I feel quite sad for a dearly loved friend I've got back in touch. Years ago, he once was a professional solo composer and lyricist at the time of his teshuvah. We lost touch. When we reconnected again, not only he has been married for 3 years, but he cut out all musicianship from the day of his wedding. He doesn't keep a piano even to play on occasion for his wife, and doesn't want to critique or hear any G‑dly Jewish music compositions I'd create.

He supplanted his musical soul for continuous 6-day studies; prayers round-the-clock, 3-day seders and little sleep, and little possibility for me to visit him and his new wife. He says that he doesn't have a musical soul anymore; doesn't miss it; is quite happy with his spiritual walk and it'd take a lifetime before we could ever share a moment of musicianship (like piano and violin duet) or create a joint religious composition. He doesn't see that instrumental music can be used for spiritual uses.

I feel cut off from my friend on a deep level, and a bit disturbed. Is this normal??? If to undergo teshuvah (as I've been this year) means to cut out musical abilities, then I don't want to become a spiritually observant Jew!


It's not right, it's not good, but I wouldn't worry so much—he'll get past it.

The proper path is to serve G_d with all the talents He has given you. He gave you precious stones so that you will polish them and create fine jewelry for Him out of His world that He made. This gives Him the greatest of all pleasures, and it is the purpose for which He sent us here.

But perhaps your friend needs a hiatus in which to transform. He sounds like a very intense person—typical for good musicians. So he's just going to an extreme, to be tempered later. When he returns to his music, it will be all the more divine and spiritual.

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman