Question:

Shalom. A non-Jew enters a Shul on Shabbos, Yom Tov, etc… and begins to photograph or take video of our Davening for a legitimate purpose (Documentary, Research, etc…). Is this permitted? What if it happens inside a person’s house (i.e, Shabbos meal, etc..,)? Thank you.

Answer:

From a strictly halachic angle, technically if we do not instruct or encourage the non-Jew’s doing this, and he is doing this on his own, for his own purposes- that is his business, and we are not transgressing anything by the fact that he took a picture of us on shabbos. However we should not pose, wave or otherwise assist him in his taking the pictures. Aside from this, it also has to be clear to all, that he is doing this on his own, and not because we asked him to do this. However nevertheless it should still not be done because it is extremely disturbing to the people davening, and it will instantly change the ambiance from being a shul and a place that we are concentrating on davening to H-shem , into a photo studio. Aside from the fact that it is harming the shabbos ambiance. Aside from this the poskim say that it will end being misinterpreted by many that it is permitted to take pictures and watch television on shabbos. This actually happened in South America, that a shul allowed a television photographer to video the davening, and after people accused the rabbi of being hypocritical, that he doesn’t allow people to view television on shabbos but when it serves his purposes all of a sudden it is permitted.

Even at home it should not be allowed, because it is degrades the ambiance of shabbos, and because it will be very had for someone not to pose, or otherwise assist in the success of the video.

 

Sources:

Minchas Asher 2-46, Poskim.

Tags: Gentile on Shabbos Shabbos

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