I was told that one should not sing the tunes used for davening on the Yamim Nora'im during the year (the exception being during the month of Elul, in order to prepare for the High Holidays), because when one does sing them, the Books of Judgement are opened "upstairs".

Is there any source for this?

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  • No idea. But they did sing Yamim Noraim melodies by the Lubavitcher Rebbe's farbrengens. – Shmuel Brin May 22 '17 at 5:17
  • There's a Chabad tune only allowed (by Chabadnikim) to be sung on Yom Kippur and at weddings (something like that). Perhaps you're thinking of that. – Double AA May 22 '17 at 15:22
  • I remember hearing this from Rav Hutner zt'l, but don't have a source as of now. – Earl May 22 '17 at 17:20
  • @DoubleAA You're thinking of Arba Bavos? It's not (publicly) sung on Yom Kippur – Shmuel Brin May 22 '17 at 18:21
  • 3
    hebrewbooks.org/… – Gershon Gold May 22 '17 at 18:36

The same question was asked in this Otzar Hachochma forum, so I draw on their knowledge. Here are some highlights:

Hogeh Umeayein (and Gershon Gold in the comments above) noted Shu"t Az Nidberu 14:21, where he is asked this same question, and answers that he doesn't know of a source, but that it makes sense that such a thing would be true.

Yisrael Har Kesef notes that there are many other practices which may bring the Midas Hadin down, yet, he quotes a personal conversation with Rav Shlomo Fisher that "רק מי שיש לו שייכות לנסתרות צריך להיזהר מדברים אלו".

Ish Sefer quotes Rav Yuda Schenfeld saying that it has been told over in the name of the Chida, however, he couldn't find a written source for it.

Hatzev"i quotes Harav Shneur, who says there is no source for this.

Oreach Neta brings from Minhag Yisrael Torah that one should not sing such tunes from Chanukah until Tamuz (which would exclude more than just Elul):

בספר מנהג ישראל תורה [סי' תריט אות ז] הביא מספר מנהגי מהריי"ו [סוליצא] אות תשנא הכותב שאין לנגן את ניגוני הימים נוראים מחנוכה שהוא גמר הדין ועד תמוז שזמני התשובה מבצבצים

Hi Sichasi quoted the question as posed to Rav Chaim Kanievsky, as well as his answer that it can be found in books of Chassidim:

הגר"ח קנייבסקי שליט"א

שאלה: האם יש טעם ומקור למנהג להחמיר שלא לנגן את מנגינות הימים הנוראים בשאר ימות השנה כי זה גורם למדת הדין

תשובה: בספרי חסידים

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  • And where is ספרי חסידים? – Dr. Shmuel Apr 17 '18 at 18:33
  • nowhere that I know of. To me the two sources are "no source" or the Minhag Yisrael Torah – רבות מחשבות Apr 17 '18 at 18:40

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