Questions & Answers
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Questions and Answers

Ask the Rabbi: Easy as א-ב-ג?
Dear Rabbi Simon,
I hope you fasted well yesterday.
Thank you for the insights into the Kinnot, making them easier to understand.
In the afternoon, I was listening to a shiur on Eichah on Torahanytime.  As an aside, the speaker mentioned that the 1st perek of Eichah is the source for the order of the alef bet as we know it.  Other chapters also follow the alef bet chronology but with ayin en peh interchanged.
He quoted Rabbi Shimon Schwab as his source.
Although he did not elaborate on this, surely Sefer Tehillim predates Megillat Eichah by centuries.  Several psalms are written in the alef bet order (e.g.
psalm 119).
Can you please clarify?
Thank you & best wishes.
PhilippeHi Philippe
***
TY for your sophisticated Q.
I have also heard that the question of the sequence of samekh and 'ayin is subject to dispute. It seems that there are indications that in Paleo-Hebrew the order is reversed from what we know. It is alleged that chapters 2, 3 and 4 of Eichah (chapter 5 is not alphabetical) reflect the original order. Of course, as you say, ch 1 conforms to the order with which we are family.
You are right that Tehillim predates Eichah, however a critic can claim that the order was redacted to bring it in line with the accepted/preferred sequence. This is particularly true for ch. 119, where each of the 8 vv per letter are their own group, and each set of 8 vv. can easily be repositioned. The question is in Ps. 34 or 145, if the internal logic of the passage sheds light on the correct sequence. In Ps. 34, some claim that the v. starting with the letter peh makes more sense to follow the verse starting with samekh (due to the common appearance of the word ra'). I am not convinced that this argument is compelling.
I will stick with the mesorah, that 'ayin belongs before peh. Best to look before speaking.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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