Benefiting from Video on Shabbat
I discovered a Conservative temple that films all its Shabbat and Yom Tov services and puts them on YouTube in order to educate others about Jewish services. They show the davening, Torah reading, and the rabbi’s sermon. They claim they set up the camera before Shabbat, then post the video after. Is there a problem watching and benefiting from these videos if they were filmed in violation of Shabbat?
If there are really no Shabbat transgressions involved, then there are no Halachic issues with watching such a video. Personally, I find it somewhat difficult to believe that nothing is being done from the beginning of Shabbat until the end of Shabbat that transgresses the Laws of Shabbat. Even if it is being done by a non-Jew it would be forbidden for the non-Jew to do it on Shabbat.
The holiness of the Jewish Sabbath dictates immersing oneself into the holy world of Shabbat. That is the world where there is no recording or filming, no Internet, etc. Although there may be good intentions here from everyone, the recording contradicts the sanctity of the day.
Shabbat is our gift from the One Above – “More than the Jewish People have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews.” We all have to protect it.
Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team