Follow up to this answer:

The article cited in the answer cites sources that prohibit playing a musical instrument in shul. I assume that this applies only during prayer.

I recall that Shlomo Carlebach would play his guitar during Havdallah. (IIRC, once a person has said Ata Chonantanu, he may perform work.) I am fairly certain that his Havdallah was part of the service itself (I.e., before Aleinu.) Based on this opinion, how was Shlomo Carlebach permitted to do this, or did he go against accepted practice regarding this?

  • As you noted yourself, it is permitted to perform melacha after reciting ata chonantanu. Playing an instrument is a gezeira shema mitaken kli shir. Since the tikkun is not forbidden after reciting ata chonantanu, why would the playing be a problem? Dec 18, 2015 at 4:49
  • The article you cited doesn't mention any clear prohibition except for the organ, and in any event it says that other authorities permitted it. Dec 18, 2015 at 8:10
  • 1
    @SkinnyJ Common practice in Orthodox shul has been not to use any instruments during any service at any time. Rav Carlebach was Orthodox. But, then again, in many ways, he didn't always adhere to "common custom".
    – DanF
    Dec 18, 2015 at 13:49
  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/110600/15256 May 5, 2020 at 15:49

1 Answer 1


Rav Melamed explains here:

לגבי נגינה בכלי שיר בעת התפילה, זהו שינוי שאסור לעשותו בלא הוראה של תלמידי חכמים גדולים. אמנם ההבדלה אינה כגוף התפילה, ומדובר בודאי בפסוקים שלפניה, ולא בעת הברכות עצמם, ולכן אין בזה איסור. - Using instruments suring davening is a forbidden change without the psak of great sages, but havdala isn't part of the essential davening - and the guitar is played during the pesukim, not the berachos themselves - therefore there is no issue.

  • This implies that during the berachos would indeed be an issue. I know this isn’t a part of the original question, but some places do play guitar even during the berachos, but still ensuring that the congregation can hear the berachos over the music. Am I interpreting this source correctly as forbidding this practice?
    – DonielF
    May 5, 2020 at 15:51
  • @DonielF yes, I interpreted Rav Melamed's teshuva the same way. He would seem to be saying playing an instrument during the berachos in shul may indeed be an issue.
    – NJM
    May 5, 2020 at 16:01

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