Monday, July 04, 2011
Going too far?
But I want to tell you about a CD I saw in a chasidishe home over the weekend.
I wish I took a picture of the CD, and I may yet. But in the meantime, take my word for it.
It's a CD of 'Shmiras Halashon' -- that's guarding against forbidden speech -- lessons. It poses everyday scenarios with various tips and ideas about avoiding gossip. It intersperses these lessons with songs.
Sounds pretty good, right? Teaching kids to speak carefully and avoid 'lashon hara,' what could be bad, right? So here's the text that was printed on the CD label:
Spoken-word scripts recorded by girls aged 7-11.
Songs sung by boys' choir. (recorded separately)
Where to begin? Where to start? How many wrong things can you count in this small disclaimer on a CD?
1. Obviously, this CD is for girls only. It features girls' speaking voices. However, even girls can't be allowed to hear girls singing. Perhaps that's because a male may walk by inadvertently and hear a snippet of the CD, destroying his entire spiritual universe in one moment of aural weakness.
2. Because this may happen, we need to know the ages of the girls whose voices appear on the CD. At the time of the recording, they were 7-11. Well, that may be less of a problem than hearing the speaking voice of a girl older than age 12. Maybe the male's spiritual universe is only damaged, not destroyed. Then again, they were only that age when the CD was recorded. They may be older now! And *poof*, we've lost another precious Jewish soul to the depravity of the media.
3. The purveyors of the CD have to tell us that these two segments were recorded separately. G0d forbid we should think for a moment that boys and girls (under age 11) were in the same studio at the same time. If they were, or even if there were a shadow of a doubt, the entire CD would be discredited and would require immediate disposal, preferably by burning.
4. What can we conclude?
- If a male hears the voice of a female speaking on a recording, halacha requires him to know her age. Presumably, there's a difference between the speaking voice of a 7-year-old, a 10-year-old, and a 13-year-old that necessitates this obligation.
- The very fact that the voices of boys and girls appear on the same CD is enough to require disclaimers.
- Girls aren't allowed to hear girls sing.
- Female children are not allowed to be in proximity to male children.
I know when it will stop. When women and girls are silenced, always and forever. Let's get it over with already.