May one join Selichos through a Telephone, radio, live video/audio internet hookup?

May one join Selichos through a Telephone, radio, live video/audio internet hookup?[1]

If one is unable to join the saying up Selichos with an actual Minyan, then he can join through a live hookup, such as through the telephone, radio, or internet. nonetheless there is debate as to the value of such a recital of Selichos, if it’s considered to have been said with a Minyan, and have one is allowed to answer Amen, and for the 13 attributes of mercy. Some Poskim[2] rule one is not to answer Amen or the 13 attributes in such circumstances.[3] Other Poskim[4], however, rule one is to answer Amen and for the 13 attributes.[5] Practically, one may be lenient in this matter.[6] [If however there is a number of seconds of delay between the “live” hookup and the actual events taking place, then according to all opinions one may not answer Amen to Kaddish.[7] In many live broadcasts there are several seconds of delay between the events and the broadcast, and hence in such a case one may not answer Amen to the Kaddish.[8]]


[1] See Yalkut Yosef Hilchos Rosh Hashanah footnote 7 for a great length on this subject; Birchas Aaron p. 242

[2] See Piskeiy Teshuvah 167; Rav SZ”A in Minchas Shlomo 9:1; Moadim Uzmanim 6:105; Mishpitei Uziel 1:5 [brought in Igros Kodesh 13:221 as opinion of Sephardim]; Beir Moshe 3:166-168; See Mishneh Sachir 30; Tzitz Eliezer 20:19; Ratz Katzevi 2:10; Piskeiy Teshuvos 56:3; Halichos Olam [Rav Slonim] 581:28 footnote 40 that one is not to join Selichos through the radio and the like, and is certainly not to answer Amen

[3] The reason: Being that there may be feces or idols that intervene between him and the area that the blessing or Minyan is taking place. [See Admur 55:22; Koveitz Ohalei Sheim 5:104; Halichos Olam ibid] Alternatively, this is because it is defined as an Amen Yesoma since the person is not in the same room as the person saying the blessing. [Piskeiy Teshuvah ibid; Minchas Shlomo ibid; Moadim Uzmanim ibid] Vetzaruch Iyun Gadol as to why being in a different area would make it an Amen Yesoma, contrary to the explicit ruling in Admur 55:22 based on the Gemara and Poskim

[4] Minchas Elazar 2:72; Igros Moshe 2:108; 4:91; Yechaveh Daas 2:68; Yalkut Yosef R”H 7; Birchas Aaron p. 242; See Igros Kodesh 13:179 and 13:221 and Likkutei Sichos 21:497 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 1:81] that the Ashkenazim [i.e. Minchas Elazar of Hungary] are lenient in this, thus implying that the Rebbe rules like the opinion.

[5] The reason: This is permitted as a) There is no need to be in the same room as a person in order to answer Amen, [Admur 55:22] Now, although most certainly there are feces or idol worship in-between, nevertheless we are lenient being that the phone wires that carry the voice bypass the feces and idols. This is in addition to that the wires are in the air, higher than ten Tefachim and is thus considered a different Reshus. [Minchas Elazar ibid; See Admur 345:17] b) There is no need to hear the actual voice of the person saying the blessing so long as one knows what blessing he is answering for. [Admur 124:11]

[6] So seems to be the leaning opinion of the Rebbe ibid and so was witnessed during the satellite hookup candle lighting of Chanukah in which the Rebbe answered Amen; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 56:3 that one may be lenient regarding Amen of a blessing [however not obligatory] however not regarding Kaddish and Kedusha

[7] Admur 124:11

[8] Heard from a media technician; Verified through sampling various live broadcasts and seeing a delay between different channels; See Shiureiy Rishon Letziyon [Rav Ovadia Yosef] p. 78 that one may not answer by radio due to delay, although one may answer through satellite being that there is no delay. Rav Yaakov Yosef stated similarly in his classes.

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