I heard an argument that kol isha is a man's mitzvah, not a woman's; the Gemara is clear that the man may not listen, not that the woman may not sing. Therefore, a woman may sing wherever she likes and does not violate any probition.

This seems a tad ridiculous to me (it puts a stumbling block in front of a man if nothing else), and there is no custom I am familiar with that permits it (yekkes singing zemiros does not count; this is a disagreement of the extent of kol isha, not a disagreement about whether a woman is bound by it at all). However, most of the sources I am familiar with only discuss the prohibition of listening, not the prohibition of singing.

Are there poskim who have ruled specifically on the question of whether a woman singing rather than a man listening is assur? I would assume so, but I am not familiar enough with the sources to be sure. Is this argument correct, and I'm simply mistaken?

  • 1
    Where is the Gemara clear that a man may not listen to a woman sing?
    – Alex
    Aug 31, 2021 at 23:18
  • I agree it's ridiculous judaism.stackexchange.com/a/108309/759
    – Double AA
    Aug 31, 2021 at 23:25
  • In any event, see at length in Benei Banim 3:26 about this sort of argument. It's less crazy than most probably give it credit for.
    – Double AA
    Aug 31, 2021 at 23:33
  • Fundamental q. would seem to be what (or if) the issurim around exposing erva are - so relevant to a lot more than just kol isha
    – AKA
    Sep 1, 2021 at 17:01

1 Answer 1


Responsa Be’er Sheva, Be’er Mayim Chayim 3

It is fitting and proper for every upright, God-fearing woman … not to make her singing voice heard with Shabbat zemirot, or in any way at any time as long as a man to whom she is erva is sitting at the table with her. Only her lips should move, and her voice should not be heard one bit. For even if she is extremely pious and modest and her intentions are acceptable to Heaven, it is still a mitzva that brings about a serious transgression because perhaps the man who hears her voice will have improper thoughts…. And she must be careful that people not stumble because of her…



For a full discussion of the topic

  • Implication being that it's mutar meikar hadin, just a chashash "perhaps" hurhurm would emerge
    – AKA
    Sep 2, 2021 at 9:58

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