Sep 2, 2008

Kashering Everything!

There was a great article in The New York Times yesterday about technology and advancements in making life easier in the Orthodox community when it comes to Shabbos. The Zomet Institution and Kosher Innovations have both managed to create a host of interesting ways to apply technology on the Sabbath, including a lamp that you don't have to turn off but merely has a twisting shade to cover up the light and an observant alarm clock. Interesting and news to me is that Whirlpool and Viking have put Sabbath mode settings on most of their ovens, refrigerators, and even wine cellars. I thought those were special-order kinds of things!

But it's things like this that I just don't get:

Zomet created the metal detectors used to screen worshippers at the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site, in a manner that uses electricity in a way not prohibited on the Sabbath. It also developed pens that use ink that disappears after a few days, based on a rabbinic interpretation that only forbids permanent writing, and Sabbath phones, which are dialed in an indirect manner with special buttons and a microprocessor.
I mean, how can you use electricity "in a way not prohibited on the Sabbath" ...? Can someone explain that one to me? I'm terribly curious! I think the Sabbath phones are useful, as the article says that the Israeli army uses them for soldiers, which makes sense. Said Rabbi Herschel Schachter about such innovations: “if you make the burden slightly lighter, it’s O.K. The Torah doesn’t want to make life impossible.” At any rate, an interesting article to check out if you ask me.

Oh! And those of you who were wondering how my date went ... it went quite well. Here are some pictures for your viewing enjoyment. I think I'm hooked on letterboxing, though, because it's so nifty. I just need to figure out what I want my stamp of choice to be that represents me. Oh what to choose ...

1 comments:

Ilana said...

Re: your question about electricity.

From what I understand, electricity can be used if not "ignited", i.e., like you can benefit from lighting in your apartment left on throughout the entire shabbat, so to can you use other forms of electricity. I know there is a shabbat microphone used at some "traditional" and conservative synagogues that utilize a technology from this Israeli institute which constantly projects, i.e talking into the microphone does not turn it on, as it is always on. (not only the "on" switch, but the microphone system is constantly projecting, even if no one is speaking into it). Its a tricky thing. Of course, not all Jews abide by this.

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