AI as Minyan Member: Halachic Exploration and Debates

הרב שי טחן Rabbi Shay Tahan  כב כסליו, תשפד  12/5/2023

When delving into the realm of AI robots, a fundamental question arises: can their level of intelligence be deemed sufficient to regard the robot as a form of life? This inquiry carries far-reaching implications, encompassing matters such as whether we should impose punishment on it if it were to commit a crime or require it to provide compensation if it were to cause damage. Furthermore, it raises the intriguing question of whether an AI robot could be counted as part of a minyan of 10 for prayer, which might seem initially amusing given that it's not a human being. However, surprisingly, such a question has been pondered by one of the eminent scholars, Rav Tzvi Ashkenazi, known as the Chacham Tzvi.
The Chacham Tzvi (In Siman 93) grappled with a perplexing question: Could a man created using Kabbalistic powers as described in the Sefer Yetzirah be included in a minyan (a quorum of ten for prayer)? On one hand, it might seem that he should not be included because the verse teaches us that sanctity should reside within the Jewish nation, and this man is not Jewish by birth. On the other hand, considering that the person who created him is Jewish, and we have a concept that equates someone who raises an orphan to being their parent, כל המגדל יתום בתוך ביתו כאילו ילדו , this man may not be any different and should be regarded as Jewish. Likewise, the AI robot finds itself in a similar realm of doubt and uncertainty.
However, in practice, we cannot include the AI robot in a minyan for several reasons. Firstly, the Chacham Tzvi himself rejected the notion based on a story found in the Gemara (Sanhedrin 65,2). The story involves Rava, who created a man and sent him to Rabbi Zeira. Rabbi Zeira attempted to engage in conversation with this man, but the man remained unresponsive. It was only when Rabbi Zeira realized that this being was a creation and not a genuinely deaf person that he instructed the man to return to the earth, which subsequently occurred. The Chacham Tzvi inferred from this story that the created being was not deemed fit for inclusion in a minyan. Otherwise, Rabbi Zeira would have kept him alive to utilize him for the purpose of completing a minyan.
Another compelling reason is the consensus of many poskim (Jewish legal decisors) who disagreed with the Chacham Tzvi's perspective, asserting that there is no question regarding the status of such a creation. Notably, the Chacham Tzvi's own son, the Yaavetz in Sha'lat Yaavetz (שאלת יעב״ץ ח״א סימן פב), firmly held that such a created being is of a lower status than an animal and unquestionably cannot be considered part of a minyan.
Similarly, the Chida (מראית העין סנהדרין דף סה) believed that this type of creation should be regarded as equivalent to an animal. The Chida explained that the Sefer Yetzirah may enable the creation of a living entity resembling a human, but it is not, in essence, a human and lacks a soul. This consensus among prominent poskim further solidifies the view that such creations cannot be counted as part of a minyan.
The Chida adds a profound insight by emphasizing that only Hashem possesses the ability to create humans with a soul. This underscores the fundamental distinction between divine creation and any human or artificial attempts to replicate it.
Furthermore, an additional argument against considering AI as equivalent to the created man is the inherent difference in essence. While the created man is a living creature with organic attributes, AI is essentially an intellectual machine. Despite the potential for AI to exhibit high levels of intelligence and capability, it remains distinct from living organisms, lacking the vital
 quality of life.
Rabbi Shay Tahan
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מי שנמצא בדרך ואין לו בית להדליק אפילו אם ישן בשדה אינו מדליק נרות חנוכה.הרב שי טחן
אקססוריז – כי את רוצה להיראות הכי טובאז שמת על עצמך שמלה יפה, ואת נראית מעולה בראי שבחדר. אבל מה עם הפינישים? מה עם הסטיילינג? מה עם האקססוריז? מי שאוהבת אופנה, אוהבת להראות טוב, אוהבת שרואים אותה כמו שהיא מבפנים החוצה, אוהבת את האקססוריז שלה. בשביל זה בדיוק ג'ק קובה מציע לכן קטלוג עשיר של אקססוריז שישלימו את הלוק שלכן עד לשלמות הראויה.
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