“Jewish Things”

So this weekend we went to Monsey and I found out that I am doing something very important wrong. We are sitting in the house of a wonderful Spinka Chasidic family. It was our first Shabbos with a Chasidic family, and so far we were fitting in okay (if you ignore the fact that we wore color!!!0.

We took a break from a lively discussion about dating to play a card game with the two middle school girls, and I had a song (“Tov L’Hodos”)  stuck in my head. The husband of the family was upstairs napping, but I still didn’t want to sing. I preceded to whistle quietly  and was immediately stopped by the 13 year old girl. “My mother says not to whistle! It’s a GOYISHE thing!”

Personally, I’m very into whistling. I do it when I’m nervous and, as in this case, when I have a song stuck in my head but can’t sing. I don’t want to do anything “goyishe” but I don’t really know if whistling qualifies as this.

I don’t think whistling is intrinsically Jewish, but neither are turkeys or clocks or pillows. 

What is it that makes whistling goyishe? Is there a problem with doing something that isn’t Jewish by definition? If there is, then why do we shop in non-Jewish stores or buy non-Jewish products? 

Someone please explain…



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3 Responses to ““Jewish Things””

  1. frumpunk Says:

    There isnt an explanation. Its the concept of “putting a fence around the Torah” taken to extremes.

  2. frumalum Says:

    Funny you say that, I asked my rabbi about it again tonight.
    He said it’s not tznius. I then got permission to whistle…
    in my dorm room…

    Oh well.

  3. Avi Says:

    Hmm, good question. When I was in Grade 9 I had just finished a hockey game and was running water through my hair, merrily whistling a tune. The Rosh Yeshiva at the time walked by the open area, stopped, took two steps back, stared, and said ‘a sheigetz feifed.’ (Or something like that; basically meaning ‘a goy whistled.’) I have yet to find a written mekor for whistling being assur, but I think it might fall under chukas hagoyim for some reason. I’ve also heard a couple of times that it’s assur because of kabbalistic reasons- something to do with shedim (demons) or something. According to that idea, on Shabbos whistling wouldn’t be a problem. Again, for a reason I’m not quite sure about. Further research is necessary lol.

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