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Electricity on Shabbat

998 bytes added, 08:45, 17 July 2016
Using a light bulb for Shabbat Candles and Havdala
==Using a light bulb for [[Shabbat]] Candles and Havdala==
# Common consensus among the halachic authorities is to consider electricity as fire for the purpose of [[Shabbat]] observance. Just as lighting a fire is a Biblical violation of [[Shabbat]], so too is the flipping of a switch which turns on a light.<ref>Beit Yitzchak Y.D. 1:120, Achiezer 3:60, Melamed L’Hoil O.C. 49, Tzitz Eliezer 3:17, Chelkat Yaakov 1:52, Yesodei Yeshurun 5:147. Chazon Ish Orach Chaim 50:9 says that the problem is the melacha of [[cooking]]. On the other hand, Maharsham 2:246, Chasdei Avot pp. 43-75; Yam Gadol OC 26, Levush Mordechai OC page 47-51 all say that turning on a lit switch is only forbidden on a rabbinic level. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach Minchat Shlomo page 103-105 addresses this opinion at length and concludes that they are in error. </ref>As such, many families are particular to place a covering over the light switches in the home in order to ensure that they are not switched on or off accidentally over the course of [[Shabbat]].<ref>Shemirat [[Shabbat]] Kehilchata 13:32</ref># This concept has broad halachic ramifications and applications. For example, in the unfortunate event that a woman is without candles on a Friday afternoon, she may be permitted to simply turn on the common electric lighting that normally lights up the home and even recite the usual blessing over this "lighting".<ref>Shemirat [[Shabbat]] Kehilchata 43:N22, . Rav Moshe Soloveitchik (quoted in Nefesh Harav pg. 155) , Rav Mordechai Willig (“The Positive Mitzvos of [[Shabbos]],” min 49-51), Yabia Omer O.C. 2:17, and Rav Henkin (Eidut LeYisrael p. 122) agree. * Rav Ovadyah Yosef (Yalkut Yosef [[Shabbat]] vol 1 pg 188, Yabia Omer OC 2:17) agrees that one can make a bracha on it but emphasizes that it's a last option and that preferably one should have a designation that the bulb is for [[Shabbat]] candles. </ref> This is because the light bulbs essentially accomplish the role<ref>Tosfot;[[Shabbat]] 25b</ref> that the traditional [[Shabbat]] candles are intended to serve.<ref>There are two reasons why we light [[Shabbat]] candles. The first is for “Oneg [[Shabbat]]” which requires that the home be illuminated Friday night in order that people not stumble in the dark. The second reason is for “Kavod [[Shabbat]]” which calls for plentiful lighting in honor of [[Shabbat]], as was the custom upon receiving a distinguished guest. </ref> The electric lights actually become the [[Shabbat]] candles and one will discharge one's [[Shabbat]] candle lighting obligations with them. While such an approach should never be relied upon in normal circumstances, it is permissible in extenuating ones. Some authorities suggest that when making use of electric lights for one's [[Shabbat]] candles the accompanying blessing should be omitted.<ref>Shraga Hameir 5:11. see also The Radiance of [[Shabbos]] (p. 12) who quotes Rav Moshe Feinstein as saying that one should not recite a bracha on an electric light. </ref># If one is forced to use the electric lights in one's home as the [[Shabbat]] candles they should be shut off momentarily and then turned back on in order for them to now be designated as the [[Shabbat]] "candles".<ref>Teshuvot V’hanhagot 2:157</ref> Indeed, every week before the lady of the house lights her [[Shabbat]] candles, she should momentarily turn off the household lights and then turn on them back on. When she makes her blessing over the candles she should have in mind that her blessing include the electric lights as well which will also be providing light over the course of [[Shabbat]].<ref>Az Nidberu 1:79, Shemirat [[Shabbat]] Kehilchata 43:N171</ref> Those who are forced to use the electric lights instead of candles should endeavor to turn on even those lights which are not normally used in order for there to be some distinction that the electric lights are in honor of [[Shabbat]].<ref>Tzitz Eliezer 1:20</ref> Even a desktop light could be used for this purpose.Some say that this only includes incandescent bulbs and not fluorescent.<Ref>Rav Hershel Schachter (“Lighting [[Shabbos]] Candles,” min 36-7) holds that while one may light an incandescent bulb with a bracha, one may not light a fluorescent or neon bulb with a bracha. This opinion is repeated in [http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/839951/Rabbi_Hershel_Schachter/Jewish_Heritage_Tour_of_Hungary_Part_10_of_10 this shiur on yutorah.org].</ref>
# The issues are essentially the same with regards to [[Havdala]] and one may use an electric light in place of a [[Havdala]] candle in a time of need.<ref>Shaarim Metzuyanim Behalachah 96:6, Az Nidberu 8:2, Rivevot Ephraim 3:599</ref> In fact, it is reported that Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky would always use an electric bulb for [[Havdala]] in order to demonstrate how strongly he felt that electricity is to be treated exactly like fire from the perspective of halacha.<ref>Shaarim Metzuyanim Behalachah 96:6. Nefesh Harav pg. 156</ref> Nevertheless, there are those authorities who discourage the use of an electric light for [[Havdala]]. Among their opposition to it is the fact that the blessing recited upon the [[Havdala]] candle includes the word "fire" which seems to imply the need for actual fire, not merely light. As such a light bulb would not be acceptable according to this view.<ref>Har Tzvi 2:114</ref> Even among the authorities who permit the use of electric lighting when needed many would disqualify the use of fluorescent bulbs as they work differently than standard light bulbs.<ref>Hachashmal L’or Hahalacha 3:88 </ref>

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