15

As i say in this Purim Torah answer, we can't use smartphones because "The vaad found out that Siri's not a guy". (From the song Hang Up the Payphone by A.K.A Pella.)

However, that inspired a Siri-ous (groan) question.

According to answers to Are men allowed to listen to women on the radio?, some hold that it is forbidden to listen to women on the radio (and presumably recorded as well), due to the prohibition of "kol isha" (a man hearing a woman's voice).

But what about something like Siri, which is computer-generated female-sounding speech synthesis?

While hearing a woman simply speak is obviously permissible, it is possible to get Siri to sing by telling it "sing to me" (though the only song it knows is If I Only had a Brain, which it "sings" quite tunelessly).

5

The reason we are not allowed to hear woman sing is Because "kol isha airva" (The voice of a woman is nakedness) a womans singing voice is considered a part of her nakedness. It is forbidden to listen to a woman (besides your wife) sing out of fear that it will bring us to think about the woman singing. That's why many hold radio is ok, and Rav Elyashiv had to include "even if he knows the singer" in his heter. The gemara is clear that when one never sees the woman there is no issur.

In this case no singer exists. The voice of Siri can no more be considered "airva", than an iphone with out a cover would be considered naked.

  • 1
    Shaffier welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks for your first answer! If you haven’t done so already, you should take a look at the tour. MY places a lot of emphasis on sources (after all most of us don’t know you personally). Maybe you will be interested by something I wrote to help you understand the site "A beginner’s guide to MY - How is this site different from other Judaism sites” ? I hope you'll look around and find other Q&A of interest and stay learning with us. – mbloch Apr 11 '16 at 14:58
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In the new print of the Yabia Omer 1:siman 6 footnote 9 he writes that Rav Eliyashiv mattired (allowed) one from hearing kol isha from the radio even if the person recognizes the singer,since the voice isn't real rather it is sound waves from the electricity. This opinion is quoted in שו"ת ישיב משה טורצקי pg.14. The footnote also notes the מהרש"ג חלק ג סימן זה אות ב. I believe the Bnei Banim addresses this issue as well.

It must be noted that all would agree that if one would have sinful thoughts because of listening to the music then it would be prohibited entirely.

So if one would listen to SiRi sing which is an electric generated sound and one wouldn't have impure thoughts than it would be mutar. For halacha lmaaseh,ask your own Rabbi

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    "if one would have sinful thoughts because of listening to the music" The same would apply if someone has sinful thoughts from anything, eg. listening to a man tapping his fingers on yellow ceramic soup bowls. – Double AA Feb 29 '16 at 3:25
  • See as well Yabia Omer 9:108:43 – Double AA Feb 29 '16 at 3:25
  • I know ,I am not arguing that point ,just felt I must note that – sam Feb 29 '16 at 3:29
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Considering the reason a man is not allowed to listen to a woman sing is because of hirhurim, If a computer generated voice sounds so much like a woman that it brings you to hirhurim...Asur (because of the hirhurim)

  • Look at the comments on the OP, especially @doubleAA's link. Just because something SOUNDS like a woman doesn't make it assur. Castrattos/falsetto boys were popular substitutes for women singers, historically. You're not really answering the question, which does not include a discussion of hirhurim. Unless you are implying that as the only rubric in halachah? In which case, you're wrong. – Isaac Kotlicky Feb 24 '16 at 13:16

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