The prohibition I have read about regarding churches centers around going "into" a church (see Q and A's here, for example).

Is the underlying prohibition about being present in the church, about being somehow condoning of the services in a church, or something else? If I am sent the "Zoom" link for a wedding in a church, may I watch that from my home? While there is a virtual presence at the event and others might see my name (or even my face), I never set physical foot in the church.

  • The coronation of the UK queen was in a huge church and rabbis attended. Everyone watched it on tv at the time. Some even rented a tv for the occasion.
    – interested
    Mar 3 at 11:47
  • @interested while I can't specifically defend any of those decisions I have to ask, was the corronation a specifically religious ritalized event? A wedding, which includes a church mass might be different. Don't know.
    – rosends
    Mar 3 at 11:50
  • Well the archbishop (we dont have a cardinal) paid homage to the queen like her husband. I am sure there was some religion there. Youtube has a film of it. It was in 1953. youtube.com/watch?v=52NTjasbmgw
    – interested
    Mar 3 at 11:53
  • @interested There may have been heterim לשלומה של מלכות. I saw somewhere recently that in the time of the tosfot, there were incidents in which Jews joined funeral processions of certain high-ranking priests - it seems for the same reason.
    – Harel13
    Mar 3 at 12:00
  • 1
    IIRC, whoever officiated at Kennedy's funeral paskined that viewers could fulfill their mass obligation virtually, and so Rav Soloveitchik ruled it was forbidden to watch on TV. But someone should double check all that
    – Double AA
    Mar 3 at 13:06

As noted by @Robev Rav Hershel Schachter quotes the Rav in his Nefesh HaRav page 230 that it was an issur gamor (complete prohibition) to watch the Kennedy service that took place in a church and was broadcasted on TV. He expressed, what is the difference between going into such a place or bringing that place into your home?

Text :

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  • 2
    Why would the "halachah" of the Catholics be relevant? So long as they don't know that a Jew is watching, and are thus not validated by the Jew's watching, who cares how they say one fulfills his churchgoing obligation?
    – Yehuda
    Mar 4 at 3:44
  • @Yehuda how else do you define a method of worshipping idolatry other than by asking the idolaters how they do it? Your question is completely unfounded. The only reason to permit reading idolatrous texts classically is in order to determine when to punish for violating the prohibition on worshipping idolatry. Exactly this case!
    – Double AA
    Mar 4 at 12:51

I heard in a shiur (8:10) from Rav Aryeh Lebowitz in the name of his Rebbeim that Rav Soloveitchik was furious that frum Jews watched the funeral of President Kennedy, which was a Christian service in a church. He felt viewing the service was an act of participating in it.

  • 2
    Was it because it was in a church or because there was any specific religious aspect to the funeral? If the event was devoid of religious ritual would its being in a church still be problematic?
    – rosends
    Mar 3 at 13:46
  • He specified church service. Not sure about being in a church, for example the Sistine Chapel has an online version of it that you can fly around. That could be a different question, since yours specified church service.
    – robev
    Mar 3 at 13:57
  • Understood. I think that it just leads to the case you bring up (taking a recorded virtual tour) but being there live (with your name/face) has to be considered as distinct from downloading a file and watching it.
    – rosends
    Mar 3 at 14:23

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