All summaries below are done to the best of my abilities and are for the purpose of informing and not paskening. In all cases, a posek should be consulted.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Watching Christian Ceremonies on TV - Rav Soloveitchik

In Nefesh HaRav, Rav Herschel Schechter reports that when Kennedy was assassinated, his funeral was held in a Catholic church (St. Matthew's in Washington, D.C.) and many people, including many Jews, watched the service on television. Rav Soloveitchik was quite upset about this, as according to Catholic doctrine, those who participate in religious rites such as this via television "fulfill their obligation" of being a part of the service and thus all of the Jews who watched the service could be considered as having taken part in this non-Jewish religious service. Rav Soloveitchik concluded that there was no difference between entering the church in person and "entering it" by bringing it into one's home.

[Hat tip to Rabbi Daniel Feldman for reminding me of this source.]


Akiva L. said...

Two questions: 1)Would the Rav's ruling on Kennedy's funeral, which took place in a Catholic church, also apply to the recent royal wedding which took place in an Anglican church? 2)Even if the Anglican church does have a similar position to the Roman Catholic church as to what constitutes fulfilling their obligation to be a part of the service, why should that matter? After all, a Jew who converts to Christianity is still considered a Jew by Judaism even though Christians will consider him a full Christian.

Aaron Ross said...

I am not sure why the shitah of the Catholics on this mattered at all - it seemed that ultimately the Rav focused on the issue of entering a church, which would seem to make it irrelevant what type of church we are talking about.

Gil Student said...

See also here regarding the 2005 papal funeral: