Taking Pictures of the sun
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- This topic has 24 replies, 14 voices, and was last updated 11 years, 10 months ago by HaLeiVi.
May 8, 2011 5:49 pm at 5:49 pm #596752
I heard that you’re not allowed to?
Is it really a halacha or just a chumra?May 8, 2011 6:05 pm at 6:05 pm #766441am yisrael chaiParticipant
You’re not even supposed to look at the sun…very unhealthy!May 8, 2011 6:17 pm at 6:17 pm #766442Pac-ManMember
How can halacha take a position on photographing the sun? Photography is a rather new phenomenon.May 8, 2011 7:34 pm at 7:34 pm #766443midwesternerParticipant
Lo Sa’asun k’d’mus shamoshai hameshamshin lefonai bamarom.May 8, 2011 8:06 pm at 8:06 pm #766444fan of pdMember
you are not supposed to draw a complete picture of the sun-i dont think there is anything about taking pictures of the sun(i think people are misinformed) and that is why you see the 1/2 circle for the sunMay 8, 2011 9:22 pm at 9:22 pm #766445
thanks… fan of pd what do you mean by half circle?May 9, 2011 12:01 am at 12:01 am #766446dunnoMember
I thought one should not draw a full picture of the sun and not look at the moon.May 9, 2011 8:46 am at 8:46 am #766447
I had no idea that there was any hallacha about this.
However never look at the sun without a proper solar filter. Number 14 welders glass will work and there are other products (B&H will probably carry them). I have seen some amazing photography done with good filters and even something as simple as a web cam.
If you point a telescope or binoculars at the sun it could blind you in a fraction of a second! really don’t do it.
As for taking pictures of the moon, you will need a very long lens, ideally a telescope. However once you have that it is pretty easy. In terms of photography the moon is a sunlit grey rock. A fine grained black and white film will do really well for lunar shots.
(Astro Geek)May 9, 2011 1:48 pm at 1:48 pm #766448
i have no idea what the actual halacha is – but there are definitely people who do not take pictures of the sun.May 10, 2011 2:21 am at 2:21 am #766449smartzMember
This is actually a very serious shiala!!
when I was in high school, someone mentioned that it may be ossur,
but I didn’t really give it much thought, thinking its prob just a chumra.
well in seminary, I asked my halacha teacher, since many girls were taking pics near/infront/with the sun and he was shocked that
girls in the seminary were doing that since he was convinced we all probably knew that it was assur!
in any case, the next day in class he told the whole seminary that
its forbidden to take pictures of the sun since it falls under catergory of “temuna” ( which ironically is the hebrew word for camera photo) which is part of the prohibition to replicate the
sun and stars in any real form and that its more serious than a drawing whose resemblance to sun may be sujective ( since a photo acurately shows a sun much more than a drawing).
I believed he quoted Harav Moshe Feinstein, but unfort I do not have the actual sources.
After sem, I’v heard it from other people as well that the its a real issur, not just a chumra!May 10, 2011 7:29 am at 7:29 am #766450BasYisroel94Participant
Never heard of such a halocha- so interesting! If anyone has the actual source, I’d be most interested- Thanks!May 10, 2011 3:45 pm at 3:45 pm #766451WolfishMusingsParticipant
I not only took this photo, but have it on display in my house.
The WolfMay 10, 2011 4:21 pm at 4:21 pm #766452
Here are a few I took of the moon and night sky:
I esp like the one of the milky way and the shot of Orion.May 13, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm #766453
Thanks everyone for answering!! 🙂May 13, 2011 1:37 pm at 1:37 pm #766454
wolf – that is beautiful!May 13, 2011 1:38 pm at 1:38 pm #766455
zach – that is simply stunning – they’re professional and gorgeous! did you teach yourself or took classes?May 13, 2011 2:27 pm at 2:27 pm #766456
Taught myself (Did some reading)
all of those were taken with film cameras. The moon shot (its just 2 printings of the same shot) was 400 speed b&w film with the camera hooked up to a telescope, so in effect there was 1900mm F15 lens.
The dark sky shots were a simple old film camera (I think its older than I am) on a heavy duty tripod. I used Provia 400 Slide film and held the shutter open for 15 seconds with a cable release. The real trick is getting a very stable tripod and a very dark site. In this case they were taken from the middle of the Negev (around Mizpe Ramon)May 13, 2011 2:31 pm at 2:31 pm #766457ItcheSrulikMember
When I asked about this I was told that the issur refers to pictures of the figures that were supposed to represent the sun, moon and planets in mythology e.g. an old fisherman for neptune, a young woman for the moon etc.May 13, 2011 2:44 pm at 2:44 pm #766458
I believe the Rambam says what ItcheSrulik mentions.May 13, 2011 3:02 pm at 3:02 pm #766459tzvideerMember
not being a Posek, i will leave the Halachik discussion to my more learned friends and peers here in the CR.
BUT: this is very IMPORTANT!!!!
if you are using a digital camera, do not point it directly at the sun when you are taking a picture since it is liable to burn out the ‘eye’. it will cost you a couple of pennies to fix or replace.
it happened to me and to one or two others i know.
by the way, the picture the wolf posted is absolutly stunning!!!! how can i get a high res copy of it?May 13, 2011 3:12 pm at 3:12 pm #766460
So IcheSrulik and HaLeiVi does that mean that according to the Rambam it’s only referring to their avoda zaras, and not the actual sun moon and stars?
btw Wolf and Zach your pictures are awesome! They’re the reason for my question… You can take gorgeous pictures with the sun, but if doing so is an offshoot of avoda zara… then that’s slightly a problem! I’m considering selling some of my pictures and some sun ones are really nice… it would be so sad to have give em up.
But I think I got from here that it really is a problem? It’s too bad… especially considering that if it is avoda zara then I’ve been doing it all these years! Yikes!!May 13, 2011 3:44 pm at 3:44 pm #766461WolfishMusingsParticipant
by the way, the picture the wolf posted is absolutly stunning!!!! how can i get a high res copy of it?
I don’t know that I’d be willing to give out hi-res copies, but if you want to buy a print*, feel free to email me.
(* That would be my first sale as a photographer. 🙂 )May 13, 2011 4:09 pm at 4:09 pm #766462
If it’s Avoda Zara then you may not sell them either! (Although, it definitely is not Avoda Zara, because nothing can be, inherently, an Avoda Zara. It might be Assur.)
Now that I checked up the Gamara and the Rambam, it does seem to be Assur. The Rambam makes it sound that a picture of the sun is worse than a person, for a person is Muttar to draw but not to make a statue while the sun and moon are not to be drawn on a panel, either.
However, there is nothing wrong with keeping it. You may even have a non-Jew make you one, as long as it’s not a 3 dimensional picture. I do remember seeing the definition that ItcheSrulik referred to, but it’s not in the Yad. The Gemara had a problem with the fact that Rabban Gamliel had a picture of the moon, and the only answer the Gamara liked was that it was made by a non-Jew.May 13, 2011 4:20 pm at 4:20 pm #766463ItcheSrulikMember
Haleivi: If you look in Nosei Keilim (I forget which ones) you will see that they ask on the RaMBaM from that gemara, implying that they understood him to be forbidding icons of people that represent the sun.May 13, 2011 5:54 pm at 5:54 pm #766464
Perhaps in his Pirush Mishnayos on Avoda Zara he says that. I sort of remember it being there.
Tosafos points out that this Mitzva is unique in that we are allowed to commission a non-Jew to do it for us. That being the case, since it’s not like creating an Avoda Zara, the problem might be with the act of drawing it. If that is the case, then a photograph wouldn’t be a problem. The fact is that nobody checks to make sure the sun or moon is not in the background before taking a picture.
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