Q. B”H Shalom, Dear Rabbi,
Would it be ok to use the tune of the American national hymn (or the Canadian) for davening, such as Lechah Dodi or any other part of davening? (Perhaps as Hakarat hatov, close to Independence day. Albeit it is an exile, Jews are welcomed to worship Hashem!)
Is there a guiding rule with regards to using tunes in davening?
A. Horav Shlomo Miller’s Shlit’a opinion is that although our sages encouraged us to pray for the peace of the land (Pirkei Avos 3: 2) and many shuls recite a special tefila on behalf of the national government, singing the national anthem as part of the liturgy may be incorrect and out of place. Some may even consider this irreverent and disrespectful, and should be avoided.
In principle the tunes singed in shul, should echo holiness, respect and devotion. True, some of the nigunim and tunes we often sing, may have had their origin in not a totally kosher background, and were then incorporated and given kedusha and holiness, still common sense and good judgment are imperative in not turning the service into a humorous and undesired comedy.
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as revised by Horav Shlomo Miller Shlit’a