The Matzav Shmoooze: Throw Out Phone-Picture-Takers from Simchos


taking picture with iphoneDear Editor,

As a recent baal simcha, I have a simple request: People should not be taking pictures with the Smartphones at simchos. Firstly, it ruins the simcha. The entire simcha, people are running around like lunatics taking pictures with their phones. They get in everyone’s way and make a mockery of the proceedings. It is so disturbing.

And when they stick their phones in the faces of rabbonim, it is a bizayon.

Secondly, many baalei simcha don’t want pictures taken. You have no right to take pictures on your phone and then share it seconds later with your WhatsApp group and all your friends.

So let’s put an end to it. People taking pictures with their phones at simchos should be thrown out.

A Frustrated Baal Simcha



  1. Get real, buddy. It’s the world we live in. Are you saying it’s in some way illegal to take pictures at a Simcha and share? I highly doubt it.
    Here’s an idea or two: On your next invitation instead of putting “we request that women dress modestly” you can put in “we request that no pictures are taken at the Simcha.” Simple. You get your point across.
    Or you can set up a metal detector at the entrance of the Simcha hall and confiscate all cell phones.
    Or you can hire a brute squad to beat anyone who takes out their cell phone during your Simcha.

    Finally, in this day and age when we are bombarded with tragedy and tears, can’t you give Klall Yisroel a break and allow us to share Simchos with each other? Stop being so selfish.

  2. Dear Frustrated BS,
    Get real. This is the world we live in. And do you really think it’s illegal in some way to take pictures at a Simcha? Really?
    Here are a number of ideas, in descending order:
    1. On our next invitation add a note, “The Ba’a’ei Simcha request all guests to refrain from using their phones to take pictures at our Simcha.”
    2. You can… put a metal detector at the entrance to the Simcha hall and confiscate everyone’s phones.
    3. You can… hire a brute squad to beat up anyone caught taking a photo.
    4. You can… not invite anyone to your Simcha

    Finally, in this day and age when Klall Yisroel is beset with tragedy and tears, can’t you give us a break and allow us to share Simchos with one another?
    As my teenage daughter says, “Paleeeeez!!”

  3. I’m not so sure that one is allowed to publish, ie “share” pictures of other people without their permission. Also, anytime you take a picture, or just plain do things, make sure you don’t step on someone else’s toes, literally and figuratively. It’s called being a mentch, bein adam l’chaveiro, being considerate – take your choice.

  4. The problem is when people publish their pictures on line like on facebook, or youtube etc. Why does a person’s simcha have to become become a public event? It’s not the picture taking per se that is the real problem but, when your personal event becomes broadcast to the whole world.,

  5. I agree with some of the earlier posters that this guy has to “get real”. BUT he DOES have a point!!! Some people don’t want their daughters and families posted all over social media, and smart phone/picture takers should be considerate of that.
    Aside from all the other nuisances mentioned (and some not).

    In general people OFTEN let their phone usage (addiction) make them act in ways that would otherwise be unacceptable , and they should check it.

  6. The comments here just prove how big our problem is.
    I agree 100% with the Baal simcha. Not everyone wants you to post pictures of them and their simcha on the Internet.
    Additionally Rav Yakov kamenetzky zt”l said
    Taking a picture of someone against their will is gezel!!
    Seriously get a life and enjoy the simcha!!

  7. B”H we’ve been zocheh to make simchos and picture takers didn’t bother us. I’ve also been to simchos overseas where not all family members could be there and I took pictures and videos so those who stayed home could also enjoy it. I didn’t mind the picture takers at our simchos and others didn’t mind when I took pictures at theirs. What I suggest for those who this would disturb is that they should include a “Please – no picure taking” or similar request with the invitations. Of course if anyone disregards such a request or intrusively interferes with the photographer or the simcha itself they should be asked/told to stop, politely but firmly.

  8. I recently made a simcha B”H and I hear where your coming from but I think the responsibility lies on the picture taker to have the saychil where what and when to take and send their photos. Also I have seen some of those pictures taken at my simcha and am happy they were. There at least as good as the photographers.

  9. Dear Baal Simcha shlit”a –

    I sympathize with you and applaud your sensitivity. Many people have unfortunately become so desensitized to inappropriate behavior, such as the type you describe , that they think it is proper and that your desire to live on a higher level is what is wrong.

    I believe there is actually a halachic issue with taking photos of people who do not want to be photographed, which you might want to research and publicize as well. That would add strength to your position.

    Thank you for bringing up this important topic for discussion, and hatzlocho in trying to bring about improvement in the area.

  10. Dear Baal Simcha, here is the Jewish people’s simple request: do what you want at your own simchos, and don’t impose silly bans onto others. Did it enter your mind that it is not an inanimate object’s fault, but the obnoxious behavior of some people – who will likely behave the same with or without their phones?!

  11. You got it backwards. Ban the photographers who charge 10,000 and let guests take photos which should be posted to a dedicated wedding board. You can select the best, download to Cistco and print a beautiful album for 100 bucks!

  12. To GET REAL…
    Wrong!, just because this is the world “we live in” does NOT justify it. People being and doing immodest things IN THIS DAY AND AGE, doesnt change the fact that we should not be imitating them.
    It gives NO ONE permission to post things online.
    Having your simcha posted to utube when you gave no one permission to snap away…circulating personal stuff on all message circuits. ..sharing things that are highly personal is offensive, to say the least!!! If you feel otherwise, it just tells me who u are and what your hashkofes are.
    My daughter’s wedding ended up on utube, who put it there? Who gave anyone permission? It is beyond wrong!!!! And you are beyond WRONG!
    We have self understood laws based on what is morally right, not always on paper or written in stone….just like you would not like to find yourself on YouTube, unless that gives u a thrill ( def.need to check out why that would be) respect the rights of others….
    We are living in chronologica lyear 2015…but our Torah with all its moral teachings is OLDER THAN THAT AND STILL APPLIES..”.GET WITH THE TIMES” does not always apply to us..
    Get it?

  13. Instead of attacking someone’s else’s wishes and requests, which he has a right to as the one your “coming to honor”, maybe just leave your phone in your pocket for the hour and a half of your life that you’re by his simcha… He is not being selfish for requesting the chance to revel in his simcha, you are being selfish for trampling over someone’s else’s wishes. The law has nothing to do with it. Middos and self control have everything to do with it.

  14. If you ever attended a Mitzva Tantz and watched everyone standing around the Choson Kalah shooting pictures on their cell phhones. Its GROSS.
    Instead of dancing, or even letting others dance, they are standing shooting pictures. Oy is the writer correct!

  15. When I’m at my own simcha, I’m on such a joyful high. People taking pictures are not even on my radar screen.
    Just thank Hashem that you are making a simcha. Quit kvetching and finding reasons to kvetch

  16. I agree wholeheartedly with Mr Baal Simcha. I was at a wedding recently where people were leaning into the aisle with their smartphones taking pictures of the chosson and kalla to the point that the professional photographer they hired for the occasion had to stop the proceedings, go down the aisle and ask the people to stop leaning over and blocking his shot so that he could then go back and take his pictures that he was being paid to take. People cannot be trusted to not interfere with their smartphones. I also completely agree that sharing pictures of an occasion without asking is extremely rude and inconsiderate.

  17. I am poster #10. That post grades as “incomplete”, because I missed the op-ed’s second point, which is that it’s totally wrong to post pictures from yenem’s simcha on social media. I agree with that 100% – it’s an invasion of privacy to do so and I don’t understand how anyone can justify such behavior.

  18. To Anonymous and others… besides most likely requiring anger management therapy, you should certainly take a Derech HaMemutzah, and stop being such a FWF (fanatic-without-foundation), LOL.

    People like you love to yell to the world how Frum you are, blah, blah, blah – the olden days, theTorah is old, blah, blah blah. Go live on an island somewhere. We’ve heard it all before, and frankly it gets redundant and tiring

    When I say that’s the world we live in, has nothing at all to do with the internet – which you must be secretly obsessed with because I didn’t mention the internet, but you’re screaming about it. Did you see the word “internet” in my comment? I don’t. But you’re so obsessed with your own focus on it, that every single thing someone says comes down to the internet for you. I’m sad for you.

    I did not argue with BS about posting photos taken at Simchas on social media publicly- I only commented on the TAKING of the photos and sharing with one’s own family. In the olden days guests used to bring little disposable Kodak cameras to Simchas, or other cameras – today they have their phones. Yes, it’s more prevalent today, but not any different and no less intrusive.

    When I’m at a Simcha that my wife and I were invited to but one of us couldn’t attend, we both appreciate being sent photos so that the one who couldn’t attend can feel part of the Simcha – not a bad thing.

    And the first suggestion I had for BS was to put on the invitation a request that guests should refrain from picture taking – if that’s what they want.

    My biggest issue is the fanatical way BS says “Ban…” There are more subtle, sensitive, Mentchlicha ways to approach an issue. But you and BS are two peas in a pod – both going for the jugular, and the fanatical approach. Take a chill pill and approach the issue like a Yid, not like an angry child.

    May we SHARE Simchos amongst Klall Yisroel.

  19. I agree with the letter-writer. It’s not going to be the end of world if you don’t get a picture – actually, maybe you’ll be able to enjoy the Simcha more without worrying about taking pictures to remember it – and if you’re really so desperate for a picture from the Simcha for whatever reason, ask the Ba’al Simcha if you can purchase the CD from the professional photographer! 🙂