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’d’Rabbanan (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 “brakes”—which do not involve the use of electricity—that 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 d’Oraysa (Biblical) or d’Rabbanan (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 v’shalom.
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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