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If one attends a Siyum virtually, whether by phone, Skype, or some other means of mass communication, can one partake of the Se'udath Mitzvah (relevant to allow eating meat during the 9 Days for Ashkenazim and to exempt a first-born from fasting on 'Erev Pesah)?

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    Yes - he can partake of the food virtually. – Gershon Gold Jul 23 '12 at 19:52
  • Note: The link is an example, not the focus of the question. – Seth J Jul 23 '12 at 19:53
  • another example: collive.com/… – Shmuel Brin Jul 23 '12 at 22:54
  • @Shmuel Brin that's amazing! – Seth J Jul 24 '12 at 12:07
  • Note: Rabbi Gil Friedman has a five-part series (approx 25 minutes each shiur), where he runs through Meseches Tamid for those who want to make a siyum in time for Erev Pesach. torahanytime.com/#/lectures?a=106991 – chortkov2 Apr 5 at 14:05
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http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/weekly_torah.php?id=680

If one cannot partake in the siyum in person, some permit him to listen to the siyum via telephone. This should only be relied upon in extraordinary situations. (Horav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach zt"l quoted in Yoma Tova L'rabanan page 70 footnote 16, see Modanei Shlomo (Moadim) page)

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  • Does this apply to Havdalah as well? – shachna Jul 23 '12 at 20:28
  • @shachna, how would that work? (How can he use the phone to listen before he's made havdalah?) – Monica Cellio Jul 24 '12 at 2:38
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    @MonicaCellio (ask the question and you'll find that) a person can end Shabbath before formally making Havdalah. – Seth J Jul 24 '12 at 12:32
  • @SethJ, ah you're right, and this has come up before (oops -- was more targetted there but the answer seems to cover shachna's case). – Monica Cellio Jul 24 '12 at 12:46
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    @SethJ, hence the "oops". – Monica Cellio Jul 24 '12 at 13:08
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R' Shlomo Zalman Aurebach (quoted by Gershon Gold) permitted partaking in a siyum over the telephone in extenuating circumstances.

Although R' Shlomo Zalman (Minchas Shlomo 1:9) took a very strong view against using microphones/telephones to discharge obligations (such as Havdala or Tefilla), he apparently held that a siyum is different.

There is a dispute among the Poskim which component of being present at a Siyum permits a bechor to eat - hearing the siyum, or partaking in the seudas mitzvah (see Minchas Yitzchok 9:45 and Teshuvos VeHanhagos 1:300 quoting the Steipler). One obvious difference is if one arrives after the siyum took place, but still partakes of the seuda.

Seemingly, R' SZ Aurebach held that there is no need to actually hear the Siyum (because he strongly believed that hearing something over a telephone does not halachically constitute hearing), but just to partake of the Seudas Mitzvah.

It is very possible that R' SZ only said this regarding Taanis Bechorim, but not in regards to eating meat during the first 9 Days of Av.

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