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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Shabbat Gadgets

I thought this was interesting:
Observing Shabbat but have to call your grandmother? Have to have a cup of coffee when you come back from weekend services? The halachic institute for science and technology has just the thing for you.

A group of engineers at the halachic institute, which specializes in Halacha-friendly technological developments, has come up with several new technological breakthroughs designed to ease the religious public's life, while keeping with all Shabbat-related mitzvahs.

The gadgets include, among others, a Shabbat air-conditioner, a Shabbat phone and a kosher, Shabbat espresso machine.

Many of the institute's developments are already in production, both in Israel and abroad, and several have been introduced to the public at a special show arranged by the Manufacturers Association of Israel.

These devices, said the MAI, have a potential $10 million a year market."We have gadgets that are meant to make life easier, such as the coffee machine and on the other hand, we have things like the Shabbat phone, that could help people in medical need," said Dov Zioni of the halachic institute.

One of the show's biggest hits was the Shabbat pen, which uses self-dissolving ink that disappears 24 hours after writing. "We're not talking about life and death situations here, when one's need to desecrate Shabbat to save a life goes without saying," added Zioni, "but for all those little grey areas we all encounter in our day-to-day lives."

"The industry finally realized the financial potential of developing products specifically for the ultra-Orthodox public," Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai, who visited the show and was visibly pleased, told Ynet.

"We get to develop different technologies, create jobs and observe Shabbat. It's a win-win situation," he added.
I can't imagine that these products are going to gain much popularity in the ultra-orthodox community, as trade minister Yishai suggests in the article. I just don't see invisible ink pens or Shabbat phones making their way into Charedi homes for regular use on Shabbat and Yom Tov. That said, the gadgets would probably prove very useful in the army, or for hospital or Hatzalah use. Even though, as the article notes, using a phone or a pen isn't an issue in Pikuach Nefesh (life-saving) situations, it would be interesting to see these products in use for situations that are not clearly life-or-death. The products might also hold interest for those who are less observant, and would consider using a non-Shabbat phone or pen on Shabbat. In a case such as that, why not use one specially made to skirt the prohibitions of Shabbat?

51 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently not interesting enough to garner nary a response.

7:41 PM  
Anonymous JoeSettler said...

Jameel wrote about this in depth a few times. It's practically old news!

5:41 AM  
Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

There was a new article about "Shabbat Robots for Chareidim" in this past Tuesday's Yediot. Will try to find the link...

9:51 AM  
Blogger -suitepotato- said...

"A group of engineers at the halachic institute, which specializes in Halacha-friendly technological developments, has come up with several new technological breakthroughs designed to ease the religious public's life, while keeping with all Shabbat-related mitzvahs."

I am now visualizing elderly rabbis in lab coats in a cross between a public service announcement from the fifties and an infomercial.

Thank you for my weekly giggle quota fulfillment.

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Blogger Anders Branderud said...

Writing qodesh things on Shabat has never been forbidden by logical melakhah:
http://bloganders.blogspot.com/2010/06/shabat-and-what-constitutes-melakhah-on.html

Important to remember also is:
It is a mitzwah (directive) of Torah to make havdalah between qodesh and khol (ordinary, secular, profane) and therefore it is forbidden to do khol things on Shabat, which is a day that is qodesh.

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Blogger Anders Branderud said...

Writing qodesh things on Shabat has never been forbidden by logical melakhah:
http://bloganders.blogspot.com/2010/06/shabat-and-what-constitutes-melakhah-on.html

Important to remember also is:
It is a mitzwah (directive) of Torah to make havdalah between qodesh and khol (ordinary, secular, profane) and therefore it is forbidden to do khol things on Shabat, which is a day that is qodesh.

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