Chapter: 17 – Electricity and Electrical Appliances

01. Turning on Electric Lights and Appliances

It is prohibited by Torah law to turn on an electric light bulb or activate an electric heating element, because when the bulb is turned on or a heating element activated, the filament incandesces (see above, 4:5 and n. 3, … Continue reading

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02. Is Using Electricity a Torah Prohibition or a Rabbinic Prohibition?

One may not activate electrical appliances and devices such as telephones, microphones, alarms, doorbells, fans, air conditioners, and computers on Shabbat. Even if these appliances do not contain an incandescent filament or heating element and do not perform any of … Continue reading

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03. Electrical Appliances That Produce Sound (Telephones and Microphones)

As we have seen, the prohibition on using electrical appliances on Shabbat includes microphones and telephones. Even if a phone is in use before Shabbat, or if a microphone is turned on before Shabbat, one may not speak on the … Continue reading

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04. Elevators

One may not operate an elevator on Shabbat. Pressing the elevator buttons involves Torah prohibitions or, minimally, rabbinic prohibitions. However, some “Shabbat elevators” are set to operate automatically, meaning that they are set before Shabbat to stop on every floor … Continue reading

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05. Using Electricity that Was Produced on Shabbat

Power supply is a vital need of the State of Israel all week, including Shabbat. Interrupting or impairing the supply can endanger human life. Hospitals are full of devices that depend on the supply of power, and even in private … Continue reading

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06. Timers

Shabbat prohibitions become forbidden at the onset of Shabbat, but before Shabbat begins, one may take actions whose effects will continue into Shabbat. A prominent example of this is using a timer (“Shabbos clock”). Such timers are connected to the … Continue reading

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07. Thermostat Controls

The laws of thermostat controls are the same as those of an electric timer. Some poskim maintain that one may not adjust a thermostat. According to R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and others, one may change the setting if it will … Continue reading

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08. Opening a Refrigerator or Oven, and Entering an Air-Conditioned Room

If opening the door of a refrigerator causes an electrical event to occur, one may not open the door on Shabbat. Most refrigerators have an electric light inside that goes on automatically when the refrigerator door is opened. Thus, if … Continue reading

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09. When the Refrigerator Light Bulb was not Disconnected

If one did not remove or disable the light bulb of a refrigerator before Shabbat, he may not open or close the door on Shabbat, as this will turn the light on or off. If one needs the food in … Continue reading

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10. Dishwashers

A dishwasher may not be activated on Shabbat. This is because one may not use electricity, and additionally because the dishwasher heats water to wash the dishes. This heating is a transgression of Bishul. One who always clears off dirty … Continue reading

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