Does Virtual Seeing Count as Seeing under Jewish Law?

How the Zoom-seder debate opens up on questions of virtual reality.

A man looking through augmented reality glasses at the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem’s Old City on October 17, 2017. Hadas Parush/Flash90.

A man looking through augmented reality glasses at the Tower of David Museum in Jerusalem’s Old City on October 17, 2017. Hadas Parush/Flash90.

Response
May 21 2020
About the author

Rabbi Shlomo Zuckier is the Flegg postdoctoral fellow at McGill University. A founder of The Lehrhaus, he recently completed a PhD at Yale University and serves on the editorial committee of Tradition.


Chaim Saiman’s characteristically astute essay provides a thorough and cogent accounting of the logic on both sides of the Zoom-seder controversy and, most importantly, explains why it has become such a flash point for debate. While his analysis largely accords with my own account, I would like to call attention to two points that he does not touch upon, which I believe can further our understanding of the subject: the first involves the nature of rabbinic authority, the second the status of virtual reality in Jewish law (halakhah).

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More about: Halakhah, Passover, Religion & Holidays, Zoom Seder