Using the 'Shabbos app' on Shabbat

Using the 'Shabbos app' on Shabbat (Enlarge)

ב"ה, תשרי תשע"ה, 10.14

A new app, recently advertised, supposedly allows the use of smart-phones on Shabbat. What is The Zomet Institute's position on this issue?

In my opinion this is strictly forbidden, exactly like using any other electronic device- turning on a computer, a TV, a radio, an air conditioner or a fan.

According to the publishers of this application, the Halachik basis for this leniency is a time delay between the human action and the electrical response. All Orthodox rabbis, including the most liberal ,are well aware that every human action, that has a desirable outcome, is strictly forbidden even if it has a delayed
response and even if it takes place only after a certain time. A person initiating a delayed mechanism is considered as if "shooting an arrow", where the results are attributed directly to this person’s action.

The publishers reasoning is inconceivable and is similar to reasoning that one is allowed to harm others by using a time delayed bomb and is allowed to flood their neighbor’s apartment/garden by using a digital automatic irrigation timer, planned a week in advance or is exempt from punishment for these actions. A person is obviously responsible from a legal and Halachic perspective, for the outcome of their sophisticated actions.

The Zomet Institute develops and builds unique equipment in which we permit the use of sophisticatedelectr ī onicarrangements for medical and security purposes only. In our 'Gramma' mechanism, when a person presses a button or a touch screen, they do not start any chain reaction – 'shooting an arrow'. This indirect activation ('Gramma') is based on a complex technological design and the result is not a chain reaction started by a human hand. As stated before, our 'Gramma' solutions are for medical and security use only.

Another aspect of this issue, is that while communicating with someone else, a person also activates electrical ciurcits on the second persons phone. All this is without even mentioning anything about the Melacha of writing, the 'Image of Shabbat', the importance of a Shabbat atmosphere and the Halachik aspects of Shabbat such as 'Uvdin D’Chol' and 'Maris Ayin'. There is no need to further explore these concepts in order to completely prohibit this surreal and absurd so called Shabbos app.

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