The father of late Jewish singer Amy Winehouse (pictured) has agreed to a tour featuring a hologram of his daughter.
What does the Torah say about this? When Saul, King of Israel, called up Samuel, according to tradition, his mentor appeared upside-down, precisely to show that what is in the next world is an inverted “camera obscura” image.
When the same King Saul tried to hunt down his son-in-law David and kill him, his own daughter, Princess Michal, replaced David with a dummy in the bed.
Apparently, these dummies – or teraphim – were expertly made and decorated so that only a manual examination would reveal that they were not real.
The purpose of the teraphim were to provide comfort to a wife who was missing her husband while he was away.
In those days, one could never be quite sure that a dangerous journey might not result in fatality, and so the teraphim were in place of adoring a human who might be dead or alive.
At first glance, the idea of a hologram tour featuring a person who has passed away evokes the revival of the dead. This is the nearest one can get to disturbing those who have passed on, without actively calling them up through the occult.
Technology can bring us virtually to what otherwise seems like infringing on the peace and privacy of the next world.
Doubtless, there will be many whose joy will be intermingled with sadness, even confusion.
Television plays back what has already happened, but a hologram tour might even create new spectacles that have never before been attempted.
However, an important consideration must be the purpose of the tour, which will raise funds for the Amy Winehouse Foundation, a charity to help vulnerable young people, especially those struggling with substance abuse.
This is perhaps reason enough to go to hear her voice, without fearing watching a hologram on religious grounds.
Rabbi Ariel Abel serves Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation and is padre to HM Armed Forces
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