To Donate Click Here

Recording a Shabbos Broadcast

I’m taking place in an interfaith (radio) panel discussion on our national public broadcaster in a couple of weeks. This station has a very wide listenership, in fact the biggest in the country.

The slot is being recorded in their studio on a Thursday morning, but is broadcast on Friday night — a couple of hours after Shabbat.

There is no indication on the broadcast that the discussion is not live.

Does this raise a problem of marit ayin, and if so, do I need to specifically allude to the fact somehow that the show is in fact being recorded on a Thursday?

Answer:

In Israel, it would be forbidden (as ruled by the majority of poskim) to participate in such a broadcast arrangement. The entire concept of broadcasting in Israel on Shabbos is wrong, and therefore it would be wrong to be part of it in any way. In addition, the people working for the radio on Shabbos are Jews, and therefore participation in the violation of the Shabbos is problematic.

Outside Israel, it is in essence fine to be part of this broadcasting arrangement (at least for radio broadcasts; for TV there might be additional considerations).

However, as you note, participation raises an issue of maris ayis: It is possible that non-religious Jews will be listening, and your participation will give the impression that it is permitted to take part in radio broadcasts on Shabbos.

Therefore, you or the broadcaster should mention, at the beginning and at the end of the broadcast that the discussion was recorded before Shabbos, because it is forbidden for Jews to participate in the recording on the Sabbath day of rest.

This will alleviate the concern of maris ayin.

Sources:

For Israel, see Techumin 17 (5757), pp. 13-14, in the name of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach.

See also the halachic rulings cited in a pioneering case in the Israeli Supreme Court of an Israeli TV station that decided to screen a documentary filmed with observant boys on Shabbos (the boys were not aware that the screening was scheduled for Shabbos): BGZ 1514/01 Yaakov Gur Aryeh v. Reshut Ha-Shidur Ha-Shniyah Le-Televiziah, P.D. 55(4) 267-288.

In general, the concerns raised for Israel do not apply for outside Israel. Nonetheless, it is important, out of concern for maris ayin, to ensure that clear statements are made declaring that the recording was made before Shabbos.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *