Published On: Sun, Apr 19th, 2015

KosherSwitch Lets Jews Use Lights on Shabbat — Or Does It?

If there is enough of a delay between pushing the light switch and the light actually going on and off then it may be usable on the Sabbath.

KosehrSwitch

A new device called the KosherSwitch promises to let Sabbath observing Jews use electric lights on Shabbat. But is it really “Kosher” to use or is this a fraud?

Use of electricity is one of the many prohibitions on the Jewish Sabbath. Strict observers will only turn on and off lights with timers set before sundown Friday night.

The advent of electricity did, however, make some things easier for Shabbat observers. For example, electric urns can be used to keep water hot all day long as heating water on Shabbat is a big no no.

Recently a Shabbat App was released that claims to allow Sabbath observers to use their electronic cell phones on Shabbat. But many rabbis said that it is not really usable under Jewish law.

Now there is KosherSwitch, whose developers maintain has received the approval of senior rabbis known as “Poskim.” But did it really?

Its makers say that their innovative patented technology permits the on-demand control of electricity on Shabbat, while “making Sabbath desecration (Chilul Shabbos) impossible.”

The brainchild of the company’s founder Menashe Kalati, who had more than 25 years of experience in technology, the device employs a complete electro-mechanical isolation, and “adds several layers of Halachic uncertainty, randomness, and delays, such that according to Jewish law, a user’s action is not considered to have caused a given reaction.”

With regular timers one can only decide between which hours of the day a certain light in their home will go on and off over the course of Shabbat. But the KosherSwitch allows for more random use. We will spare you all of the hard to follow details of Jewish law, suffice it to say, if there is enough of a delay between an action and the effect caused by that action then it may not necessarily violate the laws of Sabbath observance.

However, many rabbis have now come out to declare KosherSwitch a fraud.

Yisrael Rosen, head of the Zomet Institute which develops special electronic products for use on Shabbat, declared in a statement, “This item was recycled from 2010 and already then denials and renunciation by great rabbinic authorities were published regarding everyday use for this product. No Orthodox rabbi, Ashkenazi or Sephardi, has permitted this ‘Gramma’ method for pure convenience.”

People close to some of the rabbis listed on its website have also been quoted as saying that they did not actually give the product their endorsements.

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