I know listening to a woman sing when she is married or a niddah in person is for sure asur. I know Rabbi Moshe Feinstein says (O.C. vol 1, S 26) that in a theoretical case where she is unmarried and not a niddah it not asur (except of course for sensuous songs). I also know most contemporary opinions say that listening to a recording of a woman who is asur to listen to (the married or niddah woman) is also asur if the listener knows what she looks like (and some opinions also say that it is asur even if the listener doesn't know what she looks like, but I am not asking about those).

However, I am confused about why it would be asur in the last case. The sound waves themselves aren't asur, because the same woman could sing the same song whether or not she is the theoretical unmarried non-niddah and produce the same spectrum sample when put through a digital audio converter or etched into a recording. (Or the memory of a parrot.)

So, consider the fairly absurd example of my question of the parrot. An African Gray can mimic a voice with amazing precision. It could imitate a woman singing. Is it asur to listen to a parrot that is imitating a forbidden woman singing? Are there any actual opinions one way or the other about such a case?

So is it asur to listen to something that can simply be associated with a forbidden woman? If so, then it should be asur to listen to the parrot and it should be asur to listen to a recording. If not and if it's only asur to hear what is directly coming out of the mouth of a forbidden woman, how could an MP3 player, which itself is certainly not a married niddah woman, be forbidden to listen to? If it's mutar to listen to the parrot and asur to listen to the MP3, what is the distinction if both cases are nothing more than disembodied reproductions of another's voice?

  • 1
    FYI, many hold that non-erotic songs are fine regardless. Mar 18, 2013 at 1:15
  • 3
    And I think others hold that recordings are fine. Mar 18, 2013 at 1:42
  • 1
    this is similar to a question of if a wig looks like real hair, is it a problem
    – Menachem
    Mar 18, 2013 at 3:59
  • "En HaYeser Sholet Ela BeMashe Enaw Ro'ot (Sotah 8)" and this Hacham Ovadia Shalit"a source (see Halichot Olam vol. 1 pg. 124) that if you don't personally know the woman singing than recorded music of a woman does not include the Isur of Kol BaIsha Erwa. Mar 19, 2013 at 4:09
  • @Menachem Yes, and the question of if an animal cracker looks like an elephant
    – SAH
    Mar 19, 2013 at 12:19

1 Answer 1


There is a discussion in a similar question, listening to a woman's voice through the radio or a record. There is a Machloket:

Shut Ma'archey Lev (Tsirlson, Orach Haim, 5), Or Latsion(b6:13), Ase Lecha Rav (a28), and Yabia Omer 6a wrote that it is OK if you don't know the singer and never saw her.

Tsits Eliezer 5b wrote it is allowed since the voice is not actually a voice of woman. According to that, it is allowed even to those who know the singer.

Shut Pri Hasade (c32), Chelkat Ya'akov (Orach Haim 163), Avney Yashpe (2e) and Az Nidberu (6, 69, 8) wrote it is asur, since it cause to Hirhur - thinking about sexual things - not less than the voice of the woman itself.

Brought from: here

P.S: I saw in comments a question about little boy heard like a girl - I don't know any isur or even someone saying that it's isur.


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