Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is there any prohibition in having surveillance cameras operating on Shabbos? If not, why is is any different to filming a Bar-Mitzva, etc?

share|improve this question
Please explain the bar mitzva part of the question. Why would surveillance of such an event be different from that of any other occurrence? – WAF Jun 15 '14 at 14:09
Are you trying to distinguish between active and passive filming? – Monica Cellio Jun 15 '14 at 14:36
up vote 12 down vote accepted

While some (including R' Vosner) are stringent. it is generally understood that to operate such cameras as well as walk past them is perfectly permitted. The difference between surveillance cameras and filming a function is that when filming for security purposes, you don't actually want anyone (other than intruders) to be filmed.

Hence, it is considered a 'pesik reisha delo nicha lei' etc.

See http://doseofhalacha.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/security-cameras-on-shabbos.html

... R’ Moshe Feinstein (in a letter to R’ Yisroel Rozen of the Tzomet Institute) wrote that as the data is not being permanently recorded, it is at worst a derabanan. Although the cameras operate for security purposes, the passerby does not benefit from being photographed. One only benefits from the system when there’s an unwelcome intruder. Thus, one may walk in front of a camera on Shabbos as this is a case of pesik reisha delo nicha lei (see Shulchan Aruch OC 320:18) which is permitted in a rabbinic prohibition. Likewise, one may operate a surveillance camera. R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (quoted in Ateres Shlomo 6, p57) concurs.

share|improve this answer
The reason listed here to permit operating a camera (that its only benefit is when something occurs that is against one's interests) would seem to apply to operating an intruder cam and not a street cam. – msh210 Jun 15 '14 at 20:52

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.