Apr 26, 2015
2 Rabbis Prohibit 'Kosher Switch'

2 Chabad rabbis joined other leading poskim in prohibiting the new Kosher Switch invention as not Kosher for use.

By COLlive reporter

2 Chabad rabbis joined a growing list of halachic authorities that are labeling the Kosher Switch, an invention used to control electricity on Shabbos, as anything but kosher.

Rabbi Dovid Schochet, President of the Toronto Rabbinical Council and a member of Vaad Rabbonei Lubavitch - Central Committee of Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbis in the United States and Canada, stated "by no means should this be used on Shabbos."

In a letter written on Thursday, 3 Iyar 5775, Rabbi Schochet writes: "Although they claim that (the operation) is random, in reality the fact is that within a short while there is a sure connection of an electric circuit."

He added that he feels there is a 'contempt' of Shabbos in this method and that "who knows where this will lead to" and "eventually there will be catering services cooking on Shabbos with a Kosher Switch."

This ruling joins a similar one signed by leading haredi poskim detailing the flaws in claims that the device is permitted for use on Shabbos, as reported on Yeshiva World News.

Among those who signed that prohibition are Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, a senior halachic consultant for the Orthodox Union (OU); Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, Rosh Yeshiva of the Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem in New York; Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, Rosh Yeshiva of the Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia; and Rabbi Shlomo Eliyahu Miller, Rosh Kollel Avreichim Institute in Toronto.

VIDEO: How the Kosher Switch works

In addition, Rabbi Yosef Braun, member of the Badatz of Crown Heights, wrote the following under the title "Is the KosherSwitch or Shabbos App Kosher?"

"There are a number of modern innovations by technological companies that are designed to facilitate the observance of Shabbos in hospitals and other medical settings to avoid serious Torah transgressions.

"Some of these innovations are based on the principal of grama, whereby a prohibited melachah is not performed directly, but rather in an indirect manner, and therefore forbidden only mi'dRabbanan (Rabbinically), a prohibition which often does not apply in a medical setting.

"In many instances these innovations might bypass the issue of grama too; they are based on the concept of meni'as hameni'ah (preventing the prevention)not actively doing something, but merely preventing a device from acting as a preventer.

"The device is designed to do the melacha by default and the user simply removes the "brakeswhich do not involve the use of electricitythat were preventing the device from doing the desired task. Alternatively, these innovations are sometimes based on the principle of hamshachas matzav (extending the status quo): instead of opening or closing an electrical circuit they simply retain the status quo of the device. In other words, here we have the flip side, with the user inserting "brakes" to prevent the device from turning off by default.

"There are some individuals, perhaps well-intentioned, who are marketing such innovations to the general public. Unfortunately, in many cases their use is an outright desecration of Shabbos. The concept of zilzul Shabbos (denigrating Shabbos) is not merely a minor meta-halachic concern, but a very serious halachic issue.

"Sometimes dOraysa (Biblical) or dRabbanan (Rabbinical) prohibitions may be involved. In fact, in some cases these innovations do not even fit the criteria of grama. The concept of grama is very complex, and is beyond the scope of this article.

"Since these innovations are new, before making use of any of these devices their modus operandi needs to be checked out and then a posek (an expert rav) should be consulted to ascertain that we are not being nichshal with chilul Shabbos, inadvertently violating Shabbos, chas vshalom.

AUDIO: Can't see player? click here
Rabbi Sholom Shuchat, Dayan in the Beth Din of the Agudas Harabonim, delivers a fascinating Shiur about the use of electricity on Shabbos, and the status of the new invention, the KosherSwitch

Most Read Most Comments

Opinions and Comments
Yossi A
from Rabbi Schochat to Rabbi Braun and everyone in between.... agrees it's not kosher.
(4/26/2015 3:24:56 PM)
i just read a whole article in zman
and it said its allowed?
(4/26/2015 3:28:46 PM)
No 1
I dont see any difference between a Shabbos elevator and a kosher switch
(4/26/2015 3:38:20 PM)
You write: "2 Chabad rabbis have joined leading poskim..." Why do you say that they joined leading poskim? Are Chabad rabbis not themselves leading poskim? Probably, what you meant to say was "2 Chabad rabbis have joined OTHER leading poskim..."
(4/26/2015 3:44:20 PM)
Can someone explain how this invention is more zilzul d'shabbos than:
1. Crock pot
2. Timer switch
3. Eiruv for a city
4. Shabbos belt

And once we're at it, why is it more offensive than:
1. Heter iska
2. Selling fields before shmita
3. Heat lamp for pas Yisroel
4. A thousand other halachic loop holes used by many.
(4/26/2015 3:49:41 PM)
(4/26/2015 3:58:17 PM)
Another question
Why hasn't a single rov come out and said what the inventor needs to do to make this thing right? Isn't he trying to do a good thing? Isn't helping Jews observe Shabbos a good thing? Why are we only getting negativity from all of these rabbis?

I love Rabbi Manis' letter because he didn't discuss Halacha, he simply said it's a good thing and it deserves to be supported. Why can't more people be positive?
(4/26/2015 4:05:49 PM)
Where does Rabbi Sholom Shuchat give his halacha Shuir? CH?
(4/26/2015 4:15:18 PM)
Finally our Rabonim speak up
It's about time the chilul chabad stops and we show that we know what we are saying and we are on the same page as leading poskim.
(4/26/2015 4:19:01 PM)
Finally there is Achdus amongst all rabbonim
(4/26/2015 4:20:47 PM)
Rabbi Berel Levin will be giving a shiur at 7:30 tonight in Empire Shteibel on this topic.
(4/26/2015 4:22:59 PM)
Thank you, #3!!
Thank you, #3 for your incisive Halachik analysis
(4/26/2015 4:23:15 PM)
All chabad poskim say assur...
In other words, despite how some news org, wish to present the issue, all chabad Rabonim who actually are experts in Halacha say that it is assur...
(4/26/2015 4:33:15 PM)
Yossi A
To #3
Come tonight to Empire Shtibel you'll get all your questions answered.

To #7
That's exactly the problem. This clock had more issues then there are holes in a piece of Swiss cheese.
(4/26/2015 5:18:05 PM)
Its good to hear a sound voice amongst all these speculators....
(4/26/2015 5:35:25 PM)
It's so easy to say "no"
To any innovation that exploits loopholes
To some it is so scary to allow something that can help others save money
I'm going to purchase this switch and use it
(4/26/2015 5:55:16 PM)
to #5
The difference is you are not taking an action ON SHABBOS to make it happen. You are allowed to light a fire before Shabbos for use on Shabbos. In fact that's exactly what we are supposed to do--to prepare before Shabbos for Shabbos. Only on Shabbos is it forbidden to do melacha.
(4/26/2015 6:04:39 PM)
To #17
That doesn't answer the issue of eiruv or shabbos belt.
(4/26/2015 6:35:01 PM)
to 16
I think its a chutzpa to reply to a rav's psak that way. You want to go against the Torah then the least you could do is do it quietly and privately. standing up ans proclaiming I will go against halachah is a disgusting thing to do.
(4/26/2015 6:37:33 PM)
To #8
The Shiur was given in Mayan Yisroel Flatbush. He gives a Shiur every Sunday morning there.
(4/26/2015 6:41:39 PM)
nothing new
Rabbis made it possible to work on Shabbos, yes work on Shabbos and get paid MONEY.
Then they find a way around so you can get paid MONEY for the work you do ON Shabbos.
Maybe if there was financial gain for all the Rabbis, they would then support the Shabbos Switch.
Thus is all about MAKING MONEY, Not about our Torah.
(4/26/2015 7:07:12 PM)
Sholom Shucat shiur is GESHMAK
A very talented teacher! I thoroughly enjoyed.
(4/26/2015 7:14:13 PM)
To # 5
Assuming you are sincere and due to this being a platform for limited discussion, let's deal with one issue you raised, Eiruv.

An Eiruv can only allow one to carry in an area where Min Hatorah one would be allowed, but is prevented to do so by an Issur D'rabbonon, in which case the same Rabbis that prohibited carrying, provided a method which allows it, Eiruv.

The Chachomim however, cannot provide a method that will allow a person to perform an act which is an issur D'oraisoh. A melocochoh happens which "happens" by way of G'rama becomes an issur D'rabbonon and can, in certain situations be waived by the same Rabbonon. However, if it does not meet the criteria to be considered a G'rama, it remains an issur D'oraisoh.
(4/26/2015 7:37:06 PM)
to 2
this is a different device from the one reported in Zman

this s a manual switch the Zman one is an automatic timer
(4/26/2015 7:40:33 PM)
Rabbonim say it's assur
Apparently even the rabbonim who seem to endorse it in the video were only agreeing in the case of a choleh--but that part was cut off. In the ami and Mishpacha magazines this week it was discussed extensively.
(4/26/2015 8:02:59 PM)
#s 21 and 23
21, comments like yours are the biggest problem with this entire issue. Let's cut out the cynicism and chutzpa.

23, I was not asking about the issur or heter. I was asking about the point that so many of the rabonim seem to keep harping on, which is zilzul d'shabbos. There are svoros both ways on the actual melachos that may or may not be involved, and I get that. But I don't understand how this switch is more in conflict with the spirit of shabbos that the examples mentioned.
(4/26/2015 8:31:12 PM)
If you haven't yet, you should watch the video posted by #6. Very levelheaded and mature - both midos otherwise lacking in this whole flap.
(4/26/2015 8:34:32 PM)
number two
besides or what #24 sid, at the end of the day zman is not a lubavitcher publication
(4/26/2015 9:11:01 PM)
to # 5(#26)
Point well taken.
Some points to keep in mind;
Introducing an inovation which will drastically change the way Shabbos is observed, is subject to a greater degree of scrutiny. The discussion is whether to permit something which is prohibited, not the reverse.
The crockpot, as an example is not a new concept, it is a modern scenario of an age old idea. The "Switch" is an entirely new idea.
(4/26/2015 9:35:10 PM)
Klal Yisroel has Ruach HaKodesh
There where many questions that came up with the electricity revolution, for example:
The Microphone on Shabbos
There was a serious machlokos about it, big Gaonim said that it was mutar (I won't name them clearly but for those who need to know, this acronym will suffice: RJB"S).
And much more.
The question in all these thing what can lead to Chillul Shabos and what can ruin the spirit of Shabbos.
There is a Ruach HaKodesh in klal Yisroel and certain things were accepted as asur and certain thing were not accepted.
It seems that the switch is not being accepted by the klal even though there are reasons to be matir it.
Hakol BiDey SHamayim
(4/26/2015 9:41:08 PM)
shabbos belt, crockpot and eruv
It's actually very simple: a shabbos belt is an item of clothing, and the key becomes a part of the beged. The crockpot is turned on before shabbos, and isn't tampered with on shabbos at all. As a matter of fact you can't set a timer to turn it on on shabbos. Eruv makes the whole neighborhood a reshus hayochid. This switch is causing an action to happen ON SHABBOS, unlike any of the above. Case closed. Now go to your bookshelf and learn some shulchan Aruch so you don't need COL to learn halacha.
(4/26/2015 10:02:49 PM)
to #31
once again, you're missing the point of the question (and the tone of your response helps me understand why...)

I'm asking specifically about the idea of zilzul b'shabos that many of the rabonim cite, NOT the melachos.

You see this is what I am seeing in this entire parsha: a lot of knee-jerk emotional monologue and not a lot of rational dialog. (#23 is a very welcome exception.)

The good news for you, #31, is that you're in good company. So many of the gedolim and rabonim are doing the same thing.

So my question is, when did Chabad become part of the mainstream uber-religious, machmir-competing frum world?

I thought our focus was supposed to be helping klal yisroel observe mitzvos. if this is true, then our reaction to this should be, "how can we help make this invention kosher?" and not jump to passel it.

Like the old saying goes, "yedder rov meg zine a meikil ubber meg nisht zine a kal. un yedder rov meg zine a machmir ubber meg nisht zine a chamor."
(4/26/2015 11:14:13 PM)
To # 18 what I understand my looking how this switch works Basically this lightswitch you're doing a melacha on shabbos
(4/26/2015 11:14:41 PM)
to #3
The Rebbe said in regards to a shabbos elevator which R' Moshe Fienstein gave the heter on that R' Moshe does know halacha but he (the Rebbe) knows halacha and elevators and does not agree on it at all.
(4/26/2015 11:43:26 PM)
how come the manufacturer says nothing about the organization in Eretz Yisroel that gives the ok on different technology that is used on Shabos ?? .. I would think such a thing would get the ok from this organization like the UL organization gives on products
(4/26/2015 11:47:15 PM)
From the wording quoted in regards to opening a door in front of a lit candle, it sounds like the concern is specifically that the wind will immediately start blowing as you open the door, which would unexpectedly cause a case of ". But in our case, as far as I understand, the switch turns red for the duration of the cycle so that you're never put in a situation where the light can turn on instantly.

Of course there is the point, mentioned elsewhere, that it's definitely in our case, which makes the whole " discussion moot.
(4/26/2015 11:49:50 PM)
So Glad #3 #15 anf a bunch of others think u know ur stuff to pass judgement. Bottom line u have to trust ur rav or u can do Whatever u want pretty much based on ur own analytical brillisn't mind.
Bottom line; the rav determined the law
(4/26/2015 11:53:43 PM)
Number 31
Lol, awesome shiur well needed for #2
(4/27/2015 4:53:11 AM)
OK 31
You flush the toilet, you turn on the faucet to wash Hamotzi, the ELECTRIC WATER METER measures how much water you used. Why is that permissible?
(4/27/2015 4:54:28 AM)
to number 18
in reply the difference with a an eruv and shabbos belt is quite big..the melacha assur is to kindle/activate a light on shabbos pure and simple .Im glad the rabbis are united on this.
(4/27/2015 5:40:16 AM)
i never heard what you wrote
the rebbe said about microphone not the elevator

but it is funny to see comments here from people that dont know sholchan aruch and thy are speaking againts the rabonim that do know shulchan aruch

if you are a frum yid you know that you need to hear the opinion off a person that knows shulchan aruch very very well
(4/27/2015 9:26:41 AM)
to 31
From the letter of the Rabbonim it is clear that the basis of the prohibiton is the concern of Melochoh, Zilzul Shabbos is an additional, but no less important halachik concern. The Chabad standard is , and though there may be a need of relying on a leniency for the benefit of individuals, the standard is; , beyond "mainstream" practice.
(4/27/2015 9:38:44 AM)
To #39
Neither gas nor water meters are not electric for a very simple reason. They have to function while power is off for any reason. They are electrically active when the utility collects the information, not in the course of ordinary use.
(4/27/2015 10:14:54 AM)
Zilzul Shabbos
The Magen Avraham and Mishnah Berura write that one is not allowed to carry a walking stick outside for no reason on Shabbos, even if there is an Eruv, because of Zilzul Shabbos (OC 301:17).

In short, even if something is technically permissible, it may be rabbinically forbidden because it degrades the spirit of Shabbos.

Perhaps electrical switches have become so synonymous with chillul Shabbos that it will never be permissible to use them, even if a technically permissible one (in terms of melocho) were invented, because of zilzul Shabbos.

Another concern - raised by R' Schochet shlit"a and others - is that this technology will be applied to things other than lights that would involve far worse zilzul Shabbos. Indeed, these very same concerns were raised with regard to timer switches, which is why R' Moshe Feinstein ztz"l limited their use to lights only (although many rabbonim also permit their use for other limited applications such as air conditioning).

All said, the issue of zilzul Shabbos is cited as a secondary factor in the prohibition. The main reason remains that its use constitutes a grama (at best) and a p'sik reisha, as explained in the rulings published above.
(4/27/2015 11:26:39 AM)
Setting up a mouse trap
Setting up a trap to capture an animal is forbidden on Shabbos even though you may or may not capture an animal over the whole Shabbos. Kal vechomer the switch is will definitely cause the light to go on in a few moments. Would be forbidden.
(4/27/2015 11:36:07 AM)
time delay makes no difference.
whether there is a delay of one minute, or a delay of one month, it's all the same, you are doing an action on Shabbos that you are not allowed to do in the first place, premeditated. Expecting a certain result. You want it to happen. It's going to happen. And if it happens, you got what you wanted. The problem is that you knowingly triggered this system on the day of Shabbos itself.
(4/27/2015 1:29:53 PM)
Rabbis please take note.
next time you think you have a halachic breakthrough, hold your opinion, until you verify with actually real experienced rabbis, in halacha, like heads of Beth din and leading dyanim.
(4/27/2015 1:43:20 PM)
Shabbos is Shabbos
Doing stuff like this can actually lead to doing something completely prohibited on Shabbos!
(4/27/2015 7:39:10 PM)
The World is Flat
My driveway is flat. My roof is flat. Therefore the world is flat.

Crock pots are okay. An eiruv is okay. Therefore a "Kosher" switch is okay.

Makes perfect sense.

Following such logic:

My neighbour is a fool. My cousin is a fool. Therefore I too must be a fool.
(4/27/2015 10:37:13 PM)
It is okay to use Kosher Switch
On weekdays,
(4/28/2015 12:35:56 AM)
to 48
It's already completely prohibited.
(4/28/2015 3:45:48 AM)
@ 42
Mekorvon laTorah, bring them to. The Torah.
The Rebbe never C"V lowered the Torah's standards.
That is Hashem's will. razon Hashem.
Lift up the Yid, to the Torah.
(4/28/2015 3:54:19 AM)
to #50
It okay to use on weekdays when set to weekday mode and on shabbat when set to shabat mode. There are examples on the website. This is a great break through and should be installed in all homes.
(4/28/2015 4:21:51 PM)
Rabbi halpern
Rabbi halpern in Israel said it s assur unless used for medical or safety
(4/29/2015 10:36:38 AM)
After reading this, you would all agree its not Assur.
The real question should be is it more assur than a regular light switch. Would you rather have a regular light switch in the bathroom where one can accidentally desecrate Shabbat? Would you rather have a switch where a guest, an absent minded child (Or adult), or other situations would do chilul Shabbat? One doesn't HAVE to use this switch. But if one ends up using a switch, rest assure, one would want to use this switch. Add to this situation where a not so charedi family like mine can use this in our home to allow us to be more mindful of Shabbat, and its a no brainer: This is an invention that regardless of the halchatic MAKHMIRIM, should be promoted - although not necessarily used.
(4/30/2015 11:42:51 PM)
turn it off?
the whole video said how you can turn the light on not turn the light, the point of a switch would be both functions sounds like a waist of time for me, we need the light on friday night then turned off, not off then turned on when its light out.
Whoever invented this thing is confused to say the least
(5/1/2015 1:58:07 AM)
To #55
First of all, you can buy Shabbat switch protectors at your local hardware or Judaica store so you wont accidentally desecrate Shabbat. This will help you and your family be more mindful of Shabbat. Another way to be more mindful of Shabbat is to learn the laws of Shabbat. There are now translations and summaries in English of these laws.
Secondly, what should be considered machmir or meikil is up to a Rabbi who is knowledgeable in both the halachot and the technology involved in this device. Therefore, according to halachah, even for someone who is meikil, one is required to ask his own Rabbi if it is permitted for him to use this device. If his own Rabbi is not knowledgeable enough in this area, then one should ask his Rabbi or his mashpia (spiritual mentor) which Rabbis pesak (halachic decision) he should follow, because ones own Rabbi or mashpia is more fit to determine which Rabbi is closer to his own level of leniency or strictness. They can guide him about better understanding the pesak and accepting it, if it goes against his own feeling about it. Many times a non-expert cannot fully grasp the complexities involved with subtle details of both the halachot and the technology.
(5/3/2015 7:38:35 AM)
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