Walking past motion detector/sensor activated lights on Shabbat -- it's better to avoid setting of motion-activated lights on Shabbat.
Unintentional closing and opening of electrical circuits on shabbat --

CCTV's and satellites on the other hand, will create new video and pixel-changes regardless of whether anyone is walking by, and as such, the Jew's actions are not directly nor inevitably causing any Melachot to be performed.

Those Q&As deal specifically with unintentionally activating the sensor.

What about intentionally waving at a CCTV camera?

Is there any halachic problem? What about hashkafic (i.e. not "Shabbosdik")?

  • 2
    Btw, doing this (on a weekday, at least) can be so much fun, in a stupid sort of way.
    – Scimonster
    Commented Jan 11, 2015 at 19:41
  • What is that a quote from? In situations where the security provided by the camera's functioning is of direct benefit to you Rav Eliezer Yehuda Waldenberg prohibits intentionally feeding one's image to them (because the m'lacha done, which I believe was coloration, would be performed as a p'sik resha d'nicha le).
    – WAF
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 1:24
  • The quote is from judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/40284/…
    – Scimonster
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 7:59
  • Would this be the same for any video camera that is already on regardless of my presence? What about the Kotel Kam? Can I wave on shabbos to someone who is watching somewhere where it is not shabbos (or even where it is)?
    – rosends
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 11:27

2 Answers 2


From Halachipedia:

Many poskim permit walking in an area where the surveillance cameras will capture a person’s image as long as he does not intend to be recorded.¹

Waving at a camera cannot be taken as unintentional.

1.Rabbi Mordechai Willig (“Halacha Engages Modernity Part 8,” min 48-49) agrees that it is permitted to walk in an area where there is a surveillance camera because unlike the light motion sensors, a person doesn’t benefit from the being videoed by the surveillance camera and thus qualifies as a psik reisha d’lo nicha lei which is permitted for a d’rabanan prohibition.

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, (cited by Rav Zalman Nechemya Goldberg in Ateret Shlomo vol 6, p. 57), Yabia Omer 9:35, and The Shabbos Home (p. 489) agree.

Rabbi Hershel Schachter (“Electricity on Shabbos,” min 62-8) explains that if one is doing an action that is physically disconnected from where the melacha is occurring, it isn’t considered a psik reisha. Thus, Rav Schachter says that there’s what to rely on to permit walking in an area where there is a surveillance camera or a motion sensor which will turn on a light as long as one doesn’t have intent to be videoed or turn on the light

Sh"t Besel Chachma 6:65 suggests that walking in a place where there are surveillance cameras isn't considered Koteiv whatsoever and is no different than looking in a mirror on Shabbat.

  • @bochur but what melacha are you actually doing? You're not creating a new current as far as I know.
    – Orion
    Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 15:28
  • My knowledge of how security cameras work, is limited. It's possible that it's not a melacha, but it's just better not to do it.
    – aBochur
    Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 14:26
  • ahhh you sound like my halacha rebbi. His favorite recourse is "it's but shabbasdik". Great man though. Very knowledgeable. A living quandary.
    – Orion
    Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 4:41

Partial Answer:

The Opinion of Hagaon Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv ZTL:

Source: HERE

Dec 14, 2010 Interesting Psak From Rav Elyashiv: No Kotel On Shabbos A few years ago Israel installed a series of security cameras throughout the Old City. It was a time when there was a rash of stabbings, and stabbing attempts, in the Old City and the cameras were meant to both help catch the perps and to also discourage it in the future, as they will know they could more easily be caught.

The issue was raised that perhaps the cameras operating on shabbos would be a problem with those walking through the Old City on Shabbos to go to the Kotel. Rav Elyashiv was supposedly asked and after being made certain that it was not based on motion sensors and no lights were to be activated based on people walking by he paskened that people could continue to walk to the Kotel on Shabbos.

Kikar Shabbos is reporting, based on a notice in the Yated Neeman, that it seems the security system is not being monitored the way it was meant to be. Therefore, Rav Elyashiv has supposedly said that people should not walk to the Kotel on Shabbos, because they might be tripping security cameras. Until the system is checked to be ok, one should avoid it. According to Kikar, while Rav Elyashiv initially was satisified with the arrangements, at a later time he, or his people, tried to get the police to make some changes to some of the technological aspects of the system to satisfy some more machmir concerns. When the police refused to comply with the request for additional changes, Rav Elyashiv supposedly withdrew his support.

Obviously such a psak will affect thousands of people every shabbos. And not just those who are walking to the Kotel These security cameras are placed throughout the Old City and if the psak is really true as publicized, people throughout the Old City will have to stay in their homes the whole Shabbos.

  • RibbisRabbiAndMore "if the psak is really true as publicized, people throughout the Old City will have to stay in their homes the whole Shabbos." No that means that anyone who doesn't hold of the "more machmer concerns" (which judging by abochurs answer is rabbi schachter, rabbi shlomo Zalman auerbach, and rav schachter) wouldn't be allowed to leave their homes. Also you don't answer what the actual Halachik problem is.
    – Orion
    Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 15:26

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