The Royal Wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry: a halachic perspective

There is no doubt that many people will be inclined to watch the nuptials of the latest Royal Wedding. Some will feel magnetised by the moment, others will be eager to see the habilment. One needs to remember, though, that even clothes will include vestments and the marriage is a formal Xtian marriage in a Church (כנסיה).

Those who may watch the wedding ceremony will do so through their Television or the Internet. Is there any halachic issue?

Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe, Yoreh Deah 3:129) stressed that it is not permitted to enter a Church, even if one only intended to admire the architecture or art. In Yoreh Deah (3:77) he goes as far as not permitting the use of Church facilities for a Talmud Torah where that Talmud Torah had difficulty finding accomodation. Mori V’Rabbi, the Rav was asked after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, whether it was permitted to watch the service on the Television. Rav Soloveitchik responded that in the same way that it was forbidden to enter a  כנסיה, it was equally forbidden to bring the כנסיה into one’s house. He noted that the clergy at the time encouraged those who were not able to attend, to avail themselves of participation in the service by watching through the Television.

In summary, it is best to spend one’s time on permitted activities, and how much more so, by having a Shiur or learning from a Sefer at that time.

STOP PRESS: I am advised that this Wedding is being held on a day that one is forbidden to watch ANY Television (Melacha). That being said, many will I estimate wish to “catch up” and watch some highlights.

Author: pitputim

I'm a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia although my views have naught​ to do with my employer. I skylark as the band leader/singer for the Schnapps Band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel.

4 thoughts on “The Royal Wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry: a halachic perspective”

    1. Yes indeed. I have to admit that I’m not the British subject some Royal loyalists would like me to be 🙂 and I am clueless about exactly when the wedding will be held. At the same time, the Rav would not in my estimation have permitted watching a TV news or internet news coverage of part of the ceremony. That’s supposition on my part, but I submit that based on my readings of the Rav, he wouldn’t like us doing anything which brings the Church into the home. He was, as is known, very sensitive about that. I couldn’t help but feel that whilst last night’s stupendous opening of the Embassy was for the most uplifting, the Rav likely would have “had a previous appointment to attend to” on account of the first Pastor. That’s not to say that Pastor didn’t have a right to express his faith, of course!

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  1. What is a KNESIA = כנסיה? Isn’t it a place where people gather? In Aramaic we call it BETH KNISHTA = house where people gather. A prayer house in Hebrew or Loshon Hakodesh is BETH TFILA = house of prayer. The AGUDAT YISROEL worshiped כנסיות and called their assembling הכנסייה הגדולה.
    I am no Posek but had a look at the Talmud:
    “אמר להן: כך מקובלני מבית אבי אבא: לעולם ישכיר עצמו לעבודה זרה ואל יצטרך לבריות.” (בבא בתרא קי, א).
    I know that it frightened our elders and they tried to find ways to interpret the meanings, but if we look at RASHI there: “ישכיר עצמו וכו’ אלא שלא יהיה לבו לע”ז.”.
    Does the Talmud here refer only to finding employment that one can do it and not to fall as a burden on the community = תבא לידי צורך הבריות =?

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    1. Thank you R’ Meir. LeHalacha there are Kulos in certain instances. For example, the Chief Rabbi of the British Commenwealth I believe was issued with a Kula presumably to avoid Ayvo.

      I haven’t looked in Hilchos Avoda Zara, but is that Memra in the Gemora brought LeHalacha?

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