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    Music on Shabbat – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Why can’t I play the piano on Shabbat? Didn’t they use instruments in the Temple on Shabbat?

    Franz Liszt pianoA. When the Temple was destroyed it was felt that no Jew could ever be completely happy again, and banning instrumental music on Shabbat was instituted as a mark of mourning.

    In addition the sages decreed that instruments should not be used because the instruments could well need repairs or tuning on Shabbat (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayyim 338).

    Even if a non-Jew plays the instrument for us it is regarded as a violation of the spirit of Shabbat rest and of the undertaking of our ancestors to remember the Temple at all times.

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