Question:

If someone  lives alone, even though there’s a machloket Shiltei Giborim and Magen Avraham whether he can recite a bracha on the candles of Channuka without any pirsumei nisa (publicizing of the miracle), what if he did it over skype when someone else saw his lighting? Would the Magen Avraham agree that he can make a bracha under such circumstances? This is assuming of course that the person can’t find any other person physically around here to light with.

Answer:

I don’t know the answer in terms of how to relate to skype as a vehicle for pirsumei nisa. My intuition tells me to treat skype in a similar way that the poskim treat a microphone and sound. That is to say that just like most poskim hold that when you need to hear something we say that hearing it through the microphone is not called really hearing “it”, so too when you need to see something, then seeing through the digitized medium is not called seeing “it”. If that is the case then it wouldn’t help to publicize the miracle through skype in order to get the Magen Avraham to agree that you can make a bracha on the lighting
However, the Shar Hatziyun does say that we aren’t mocheh if someone wants to rely on the Shiltei Giborim. Therefore, I would say that a mindful and careful person who wants to cover all angles still wouldn’t make a brachah when lighting in this case. On the other hand, someone who is only concerned about being able to rely on some basis in halacha could theoretically make the brachah even alone without a pirsum as per the Shiltei Giborim. The fact that someone sees it on skype can’t hurt in such a case. This would mean that the stubborn uncle mentioned above can be left alone to his own way in any event.