It is Shabbat: The soldier at the observation post was ordered to keep a written record of every enemy movement, to be analyzed later by military intelligence. He saw much activity, and most of it did not seem important to him. In spite of this, he performed his duties to the best of his ability. But his mind was full of doubt: Could he have kept his notes without desecrating Shabbat?
It is Shabbat: A terrified mother arrives in the Emergency Room with her son, who has swallowed a bone. The doctor removes the bone. According to hospital rules, no patient can be released without a complete written record of his case. And now both the doctor and the mother must make a decision: How can they obey the rules with a minimum of Shabbat desecration?
An Emergency Medical Station, Shabbat afternoon: A patient arrives with severe pains. He is sent home with three antibiotic pills, which will last him until the next day. The treatment and the fact that he was given pills must be written down! A public institution cannot operate on memory alone!
In response to such dilemmas, The Zomet Institute has created a solution, applying what is written in the Mishna in the tractate of Shabbat: Temporary writing is prohibited on Shabbat by rabbinical decree and not by Torah law. The rabbis have agreed that all the above examples and many other cases involving vital public interests override a rabbinical decree.
The response of The Zomet Institute is a special pen (the Shab-et) whose ink fades away a few days after the writing. After Shabbat, before the writing disappears, the information can be copied photographically or manually.
The Shab-et is in regular use in many hospitals, by security forces, and even in the home of a judge (for issuing an urgent injunction, if necessary). The use of a Shabbat pen is permitted only if the action is so essential that it takes precedence over the rabbinical prohibition of writing using temporary ink.
To purchase a Shabbat pen by phone, contact The Zomet Institute.