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I am aware that the minhag is often to abstain from going to the cinema, but does this have any halakhic basis. If so, does the prohibition extend to other video forms

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    Note that not everyone holds that there's a problem with movies during Sefira. – DonielF Apr 30 at 0:33
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    @DonielF note that some have problems with going to the movies year round ;) – TrustMeI'mARabbi Apr 30 at 2:57
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    AFAIK, this is a "split problem". There is a common minhag to avoid listening to music during Sefira. Different opinions abound as to what "type" of music is allowed, but, many youtube videos are music videos, so that would tend to be prohibited. Non-music videos are OK (barring tzniut and language. etc. problems, of course.) Same concept would apply to TV. (But, seriously ... you still use a TV set??? Everything is streamed, now.) – DanF Apr 30 at 16:34
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According to this dinonline.org article, there is no prohibition at all to attend the movie theater during the Omer even if there is background music as part of the movie. There are many people who are stringent, though and don't attend movies during the Omer, and numerous that never attend a movie theater at all. (I'm one of them, but it's not b/c of stringency. I just hate oily popcorn odors :-)

The dinonline article has a link to a more extensive PDF that explains the source of the music abstention minhag and explains the various lenient and stringent opinions.

In brief, though, if you follow dinonline's leniency, then it negates your assumption and, hence its extension. If you can watch movies in the cinema, then you can watch it privately, assuming that the video has just background music and is not a music video - based on the analogy. However, you should read the PDF, as it has a separate discussion about whether you may listen to non-live music.

  • Very interesting. Can you please summarize the argumentation between music and music theater? – kouty Apr 30 at 18:19

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