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Is it possible for a Jew who is in mourning (an ovel) to attend a wedding on Zoom?

My intial thought process was why not? If one cannot be משתתף (join) with a virtual minyan (quorum of 10 men) as all 10 need to be in one place (see OC 55:13) - perhaps in a similar vein an online wedding is the same as it is like one is not truly part of the proceedings, and worse case scenario if there is music etc. one can mute.

But then I realised that with a minyan the issue is principally about being there whilst with a wedding it is not, it is first and foremost the Simcha (happiness) - Indeed, the Shulchan Aruch expressly states that an ovel has to abstain from any type of joyous occasion:

אבל אסור בכל מיני שמחה (YD 391)

Thus if joining with a zoom wedding will generate Simcha - is he allowed to participate?

I am aware that the are differing levels of mourning depending on how much time has elapsed - i.e. initial shiva (first seven days), shloshim (first 30 days) and then the remaining year which may affect the answer.

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Rav Asher Weiss ruled (listen here) that it's permissible.

His reasoning was that if anything, it generates some sadness. You long to be there in person by watching. He felt it's not considered being there by halachic definition. He said it wasn't a mitzvah to attend, but it's legitimate. In some instances he would recommend it.

I'm sure we could find specific cases where it might generate more simcha than not, and perhaps then there might be reason to refrain from attending. I'm not sure how far to take his pesak, and as always ask your local Orthodox Rabbi. I think his main point was that it's not considered "attending" and might be no different than watching a recording.

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  • Nice thank you! I guess though, if I'm playing devil's advocate that if the ovel is not family and only a lesser acquaintance they won't necessarily 'long to be there' - in which case perhaps they should not attend?
    – Dov
    Mar 31 '21 at 19:30
  • @Dov added a clarification comment.
    – robev
    Mar 31 '21 at 19:33

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