Emor. Unplugged! Fostering a Shabbat Atmosphere
As our world becomes more automated, as sensors and smart-home devices become more prevalent, should we be allowed to make use of automated technologies on Shabbat? After all, we don’t really activate the mechanism; they respond to us!
In response to Coronavirus, many have speculated that we will do away with light switches which can easily transmit diseases. Instead, we will use more voice and movement responsive devices. How will Halakha respond to these issues?
In the wake of Coronavirus, there was an extensive Rabbinic debate about whether Zoom could be used to help those alone, especially the elderly who were quarantined and celebrating the Pesach Seder alone. The Orthodox Rabbinic consensus was that Zoom should not be used on a religious holiday.
Our Parsha this week speaks of Shabbat and the Festivals. On these days “You shall do no manner of work.” But in addition to this, these days are labelled: “Shabbaton.”
Nachmanides asks what this word indicates, after we have been already instructed to decease from any manner of labor, precluding the classic 39 categories of “melakha”! Once I cannot perform my work, am I not in a state of “Rest”?