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

Posted in 17 - Electricity and Electrical Appliances | Comments Off on 01. Turning on Electric Lights and Appliances

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

Posted in 17 - Electricity and Electrical Appliances | Comments Off on 02. Is Using Electricity a Torah Prohibition or a Rabbinic Prohibition?

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

Posted in 17 - Electricity and Electrical Appliances | Comments Off on 03. Electrical Appliances That Produce Sound (Telephones and Microphones)

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

Posted in 17 - Electricity and Electrical Appliances | Comments Off on 04. Elevators

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

Posted in 17 - Electricity and Electrical Appliances | Comments Off on 05. Using Electricity that Was Produced on Shabbat

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

Posted in 17 - Electricity and Electrical Appliances | Comments Off on 06. Timers

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

Posted in 17 - Electricity and Electrical Appliances | Comments Off on 07. Thermostat Controls

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

Posted in 17 - Electricity and Electrical Appliances | Comments Off on 08. Opening a Refrigerator or Oven, and Entering an Air-Conditioned Room

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

Posted in 17 - Electricity and Electrical Appliances | Comments Off on 09. When the Refrigerator Light Bulb was not Disconnected

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

Posted in 17 - Electricity and Electrical Appliances | Comments Off on 10. Dishwashers

11. Automatic Doors

One may not approach a door that automatically opens when it senses someone near it. One who does so is viewed as directly triggering the electricity that opens the door. It is immaterial whether the system works through floor sensors, … Continue reading

Posted in 17 - Electricity and Electrical Appliances | Comments Off on 11. Automatic Doors

12. When Entering a Room Causes the Lights to Turn On

One may not enter a room where doing so automatically turns on the lights or air conditioning. While one might claim that he did not intend to turn on the lights or air conditioning by entering the room, the fact … Continue reading

Posted in 17 - Electricity and Electrical Appliances | Comments Off on 12. When Entering a Room Causes the Lights to Turn On

13. Intercoms, Security Monitors, and Doorbells at Building Entrances

Some buildings use closed-circuit television (CCTV), in which surveillance cameras transmit images to monitors. A non-Jewish security guard stationed at the entrance keeps an eye on the people who come and go by watching the monitors. When people whom the … Continue reading

Posted in 17 - Electricity and Electrical Appliances | Comments Off on 13. Intercoms, Security Monitors, and Doorbells at Building Entrances

14. Motion Detectors in Public Domains and in the Home

One may walk where security cameras record images of passersby. Since the pedestrian has no interest in being videoed, he is not held responsible for his image being recorded, and there is no prohibition. Similarly, one may pass through a … Continue reading

Posted in 17 - Electricity and Electrical Appliances | Comments Off on 14. Motion Detectors in Public Domains and in the Home

15. Security Systems

When a home security system is necessary for protection against thieves, there are two possible ways to set it up in a halakhically acceptable fashion. The best way is to use a timer. One may set the timer to arm … Continue reading

Posted in 17 - Electricity and Electrical Appliances | Comments Off on 15. Security Systems

16. Turning Off an Alarm That Went Off on Shabbat

If an alarm goes off on Shabbat because one touched one’s car or entered one’s house carelessly, what should be done? If the alarm goes off during the day and will stop relatively soon, one may not take any action … Continue reading

Posted in 17 - Electricity and Electrical Appliances | Comments Off on 16. Turning Off an Alarm That Went Off on Shabbat

17. Alarm Clocks, Watches, and Digital Photo Frames

If an electric alarm clock goes off on Shabbat, one may not turn it off, because doing so involves the use of electricity. If the noise is disturbing, the clock may be wrapped in blankets and moved where it will … Continue reading

Posted in 17 - Electricity and Electrical Appliances | Comments Off on 17. Alarm Clocks, Watches, and Digital Photo Frames

18. Grama Solutions to Halakhic Problems on Shabbat

Several organizations specialize in halakha and technology, devoting themselves to engineering electrical appliances to turn on via grama so that they may be used in cases of need. One such method is called “removing an impediment” (hasarat ha-mone’a). A second … Continue reading

Posted in 17 - Electricity and Electrical Appliances | Comments Off on 18. Grama Solutions to Halakhic Problems on Shabbat