Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hilchot Pluralism, Part VII: Musical instruments redux

The other long-delayed HP7.

Previously on Hilchot Pluralism:
Additional prerequisite for this post:
***

I wrote in Part III:

I'm also not going to solve the issue of instruments on Shabbat. A service either uses instruments on Shabbat or it doesn't; I can't think of any other options. Some people attend minyanim like Kol Zimrah, where the leader is playing instruments, even though they personally wouldn't use instruments. But I can see how that wouldn't work for everyone. I suggested a "live and let live" approach in Part II using the example of writing on Shabbat, but I can see how hearing instrumental music as an integral part of the communal prayer that you're participating in would be much more conspicuous and harder to ignore than being in the same room as someone who is writing.


And Desh wrote in the comments to Part I:

Nothing comes to mind right now for a potential Part II. But I hope that some future Part addresses kashrut again, giving an alternate method. Because I really hope that the two-table method hasn't "solved" the kashrut "problem"; something about being "finished" with an aspect of pluralism feels unsettling to me.

In that spirit, I'm going to revisit the question of musical instruments, now that I've learned more about this topic. Of course, no universal elegant solution has presented itself since the publication of Part III; it is still the case that an event either includes the use of musical instruments on Shabbat or it doesn't (and the proposed alternative solutions merely involve finessing the definitions of "musical instruments" and "Shabbat" around the edges, but don't get at the root issue). However, I hope to provide some tools to improve the discourse, and along the way, reach some more general principles about pluralistic communities.

In a recent post about musical instruments on Shabbat, I wrote:

Of course, people may have all sorts of reasons for their practices, including aesthetic preferences, mimetic traditions, logical arguments, and cultural/denominational/communal identities. My goal is not to invalidate those reasons, but to knock them off their “halachic” high horse. The intended result is that when we’re discussing questions about musical instruments on Shabbat — in distinguishing one community from another, or talking about where we will and won’t daven, or determining policies for our pluralistic communities — we’ll have to be explicit about those aesthetic preferences, mimetic traditions, logical arguments, and cultural/denominational/communal identities, rather than simply playing the “I’m halachic and you’re not” get-out-of-jail-free card.
This post is similarly intended to move the pluralistic discourse forward and help us be explicit and honest about the bases for our principles and practices. To this end, I am proposing three useful distinctions that we should heed when we're having these conversations.

Playing Instruments vs. Hearing Instruments

Rabbi Ethan Tucker of Mechon Hadar has posted a document that includes a number of sources on the issue of musical instruments on Shabbat, and shows that halachic objections to musical instruments on Shabbat have historically fallen into two paradigms: shema yetakein (lest one come to fix an instrument) and hashma'at kol (making noise). Now halachic texts are not themselves sources of authority for pluralistic communities whose constituents do not share a metahalachic framework. (Does this mean that the stages of pluralism are meta-metahalachic frameworks?) However, I bring this up because these two paradigms are a useful categorization of the larger set of objections to musical instruments on Shabbat, whether or not they label themselves as "halachic" (a label that isn't so useful anyway in pluralistic communities where it has multiple meanings).

Classically, shema yetakein is the idea that music on Shabbat is problematic because of the possibility that it will lead to fixing an instrument (and whatever this means exactly, it is presumed to be something that is problematic on Shabbat). More generally, we can understand this paradigm as encompassing any objections to musical instruments that are based on playing the instrument: playing an instrument will lead to work or other activities that are unacceptable on Shabbat, or is itself work or otherwise an activity that is unacceptable on Shabbat. These objections are from the point of view of the person playing the instrument.

Hashma'at kol is the idea that Shabbat should be a day free of noise (or certain types of noise). More generally, this paradigm can encompass any objections to musical instruments that are based on hearing the instrument. Even someone who is ok with other types of noise on Shabbat might object to musical instruments, because the experience of hearing musical instruments is different from the experience of hearing other sounds.

Therefore, someone might object to musical instruments on Shabbat based on playing, hearing, both, or neither. ("Neither" means that this someone doesn't object to musical instruments on Shabbat. In this case, s/he doesn't need to give a specific reason for his/her non-objection, since in the absence of a reason otherwise, it is assumed that something permitted on weekdays is also permitted on Shabbat. The exception is if someone explicitly or implicitly accepts one of the reasons against musical instruments on Shabbat, in which case s/he needs a reason for why that reason is overridden.) Before we enter into pluralistic dialogue on this issue, we should each consider for ourselves which of these four categories we fall into.

Let's look at some examples of how this could play out in a pluralistic community.

In community A, everyone in the community objects to playing instruments on Shabbat. In this case, the question of whether musical instruments may be played on Shabbat in this community is a moot point, because no one is going to play them anyway even if the community permits it. As a result, in this singular case (and as we'll see, only in this case), people's views on hearing instruments are also moot, because there's not going to be any music to hear. (We'll set aside the possibility that people from outside the community would be brought in to play music, and assume self-sufficient communities.)

In community B, everyone in the community is ok with playing and hearing instruments on Shabbat. This is simple: in this community, instruments may be played on Shabbat, and there's no problem.

In community C, some people (call them Rachel) play and listen to instruments on Shabbat. Other people (call them Leah) object to playing instruments on Shabbat, but don't have a problem with hearing instruments on Shabbat. In this case, Rachel can play, and Leah can listen (or at least be in the same space), and there's no problem. This reduces to the writing-on-Shabbat example from Part II.

Community D is where things get complicated. Rachel is still around and plays instruments on Shabbat, and there are other people (call them Bilhah) who object to hearing instruments on Shabbat. And thus we have the irreconcilable situation described in Part III. The End. But now let's take a step back from the precipice and note that the variable that makes all the difference between community C (where a Stage-3 pluralistic solution is simple) and community D (where a long-term Stage-3 pluralistic solution is impossible) is constituents' stances on hearing instruments. Stances on playing instruments have no practical effect (except in the singular case of community A): communities B and C (which differ only on this axis) are able to have identical instrument policies.

This is important for communities that are attempting to tinker around the edges to come up with a creative solution. If these communities are looking for a pluralistic solution -- and that doesn't only include communities that identify explicitly as pluralistic, but communities that use any form of pluralism (even Stage 1) in their discourse, such as "We want to accommodate different practices in our community, and therefore we don't have instruments on Shabbat, since this allows everyone to participate", as opposed to non-pluralistic discourse (not that there's anything wrong with that) such as "We want to establish uniform standards of Jewish practice for our community, and therefore we don't have instruments on Shabbat, since we have decided that this is a communal value" -- then the question of whether and under what circumstances it is ok to play instruments on Shabbat is utterly irrelevant. If no one in the community thinks it's ok, then we have community A, where there's no demand for an alternate solution, so the conversation isn't happening in the first place. And if some people in the community think it's ok (as in communities B, C, and D), then this is only relevant to anyone else insofar as they have concerns about hearing instruments, as we said in Part II: "If Shimon's practices are contrary to Reuven's values, Reuven has no basis to prevent Shimon from carrying out Shimon's own practices, except to the extent that this interferes directly with [Reuven's participation in the community]." This is equally true even if we're not looking at instruments as a general class, but looking individually at specific types of instruments or specific circumstances under which instruments are played.

What this means is that any distinctions based in the shema yetakein paradigm -- for example, allowing only non-tunable instruments, or insisting that instruments not be tuned on Shabbat -- have no place in pluralistic discourse. It is to be assumed that whoever is playing an instrument will grapple with these issues on his/her own, or not grapple with them, as s/he sees fit, and it's no one else's business. On the other hand, distinctions based in the hashma'at kol paradigm -- distinguishing among instruments based on what they sound like -- are fair game. For example, there may be a basis for distinguishing between percussion and non-percussion instruments, because the experience of listening to them is clearly different (though if we're talking purely about the hashma'at kol paradigm, then it's not obvious which is more acceptable than the other; this is in the ear of the beholder), or between electric and acoustic instruments. On the other hand, there is no basis for distinguishing between a tunable drum and a non-tunable dumbek, or between a regular guitar and a hypothetical non-tunable guitar (manufactured perhaps by Mechon Zomet), since it's inconceivable that these distinctions make a difference in the experience of the listener.

In short, if Rachel wants to play an instrument, and Bilhah doesn't want the instrument to be played, then it has to be because Bilhah doesn't want to hear it, rather than because Bilhah doesn't want Rachel to play it.

This leads us to a corollary (which is a stronger version of axiom #2 in Part II): living in a pluralistic community necessitates suspending the principle of kol Yisrael areivim zeh lazeh (all Jews are responsible for one another). Instead, you have to take responsibility for yourself, and let other people take responsibility for themselves. If this isn't possible (for a given set of positions on a given issue), then you're not meant to be in a pluralistic community (or a community that is pluralistic on that issue and includes that set of positions), as we have said in Part VI. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Instruments on Shabbat vs. Instruments in Prayer

The question of playing/hearing instruments on Shabbat (which might be in a prayer context or a non-prayer context) is different from the question of playing/hearing instruments in prayer (which might be on Shabbat or on a weekday). These questions are often conflated because prayer on Shabbat is a core activity of many of our communities, but really they're separate. (Though fewer people would object in theory to instruments in weekday prayer than to instruments in Shabbat prayer, it's a question that comes up less because, outside of special events, weekday minyanim are more likely to be hurried and with fewer frills.)

A common set of objections to musical instruments is based on prayer aesthetics. Fine. That's an important conversation to have (and even among those who think that instruments are ok, there are better and worse ways to utilize instruments in prayer), but it should be acknowledged that this isn't a Shabbat issue. If your objection to instruments is based solely on prayer aesthetics, then 1) you shouldn't have a problem with non-prayer use of instruments on Shabbat, 2) to be consistent, you should be equally opposed to instruments in weekday prayer. On the other hand, if you think instruments are ok in weekday prayer and not in Shabbat prayer, then you should look for a reason other than prayer aesthetics to explain your position.

Fundamental Opposition vs. Aesthetic Preference

When we have an open Stage-3 environment, we can be honest about the basis for our personal positions. Are they based on fundamental principles or aesthetic preferences? The answer to this question, which is different for each person and for each issue, can also inform our discourse.

And I'm not saying (as it might appear on the surface) that one is always more important than the other. To be sure, there are cases in which aesthetic preference is less significant. For example, if some people in a community prefer raisin challah and others prefer sesame-seed challah, then there are a whole host of solutions -- have both kinds available every week; alternate every week; decide on one and let everyone else deal with it; compromise on plain challah -- and in the end, it doesn't matter that much. On the other hand, as we showed in Part VI, there are cases in which aesthetic differences are significant enough that they make a pluralistic solution not worthwhile even if one is possible. Indeed, we can all think of cases in which an aesthetic mismatch makes us uninterested in participating in a given community even if there is no principled objection on paper.

Differences in principles and values lend themselves more to the kind of rational analysis that characterizes the Hilchot Pluralism series. Aesthetic differences can defy this kind of analysis, and are both more bridgeable and less bridgeable.

So let's see how this applies to musical instruments.

This situation is asymmetric, because as I said in Part III, no one holds a mandate for musical instruments as a principled position (unless they've been backed into a corner by Stage-1 discourse), though they might have a principled position against a permanent prohibition on musical instruments. In the short term, the pro-instrument position is primarily based on an aesthetic preference, not that there's anything wrong with that.

As for the anti-instrument position, there are some people who won't take part in any event in which musical instruments are used on Shabbat for principled reasons (or if they do, then it's with the understanding that their identity is not represented in that community and they are there as a visitor), and there are some people who have an aesthetic preference against instruments (whether Shabbat aesthetics, prayer aesthetics, or both). For the former group, there is a good chance that we reach the insoluble situation that we started with. For the latter group, there might be more flexibility or there might not. It depends on the specific individuals and the specific community.

For communities in which the presence or absence of musical instruments is an important part of their communal identity, they've chosen not to be Stage-3 pluralistic on this particular issue, so there's nothing to discuss. For individuals whose aesthetic preference for the presence or absence of musical instruments is so strong that it's a dealbreaker, there's also not much to discuss; these individuals will be limited to participating in some communities and not others. May many diverse communities flourish.

Other possibilities arise if the community takes no single stand on the issue, and individuals see instruments vs no instruments as a preference but not a dealbreaker. For example, Tikkun Leil Shabbat alternates each time between instruments and no instruments, and most regular participants go to both styles of services, even if they like one better. This is possible in a specific context in which certain conditions are met, and wouldn't work in other contexts.

The point is that, in Stage-3 discourse, we should be honest about our motives. We shouldn't claim a more extreme position than we actually hold in order to shift the goalposts in our direction. On the flip side, we should also be honest about saying that a given development would make us less interested in participating in something, even if we can't claim a principled reason for it.

Coming in Part VIII: I don't know. Maybe something with an actual concrete solution?

***

All was well.

23 comments:

  1. There is a concept in halakha that one can't benefit from another Jew violating halakha. So if person A believes you can't turn lights on on Shabbat and person B turns on the lights, then person A can't benefit from those lights being on. In this case, that would mean that if person A believes a Jew can't play an instrument on Shabbat, then he can't benefit from person B(another Jew) playing an instrument.

    Maybe person A could play games with what it means to benefit from the music. If he feels that his enjoyment of the service is decreased by the music, then he might be able to justify being there to himself(although he would obviously need some reason for attending in the first place). But at a fundamental level, person A does have a problem with person B playing an instrument, even if his issue is playing and not listening.

    The only possible solution I can come up with would be having a non-Jew according to person A play the instrument. This could either be a universally agreed upon non-Jew who is a member of the community, or someone who has a debated status depending on definitions of who is a Jew. Then as long as everyone who has a problem with playing an instrument on Shabbat agrees that according to their definition the musician is not Jewish, the musician could play the instrument. Of course that ignores the issue of someone wanting to play themselves if they are universally agreed upon as Jewish.

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  2. So we should explore the roots of this concept and determine whether it's compatible in general with Stage-3 pluralism. Any thoughts?

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  3. While I don't disagree with Avi on a halachic level, I've always found the principle he's talking about to be problematic.

    Say I'm a Jew who doesn't turn on and off lights on Shabbat, and I'm living with a non-Jew, and I forget to set the timer on the living room lamp before Shabbat. Then when it gets dark in there, my roommate will turn the light on to benefit himself, and I'm allowed to benefit from that too. Right? But if you replace that roommate with a Jew who has never in his life kept Shabbat, or had a desire to keep Shabbat, then I have to leave the living room after he turns the light on? I don't like the racial aspects of halacha at all, and this is one of them.

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  4. As I understand, there is a difference between, say, staying in the living room to schooze, and staying in the living room to read a book, when the room would have been too dark to read had the Jewish roommate not turned on the light.

    Honestly, I could argue it either way. But I'm being lenient here.

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  5. Rebecca, assuming you're right(I don't know the exact halakha) it would still seem that praying in a minyan that has musical instruments would be similar to reading a book, while eating/shmoozing while someone else in the room is playing an instrument would fall into the schmoozing category.

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  6. Avi, et al--

    The question of benefitting from someone else's violation of Shabbat is discussed in Orah Hayyim 318:1. While I think that the trend of much of what is out there on the topic is in line with what you said, one could make an argument to be lenient in such a case, which would look roughly as follows: 1) there is a debate among rishonim about whether I may benefit from Jews who transgress unintentionally; the Vilna Gaon rules like them (against Shulhan Arukh) and many aharonim are willing to rely on that in certain cases (not clear to me that they would here, but go with me for a moment). The Taz, in another context (YD 99) says that someone who does something that she or he thinks is permitted but is not is considered to be beshogeg. So, one could certainly say that according to the Gra (and the Ashkenazi rishonim whom he follows), this is not so problematic. Again, it's not clear to me that that's where I would want to go, but the language is out there.

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  7. Great post. Some thoughts:

    I'm not sure it's quite accurate to characterize the problem of shema yetakein as from the perspective of the person playing. If I'm recalling correctly, Rav Elisha helpfully characterized the problem as being involved in real work (or in a context/act that could transform easily into real work), that is, shema yitakein ve-ya`avod (or yiskor mishehu le-taken u-la`avod bishvilo). Thus, it is a _communal_ concern for the "no-working" aspect of Shabbat. (As I mentioned in shiur, I don't think this is a hashash rahoq; the temptation to hire a professional musician to lead a musical davening seems pretty clear; and yes, it's bad enough we hire rabbis and cantors and scholars-in-residence -- do we really want to expand the number of people being hired to work on Shabbat?)

    This leads to my fundamental disagreement with your axiom requiring suspension of kol yisrael areivim zeh bazeh. I don't think that this principle has much to do with taking over someone else's individual responsibility (sometimes colloquially referred to as being responsible for their "soul"). Rather, I think it has to do with the need to maintain communal cohesion by ensuring that all individuals who identify as members of that community maintain its standards. This flows from my conviction that "ritual" mitzvot are really ethical mitzvot, usually in their specific content and occasionally, rarely, merely in the sense of ordering our actions. Here, in Shabbat, I think that's explicit based on the aforementioned explanation of shema yetakein. (I think it's also evident regarding the concern of hashma`at kol; namely, that there is an _ethical_ value in communally creating a day on which a quiet aesthetic reigns; I've lived in enough terrible apartment situations in which I've wished noisy neighbors were forced to acknowledge the needs of some of their neighbors to live in relative quiet.)

    "For communities in which the presence or absence of musical instruments is an important part of their communal identity, they've chosen not to be Stage-3 pluralistic on this particular issue, so there's nothing to discuss."

    I admit to not having done hazara on Stage-3 pluralism, so forgive me if this is a klutz kashya, but why does the identification of a particular practice (or absence of practice) as part of communal identity render it beyond the pale of Stage-3 pluralism (on this issue)? Is it because stage-3 pluralism is predicated on the absence of communal identity? If not, then I don't see why something can't be a component of communal identity and _also_ up for discussion when competing needs come into play? (If so, I don't think there can ever be such a thing as a stage-3 "community" in any long-term sense.)

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  8. desh,

    I think the answer to that dilemma is to demythologize the concept of "am yisrael", allow for the fact that communities/cultures really consist of people who buy into a specific set of thick cultural practices (as opposed to simply some loose common ethical/cultural slogans), and conclude that the person in question is actually not Jewish. (I don't yet have good halakhic language for this; I also admit that one may not want to go in this direction, in which case one would either have to buy into some notion of biological Jewishness beyond or admit that Shabbat observances aren't so important to being Jewish, which has consequences of its own in terms of weakening the seriousness/centrality of Shabbat.)

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  9. Anonymous writes:
    The question of benefitting from someone else's violation of Shabbat is discussed in Orah Hayyim 318:1.

    This siman is dealing specifically with cooking, which seems to be in a category of its own (e.g. there's also a problem with putting something in the oven right before Shabbat to let it cook after Shabbat starts, or setting a timer to have something cook on Shabbat), so it's hard to generalize from cooking to (perceived) Shabbat violations in general. Does anyone have a citation for this as a general principle?

    This principle (if it is generalized to everything Shabbat-related, never mind non-Shabbat halachic issues), if carried through to its logical conclusion, seems to make it difficult for people who hold by it to participate in any pluralistic community on Shabbat. E.g., if your friend drives to an event on Shabbat, and you benefit from seeing your friend, do you have to ignore him the whole time?

    And then there are other issues: can you own stock in a company that has Jewish employees working on Shabbat?

    Also, with biological definitions of Jewishness, "who is a Jew" cuts both ways -- someone who you thought was a non-Jew might have a mother's mother's mother's mother who was Jewish.

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  10. BZ,

    The Rema right there on SA OH 318:1 inserts the phrase או שעשה אחת משאר מלאכות right there. Bei'ur Halakha there qualifies it (based on Hayyei Adam) as effecting a change in the object itself, as opposed to simply carrying it. At most one would have be concerned not to get benefit from a friend's pedicure that was done on Shabbat (i.e., a change in the guf of the object due to a melakha de-oraita) but merely talking to someone who arrived via hillul Shabbat would be fine.

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  11. And is there a source for this applying to derabbanan issues as well?

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  12. wolfman writes:
    Thus, it is a _communal_ concern for the "no-working" aspect of Shabbat.

    So how do we deal with communal concerns when the individuals in the community disagree on what the communal concerns should be? It's not an easy question, and it's one that Stage-3 pluralism has to take into account, since individuals' identities include the types of communities that they want to be part of.

    Rather, I think it has to do with the need to maintain communal cohesion by ensuring that all individuals who identify as members of that community maintain its standards.

    In that case, it doesn't sound like we're disagreeing in practice (only in language), because your understanding would suggest that, in a given community, kol yisrael areivim applies only to issues on which a given community has standards, which I think is equivalent to what I said (except I phrased it in reverse, saying that the principle is suspended in regard to issues about which the community is pluralistic).

    I've lived in enough terrible apartment situations in which I've wished noisy neighbors were forced to acknowledge the needs of some of their neighbors to live in relative quiet.

    Having lived on the Upper West Side, plenty of my "noisy neighbor" situations have involved large gatherings of Jews on Friday night. :)

    And I think taking other people's needs into account shouldn't be a Shabbat issue, it should be 7 days a week.

    why does the identification of a particular practice (or absence of practice) as part of communal identity render it beyond the pale of Stage-3 pluralism (on this issue)? Is it because stage-3 pluralism is predicated on the absence of communal identity?

    I think that if a community chooses to be Stage-3 pluralistic on a particular issue (encompassing a particular range or set of positions), then it has to avoid setting one position (within that set) as a communal standard.

    (If so, I don't think there can ever be such a thing as a stage-3 "community" in any long-term sense.)

    I agree that it's not possible to be Stage-3 pluralistic on every issue, or to have Stage-3 pluralism on a given issue encompass every possible position. Part VI is devoted in part to demonstrating this. And we probably agree that there exists some set of issues for which a long-term Stage-3 solution is possible (given a sufficiently limited set of positions), even if these issues are trivial ones. So if we disagree, it's just on where the line is.

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  13. MB S"K 3 there quotes the Gr"a that regarding derabbanans be-shogeg people can benefit on Shabbat*. It's not clear from the MB if he intends the violator to be included in this; it'd be useful to check the Gr"a inside, as well as the first Bei'ur Halakha on the siman which looks to have some useful info as well. That's left as an exercise to the reader. ;-)

    * Presumably to mean: but _not_ bemezid, which would make sense since shogeg is a mistake but mezid is an act of rebellion, and acts of rebellion against derabanans can be even worse than against de-oraitas.

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  14. "So how do we deal with communal concerns when the individuals in the community disagree on what the communal concerns should be?"

    At that point it sounds like this _isn't_ a community in the fullest sense, but rather a group of individuals (presumably with their own communal identities from which they in part derive their notions of what a communal concern should be) coming together for some sort of transient group experience. (This, BTW, underlies my essential critique of the whole indy minyan scene -- that it _doesn't_ take responsibility for addressing the full range of human needs that are usually (or "classically" or whatever) addressed in such environments.)

    To your point about kol yisrael areivim -- you are absolutely correct that we were saying the same thing just from opposite perspectives, thank you.

    "And I think taking other people's needs into account shouldn't be a Shabbat issue, it should be 7 days a week."

    Absolutely, but here I think is a great example where Haza"l looked around, thought, "hmm, where can we most ably insert an appreciation of the needs of people who desire a quiet aesthetic" and then found Shabbat the appropriate area of halakha to insert that. (This fits the dual frameworks provided by Shabbat: some aspects of Shabbat are me`ein `olam haba' in the sense of "better a person never need work against his/her will, even for monetary compensation, but that's the way an unredeemed world works" and others are about taking a break from the normal routine, even when the normal routine itself isn't necessarily bad.)

    I think, as you pointed out, that we agree on the rest; I'll take another gander at it tomorrow after getting some rest myself.

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  15. I should point out that the Hilchot Pluralism series never actually claims that pluralism is desirable. (That's a job for Aggadot Pluralism. Any volunteers to write it?) The approach is just "if you're going to do it, here's how".

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  16. (This, BTW, underlies my essential critique of the whole indy minyan scene -- that it _doesn't_ take responsibility for addressing the full range of human needs that are usually (or "classically" or whatever) addressed in such environments.)

    If this conversation picks up, it might have to move to a separate thread, but here goes:

    I think these minyanim can't be evaluated outside of their cultural context. If we're looking at minyanim populated primarily by urban 20somethings, I would claim that the minyanim meet these human needs more effectively than they are met for the average urban 20something who isn't involved in an independent minyan. For better or for worse, it's a Bowling Alone demographic. And if we look at independent Jewish communities populated primarily by other demographics, they do end up taking responsibility for a different set of needs.

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  17. Ok, time for the theory to hit the road. Here at Moishe/Kavod house we have opted for a riff on the TLS model. That is, the community policy on instruments is that if they are to be used, that will be announced prior to shabbat in the community email. Like TLS most folks would show up either way, but some would choose to absent themselves when they know ahead of time there will be instruments. Presumably there may be some who would be more likely to come when we advertise instruments, but I don't know of any.

    Unlike TLS, we don't rotate aesthetics, we allow the service leader to pick based on his/her/hir preference. The interesting thing is that in practice because there is a burden to notify the community in advance when instruments will be used, they are rarely used. So, we have set up a system that allows for temporal pluralism (that is, within the one community different practices are operational at different times, and individuals can choose their attendance based on those practices if they choose), but the system functionally limits the use of instruments so severely that they are rarely used.

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  18. MB S"K 3 there quotes the Gr"a that regarding derabbanans be-shogeg people can benefit on Shabbat

    Very interesting point which i forgot... if others are allowed to benefit from derabbanan violations that are done beshogeig, and those who hold that musical instruments are halakhically forbidden consider someone who plays instruments to be either tinoq shenishba or omeir mutar, which would fall under the non-bemeizid rubrik, then maybe it could work.

    Of course, the issue of putting yourself lekhatehhila in such a davening situation may be different than the issue of eating food which was improperly re-heated by someone else on Shabbat...

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  19. Joe-
    Interesting. So is the reason that instruments are rarely used really because it's so inconvenient to inform the community in advance (or because they don't think about it far enough ahead of time), or because the number of service leaders in the community who know how or want to lead with instruments is small, or because of (real or perceived) social pressure to avoid doing something that will be seen as limiting who can participate?

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  20. On the contrary, I think pluralism exemplefies "kol yisrael areivim zeh lazeh" because we're taking on the responsibility of making sure that everyone's identity is included.

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