I’ll keep this post concise while addressing the key issues concerning technology on Shabbat. It seems that there are primarily three concerns: Fire, Building, and Writing/Erasing. However, I’d like to present a nuanced perspective that challenges the blanket prohibition of electrical appliances.
Fire: While fire was a more significant concern in the past, modern technology has reduced its impact, mainly limited to incandescent light bulbs and vehicle ignition, which are becoming less problematic.
Building: Comparing completing a circuit to the final blow with a hammer may not be entirely fitting. Completing a circuit is more akin to closing a door or window, and turning on a tap (which also uses electricity) can be seen as merely creating a flow.
Writing/Erasing: Devices with illuminated displays may not necessarily violate the prohibition on writing since these digital representations are not considered real script. Complex halachic nuances are involved here, but for this discussion, we’ll focus on the broader impact of electricity.
In summary, there seems to be no compelling reason to prohibit electrical appliances outright, especially given how pervasive technology has become in our lives. Avoiding electricity entirely is increasingly impractical, with faucets and other essential tools relying on it.
Additionally, an overly strict approach to electricity may unintentionally alienate people from Judaism, particularly the younger generation. Many find it challenging to observe Shabbat with such stringent restrictions and may end up disregarding other aspects of Shabbat as well.
It’s crucial to reconsider the purpose of a gedar, or fence, in halachic practices. Are the current restrictions on electricity striking the right balance between tradition and modern life? Are we adequately educating individuals about halachot to prevent transgressions without overly burdensome restrictions?
Perhaps it’s time to reexamine and update our approach, considering the benefits technology can bring to enhance Shabbat experiences and foster a more inclusive community.
I welcome your insights and thoughts on this matter, and let me know if I’ve missed any critical points that we should address in further detail.