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Throughout the (morning) prayers a large amount of passages speak about praising and singing to the Lord.

"Shiru lo, zamru lo..."

"Nihalelicha... Bishvachos Uvizimiros..."

"...bo'u lifonov birnana".

Why is there not more singing and music instituted in daily prayer? In the Temple prayers were sung with a full orchestra.

I saw somewhere that said that Rabbi Akiva Eiger said we should not have music during praying because then it's similar to non-jewish ritual praying services.

So we refrain from the very important concept of praising God because other religions also praise their God??

Perhaps, because everyone is busy rushing to work in the morning, there's no time. I that case shouldn't the rabbis have instituted at least once a month a musical gathering to sing praises to God?

  • I'm not sure I understand. There are plenty of minyanim who do sing the tefillos. Usually this is only done on Shabbos and Yom Tov, though, when people aren't in a rush to get to work. Have you never been to a minyan that sings? – ezra Aug 23 at 20:32
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    They did. Hallel on Rosh Chodesh. – Heshy Aug 23 at 20:53
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    I attended a Sephardic shul in Great Neck NY that had tambourines and some other basic percussion instruments laying around so that you could play and sing during Davening. Yes it was a fully orthodox shul. Whatever the Sephardi version of yeshivish is. – mroll Aug 23 at 20:56
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    koltorah.org/halachah/… – Heshy Aug 23 at 21:32
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    Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/52759/170 – msh210 Aug 24 at 19:07
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Some congregations do sing on weekdays, particularly during p'sukei d'zimrah. But the melodies are more "basic" than those used on Shabbat. I once asked a rabbi about the musical differences (why not sing the nicer melodies every day?) and he said it's because we should elevate Shabbat. I can't cite a source for that (the rabbi I asked has moved away), but it's consistent with other things that we do to elevate Shabbat, like wearing our finest clothes and making more elaborate meals.

An additional, practical matter is that, as you said in the question, for weekday morning minyanim, at least some of the attendees have to get to work after. On Shabbat, on the other hand, where else do we have to be?

Note that when we add Hallel on a weekday (Rosh Chodesh, Chol HaMoed, Chanukah), many (most?) congregations do add singing there.

As for musical instruments, the Levites did play instruments during the temple service, and Arakhin 11a and Sukkah 50b record a disagreement about whether the essence of music is the song (from the mouth) or the instruments, with the majority saying the latter. That is, instruments are secondary (and some say they were played by slaves, not Levites), while the song is essential. Since the destruction of the second temple, the rabbis forbade instrumental music in services, both as a sign of mourning for the temple and in response to Hellenistic influences.

  • Did they use musical instruments in the temple on the Sabbath? – larry909 Aug 23 at 23:20
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    I would think we can't have musical instruments because of morning the destruction of the Temple. See Shulchan Aruch OC 560:3. There certainly is what to discuss here (would this be considered a mitzva need), but perhaps this is why instrumental music was not institutionalized. – Mordechai Aug 24 at 19:44
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    @larry909, the Gemara discusses that, Succa 50b. – Mordechai Aug 24 at 19:48
  • Thanks @Mordechai; I've updated this answer. – Monica Cellio Aug 25 at 2:43
  • @MonicaCellio Arachin 11a might be a better source than Sukkah, as it deals with this issue more extensively. – DonielF Aug 25 at 3:16

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