ShirHaLev.Com – Free Jewish Songs and Jewish Music was created to help Jews learn songs and therefore help increase their enjoyment of Shabbos, holidays and many other occasions.

There’s lots of material there. And it’s all free.

You can even submit your own songs following these guidelines:

The recordings should be 1 male singing, no instruments, not too fast and clearly and accurately pronounced. Once received, we will go through them and decide to put them up or not.

Definitely worth checking out.

19 comments on “ShirHaLev.Com – Free Jewish Songs and Jewish Music

  1. In our previous gilgulim we were always getting into arguments. Now, we have pure harmony.

  2. PMFJI. I’m going to put in my $0.02 and stick up for Jeff’s side of the debate, since my own personal experiences apparently mirror his, at least to some extent.

    My sons typically are not willing to join me in singing Shabbos zemiros, although my teenage daughters sometimes will. Sometimes, I can shush my family members to the point that I can hear myself say over a 30-second vert’l, and sometimes I can’t.

    You want supporting proof from divrei Chazal? How about “B’ikvos meshicha chutzpa yisga. . . . Oyvei ish anshai baiso.” (Sotah 49b) (In the final days before Moshiach arrives, disrespectfullness will increase. . . . A man’s enemies will be his own family members.)

    I presume that Jeff was also trying to point out that even though it’s cetainly unfortunate and unpleasant, the mitzius is that the Shabbos se’udah does not always run the way we would like it to.

    I have found that occasionally, I can get people to sing along if I open a bencher to the relevant page and point to the place. But, I have never had any luck getting my children to initiate zemiros themselves, even though they have heard the niggunim I sing plenty of times.

    But, I don’t feel bitter about the situation. My children each have their own ma’alos, in their own areas of specialization. And I encourage them to improve in the areas where they are willing to be cooperative.

    Furthermore — I intend no disrespect here, so no one should take offense — it could be that families (like Nathan’s?) that operate harmoniously and respectfully at their Shabbos table were not doing so in their previous gilgul, and that is their tikkun now. Conversely, those families which operate disharmoniously (like Jeff’s?) may have been doing everything right in their previous gilgul, and now their mission is to be m’saken something else.

  3. Don’t forget that the idea of zemiros is to make us happy as befits the holy Shabbos. The dynamics of each family and each meal are different, so the idea of having one model (such as total order, or a total free-for-all) is simplistic. Maybe what it takes to get more zemiros into use is a wider variety of good tunes, which is where the tunes discussed in the article (remember them?) come in. Kids can also suggest tunes they heard in school.

  4. Wow! Let’s all tone it down a bit. I can’t hear the songs.

    Seriously, let’s try to treat one another politely. There are plenty of places on the Net where commentors can rip each other. We’d like to think that this isn’t one of them.

  5. If I might chime in, I agree that it is very possible to take random halachic / aggadic statements and apply it to one’s own point of view, then claiming that it is the only point of view.

    Nathan, your attitude towards Shabbos table decorum seems to be akin to your attitude towards shul decorum. But different approaches work for different people, Baruch Hashem.

    To give one example of a halachic source, see the Aruch Hashulchan on the halachot of a meal, in Orach Chaim 170, seif 1. He writes that one should ideally not be talking AT ALL during the meal, certainly not during a course but not even between courses, even words of Torah. The words of Torah which seem to be obligatory based on Pirkei Avot can be fulfilled according to him with a dvar Torah after Hamotzi, when the meal has not yet started. However, that is not required. Rather, al naharot bavel on weekdays and shir hamaalot on Shabbat and Yom Tov suffices to fulfill this requirement. If you can give over words of Torah, mah tov, but it is not necessary. So the Aruch Hashulchan would hold that all these zmirot and divrei Torah scattered through the meal are not only not necessary, but halachically problematic.

    (Of course, don’t act on a “pesak” tossed out in a comment thread.)

    My point is that not everyone needs to fit into the same mold, and there is room for balancing this ideal of decorum with the actual needs of the guests. The Chofetz Chaim, no halachic lightweight, would push off Shalom Aleichem until after the guests had already eaten, if he saw they were very hungry. He noted that the malachim were angels and were not hungry and thus could wait, but his guests were human and were hungry. He did not insist on a specific decorum and seder to the detriment of his guests.

    One thing that it takes a while for some people to develop is the intuition that not everything is equally critical, and not everything is so black-and-white. Exactly what should be optimized at the expense of what is a good question, but personally, I do not believe that rigidity and decorum should always be optimized at the expense of people and their feelings. (In fact, my own inclination is to optimize in the opposite direction.)

    Kol Tuv,
    Josh Waxman

  6. Dear Jeff,

    I challenge you to produce accurately-sourced quotes from Sifrei Kodesh and commentaries to support your point of view.

    I already did that for my point of view, now it is your turn.


  7. Jeff?

    Can you try to debate without put-downs?

    Don’t you think that’s a prerequisite for any Torah-based discussion?

  8. Sorry, not impressed by quotes aggadata without any commentary supporting your simplistic, face-value interpretations. Chazzal deserver better than that. You’re better off sticking to the derech eretz argument.

  9. In my previous message, I forgot to mention:

    If the people who interfere with the zemer by speaking loudly are the children of the person attempting to sing the zemer, then they are also violating Kibud Av VeEm [the mitzvah of honoring parents], in addition to violating Derech Eretz.


    Most of the time, a zemer or Devar Torah is 2 or 3 minutes long, or less. Is it really too difficult to remain silent for 2 minutes? Is that so oppressive that it will ruin your Shabbat meal?

    Derech Eretz is especially important at the Shabbat table, because of its holiness, as seen in these quotes from authentic Torah sources:

    Babylonian Talmud, tractate Shabbat, page 118A:
    Whoever observes the three Shabbat meals properly will be spared from three tribulations: the sufferings of the pre-Messianic era, the punishment of Gehinom [Hell], and the War of Gog and Magog.

    Mishnah, tractae Avot, chapter 3, paragraph 4:
    Rabbi Shimon taught: If three [Jews] eat at the same table and have not spoken words of Torah, they are considered as if they offered sacrifices to dead idols…
    But if three [Jews] eat at the same table and speak words of Torah, they are considered as if they ate from the table of G_d…

  10. BTW there are beautiful CDs of chassidic shabbos zemiros called L’chaim Tish. The first one, for friday night zemiros, was a smashing success and prompted one for the lunch meal zemiros and I think a third one too.

  11. Jeff, your condenscending comment to Nathan and the singular beauty of shabbos zemiros was totaly uncalled for.

    “But back to reality” — Whose?

    “a successful Shabbos for most of us does not match your Norman Rockwellian ideal” – Who gave you the authority to speak for most of us?

    “nor should it.” – We SHOULDN’T strive for the ideal?

  12. Nathan, based on your post, I’m guessing that your Shabbos experiences are limited to those in the role of guest, and further, I’d venture to say that those times you remember were with a handful of exceptional families on a high enough spritual level — and having the physical resources in terms of time and money — to make your “experience” a memorable “event”. But back to reality — a successful Shabbos for most of us does not match your Norman Rockwellian ideal, nor should it. Everyone’s oneg Shabbos is different, but rarely does oneg include holding guests/children hostage while awkwardly forcing words of Torah into the air, either through song or speech. In the future, make sure you have some practical experience before giving advice.

  13. Wow! I always thought everyone not singing the zemer was supposed to carry on an animated conversation, as if the zemer was on some other planet.

  14. My experiences as a Shabbat guest suggest to me that those families who are on a high spiritual level usually sing at least 1 or 2 zemiros at every Shabbat meal.

    And those who do not, it is usually because they have guests who are not able to sing or would not appreciate the songs. For example, recent female Baalot Teshuvah who would not appreciate songs they are not allowed to participate in.

    When the father of the family sings a zemer, it is correct Derech Eretz for all the sons, son-in-laws, grandsons and male guests to sing along with the Baal HaBayit (male head of the family). If they do not know the zemer by heart, then they should find a bencher to help them sing along.

    If they do not want to sing along, then they should remain silent while the father is singing his zemer.

    If it is not possible for them to remain silent while the father sings, then they should speak to each other in low voices or speak to each other away from the Shabbat Table to avoid ruining the zemer of the father.

    Worst of all are those who sit at the Shabbat table and speak to each other loudly while the father is trying to sing a zemer. These people display inferior Derech Eretz and a lack of common sense and basic sensitivity to others.

    Every Shabbat meal should be accompanied by words of Torah at the Shabbat table. Contrary to what many people believe, words of Torah at the Shabbat table do not have to be recited by heart or original or in Hebrew.

    Reading directly from LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR or GATEWAY TO HAPPINESS, both by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, are both perfectly valid words of Torah for the Shabbat table.

    Shevet Mussar, Chapter 20, paragraph 38 implies that reciting a Devar Torah from a book is better than reciting a memorized Devar Torah.

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