Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is it allowed for a Jew to whistle? If yes, is it even allowed on Shabbos? If no, why not? Has anyone ever heard that if one whistles at night, that it attracts sheidim and mazikin?

And what are the sources for any answer.

share|improve this question
It is Muttar on Shabbos. For more Info see here: dailyhalacharabbimansour.blogspot.com/… (scroll to "Using a Doorknocker, Clapping, Banging and Whistling on Shabbat") – SimchasTorah Apr 9 '10 at 21:08
There is a full answer here (#420): halachafortoday.com/questions-answers/qa9 – SimchasTorah Apr 9 '10 at 21:21
Depends on whether you follow Askanaz or Sefard...So to put it another way, anytime we're asked this question (and many others as well), we should include the comment about the different nusachim. -- Many people forget this issue and just say "yes" or "no" on questions that vary. – Larry K Aug 16 '12 at 14:10
I found an anonymous essay printed in several small newspapers around 1887 which talked about how whistling is simply "the noise which proceeds from a vacant mind." In it the writer makes a seemingly stereotypical observation about Jews: "The whistle shows a vacant mind in its solitary state....Did you ever notice that Jews don't whistle much? They haven't got much vacant mind. When it isn't needed in their own businesses, they rent it to other businesses." – Bruce James Jan 15 '13 at 22:31

It says clearly in Hilchos Shabbos that it is Muttar (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Siman 338:1). I don't know of anybody who argues.

share|improve this answer

There are videos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe encouraging whistling by his farbrengens.

Edited to add some great links from the comments into the answer, as well as other sources:

Here is a picture of the Rebbe's often-used hand motion to signal for whistling.

Lubavitcher Rebbe holding two fingers to his face, to signal whistling

Here is a link to a first-hand account of the Rebbe encouraging someone to sing, along with a picture of the Rebbe giving the signal to whistle.

Here is a link to a video that includes many people whistling while the Rebbe urges them on, but no actual prompting from the Rebbe is shown. (Skip to the middle for the whistling).

share|improve this answer
Please link to these. He is likely the most recorded Jewish figure. – Tzvi Oct 8 '10 at 17:25
Here's one: chabad.org/therebbe/livingtorah/player_cdo/aid/65253/jewish/… (at the farbrengen/Kos Shel Berachah distribution of Motzaei Shabbos following Rosh Hashanah, 3 Tishrei 5748). Also, here's an earlier personal recollection, from Purim 5731/1971: chabad.org/therebbe/article_cdo/aid/1116/jewish/… – Alex Nov 26 '10 at 6:14
here's a translation of the sicha the Rebbe spoke about whistling, as well as background information (read the posts from Jude): chabadtalk.com/forum/showthread.php3?t=3844 – Menachem Nov 7 '11 at 5:50

I had a high-school rebbe (sophisticated in both Jewish and worldly matters, by the way) who was very against whistling at any time, because he had learned from his rebbe (I forget who, unfortunately) that it would attract demons. He would say in Yiddish "Yidden fife nisht," or "Jews don't whistle." I don't remember him distinguishing between night and day.

After he'd told us that, I was once absentmindedly whistling in his presence, and he turned white and asked me to stop.

Sorry, I don't have any sources for you.

share|improve this answer
My brother-in-law, who I'm certain went to no Jewish school other than cheder, seems to have learned this belief from his parents and has quoted me that exact Yiddish expreession. – Bruce James Jan 14 '13 at 22:29
Don't you think the popular European saying 'a yid fife nisht' is the source for the question? – user6591 Jan 30 '15 at 12:11

For Sephardim: Allowed on Shabbat and other days, but not in public.

Source: Daily Halacha by R. Eli Mansour says

The Halachic authorities rule that whistling was not included at all in the decree against producing sounds on Shabbat, and one may thus whistle a tune on Shabbat. We should note that irrespective of the laws of Shabbat, whistling in public, such as while walking in the street, is improper and unbecoming of a Torah Jew. But if at home one wishes to whistle as background to the singing of Pizmonim (hymns) at the Shabbat table, this is certainly acceptable and permissible.

share|improve this answer
You might clarify your first sentence's "in public" the way Rabbi Mansour does ("such as while walking in the street"): after all, he explicitly allows "at the Shabbat table" and doesn't specify no quests are around. – msh210 Aug 16 '12 at 21:54

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.