For anyone who missed the public outcry last week about the Israeli youth group Bnei Akiva’s new single-sex policy on their yearly singing contest — I know, pretty much everyone in the universe — catch up, read the article, and come back.
Now, the good news is spreading through the land like the sound of — well, like the sound of women’s voices. “Restrictions can be eased on listening to a woman singing when there is a clear assessment of innocent listening to innocent song,” Rabbi David Bigman is quoted as saying on YNet, explaining a statement in the Talmud (or overturning it, depending on your position) that says “The voice of a woman is Ervah [lit. nudity], as the verse [in Song of Songs 2:14] states ‘let me hear your voice because your voice is pleasant and appearance attractive.'”
Rashi, in his commentary on the situation, says that a woman’s voice is inherently attractive to a man, and, therefore, he shouldn’t listen to them. A plethora of alternate readings follow, which you can read about if you want…although I’d recommend checking out the ever-reliable Stereo Sinai, who sum up the arguments well, and who first pointed out this article. They make the coolest band bumper stickers EVER. Buy one now.