2

Examples of when you need 2 witnesses testifying an event:

  • groom's "purchase" / acceptance of the terms of the ketuvah
  • witnessing kiddushin (groom giving bride a ring)

If two witnesses watch this event via video camera, Skype, etc. and are neither physically at the event nor is each witness in the same place as the other, is their observance acceptable testimony. Or must they be physically present at the event?

The 2 items listed are examples, The question is meant to be a general rule, unless certain types of witnessing have different conditions. If so, please state why.

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    Have you ever seen those movies where the burglars put the surveillance system on a loop and the guards never realize? – Double AA May 10 '15 at 23:57
  • @DoubleAA "Speed" – DanF May 11 '15 at 1:20
  • @DoubleAA or Oceans 11. Regardless, doesn't the gemara talk about a case where the witness saw the action take place through a mirror or something similar? There is a distinction made between witness to prove an action happened and witnesses to "establish an act." Halachically, the edim at a wedding are in the latter category, and their participation is rabbinically mandatory as a prerequisite for the transaction to actually take place. Another example of this is kiddush hachodesh and beit din, where you still need two separate edim even though all of B"D saw the new moon. – Isaac Kotlicky May 11 '15 at 1:27
  • @IsaacKotlicky Edim for Kiddush Hachodesh is an example of testimony of a past event. However, I think there was a requirement that the witnesses specifically appear before Sanhedrin. With current technology, if Sanhedrin and Bet Hamikdash existed, could the head of Sanhedrin ask questions via chat? Seems that this may be acceptable. – DanF May 11 '15 at 1:34
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    Heck, if we allow someone "skypeing" as valid eidus, how is live video of an event any different than recorded video? Why do we need eidim at all? we already have a videographer! – Isaac Kotlicky May 11 '15 at 1:39
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I found this article: http://www.din.org.il/2015/01/18/עדות-באמצעות-סקייפ/

Which confirms the view of @IsaacKotlicky regarding testimony for a wedding or divorce i.e. since this testimony is עדות לקיומי the witnesses have to be in the place, although maybe it depends on the machloket of עדות עפ"י אומדנא.

However if the case requires Edut just as a testimony of a past event, see (אגרות משה סימן מז) where he allows "chalav akum" in places where the company under the gov's supervision, based on the claim that clear knowledge = watching the event.

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