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Internet streaming Shabbat services


Rabbi Yoel Lieberman

Tevet 4, 5780
Shalom, Are internet streaming Shabbat services permissible under Halacha for those living outside of Israel who have no access to a shul, whether due to health, age, distance, etc. if the following conditions are met?: 1. The computer(s) and related equipment are turned on before Shabbat and not turned off until after Havdalah; 2. All programing requirements, including writing (passwords, forms etc.) are completed prior to Shabbat.3. Everything is set up with timers so that at most a single button must be pushed to begin in order to stream on YouTube or on private servers like Zoom. I have heard such programming likened to Shabbat elevators, Shabbat Blech and so on. Is this permissible according to halacha?
ב"ה Shalom, I don't see myself giving a ruling on this, however I will relate to some of the difficulties in your proposal and deal with different aspects of the issue. In answers, I have given previously on this website in regard to security cameras on Shabbat, I've related to similar issues . Though you mentioned setting things up before Shabbat does make things less problematic from the Shabbat point of view, there are still many things to be considered. . In regard to security cameras, the Rabbis who allowed it, did not do so because there is no problem with filming on Shabbat, due to the people passing by, but since it is for security reasons they relied on various leniencies. I do not see viewing Davening in Shul on Shabbat for those far away as a justification to allow such relying upon these leniencies. In addition, people being filmed may want to be filmed so that they can be seen by the viewers, unlike people being filmed for security purposes who are most likely uncomfortable with being filmed, which make the leniencies relied upon no longer relevant. There is also the possibility that the viewers may adjust electronic things on the computer for better viewing and there is also an issue of people who see the viewers watching the computer screen on Shabbat will not understand how they are viewing a computer screen on Shabbat. From, the educational point of view, or from the experiencing Shabbat point of view it seems to me that viewing a video of Davening in Shul on Shabbat is contradictory to what Shabbat stands for. In a way,it is possibly "zeluta Deshabbat", which is an Halachic concept of showing a disrespect for Shabbat. I personally have spent Shabbat many times on my own in foreign lands, with no Shul or even other Jews or even friends to speak to .Although I admit it was not as it would have been at home, I still found the ways to create a Shabbat atmosphere for myself. All the best
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