Talk:Electricity on Shabbat

From Halachipedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Philosophic Motivation For The Shabbos App

Yossi Goldstein, one of the developers of the Shabbos App, explained that many practices are actually permitted and only forbidden as a stringency or based on Hashkafa. He proceeds to vent frustration at the more religious sects of Orthodoxy who present a narrow view of Jewish practice and don't allow anything outside their comfort zone. He is respectful and concludes that while he doesn't expect his detractors to actually use the app, but he wants a halachically valid option in order to save the multitudes of teens who are going to use their phones anyway and with this app might not fall out of the fold.

While Mr. Goldstein's argument is convincing and displays a knowledge of the world and Halacha, there are a few major flaws to his argument. Firstly, poking fun or mocking certain practices of the Orthodox world isn't going to help your argument. It is incorrect to say that Rav Moshe forbid timers and the world ignored him because it was too difficult. A fuller picture is that most poskim before and after Rav Moshe said it was permitted. Rav Moshe's opinion on this issue was not accepted. Additionally, even if you believe that Rav Moshe's opinion is binding on this issue, the fact that people do not abide by it says nothing about halacha changing or adjusting to the times as you quoted Rabbi Gindi to say. Practices do not establish halacha. Anytime a minhag is in violation of a halacha, the minhag is nullified and considered a segulah to get accepted into gehinnom quickly (as minhag is the same letters as gehinnom).[1]

The issue of trying to save the teens who are going to be discouraged from keeping Shabbat altogether because of its "difficulty" is also fraught with misconceptions. The essential idea is correct and deeply rooted. However, decisions of when to relax a halacha temporarily or permitting something for the purposes of kiruv are only subject to the decision of great rabbinic leaders of the generation. This was certainly overlooked and manipulated to serve their cause without consent.

Lastly, the biggest mistake Mr. Goldstein commits is that the issues here are one of non-halachic status, such as Hashkafa or normative comfortable practice. This is a terrible mistake. The issue being raised is that this is a horrific destruction of the sanctity of Shabbat. This is 100% halachic. The Gemara[2] records a case in which the Bet Din stoned a person who rode a horse on Shabbat, even though the actual prohibition is only rabbinic, because he flagrantly desecrated the sanctity of Shabbat. This issue is a very serious one and this definition as well is determined by the leading rabbinic figures of the generation. [3]

Rabbi Fink raises an important point regarding how the Shabbos App reflects on our Shabbos experience. The view that not being able to our phones is a "problem" and the app is a "solution" for that is an unfortunate approach taken by those who do not properly appreciate the sanctity of Shabbat. Shabbat is a day for spiritual uplift and if someone really experiences this there's no "problem" that needs to be solved, it is a wonderful holy day for inspiration and spiritual activities.


  1. Rabbenu Tam (responsa of Baalei HaTosfot n. 11) writes that some practices which clash with the halacha are not to be followed and about those minhagim it is said that the minhag spelled backwards is gehinnom. It is cited by the Maharam Mintz (responsa 66), Aseh Lecha Rav 3:21, and Yabia Omer 3:29.
  2. Sanhedrin 46a
  3. See Rav Hershel Schachter's response to partnership minyanim in which he writes how it is incorrect to believe that a shaylah can be answered just by analyzing the letter of the law. The spirit of the law is part of the law as well. That spirit is decided upon by the gedolim.

Opening the Refrigerator

Halachawhiz wrote: Since the introduction of more advanced systems such as the auto defrost, microprocessors and automated air vents many poskim recommend using a timer with refrigerators and only open the door when the power is off. This is the prevalent custom in Eretz Yisrael today. See the Refrigerators on Shabbos page for a larger discussion of this topic.