DailyHalacha.com for Mobile Devices Now Available

Select Halacha by date:

Or by subject:

Or by keyword:
Search titles and keywords only
Search All    

Weekly Perasha Insights
Shabbat Morning Derasha on the Parasha
Register To Receive The Daily Halacha By Email / Unsubscribe
Daily Parasha Insights via Live Teleconference
Syrian Sephardic Wedding Guide
Download Special Tefilot
A Glossary Of Terms Frequently Referred To In The Daily Halachot
About The Sources Frequently Quoted In The Halachot
About Rabbi Eli Mansour
Purchase Passover Haggadah with In Depth Insights by Rabbi Eli Mansour and Rabbi David Sutton
About DailyHalacha.Com
Contact us
Useful Links
Refund/Privacy Policy
Back to Home Page

Click Here to Sponsor Daily Halacha
"Delivered to Over 6000 Registered Recipients Each Day"

(File size: 1.34 MB)
Setting Timers ("Shabbat Clocks") Before Shabbat

The Gemara in Masechet Shabbat (18a) addresses the case of a water-operated mill that one sets into motion before Shabbat so that it will operate and grind wheat throughout Shabbat. Bet Hillel (the school of the Sage Hillel) permitted such an arrangement, since all the activity is performed before Shabbat. The mechanism operates on Shabbat without any involvement on the part of the individual, and thus no Shabbat violation is entailed.

This view is codified by the Shulhan Aruch (Orah Haim 252:6), who adds that even if the mechanism makes a sound, it may nevertheless be allowed to operate on its own during Shabbat.

This Halacha is the basis for the widespread use of timers, or "Shabbat clocks," to turn on and off lights and appliances on Shabbat. Thus, for example, one may set a timer before Shabbat to turn on and off a light, an electric fan or heating system during Shabbat. Since the person's involvement occurs only before Shabbat, and not during Shabbat, the timer's operation on Shabbat does not entail any violation.

Hacham Ovadia Yosef, in his work Halichot Olam, extends this Halacha even to washing machines and dryers. It is permissible to put a load of laundry in the washer or dryer right before Shabbat and have the cycle run during the Shabbat. (It should be noted that Ashknezaim are generally more stringent in this regard.)

Though this may be obvious, we should emphasize that this Halacha does not extend to televisions. It is, of course, strictly forbidden to watch television on Shabbat (and even during the week the propriety of watching television is certainly questionable), even if one sets the television on a timer before Shabbat, as watching television is not at all in the spirit of the day. This applies as well to radios and music players. One may not set such devices on a timer before Shabbat to play music or radio stations on Shabbat. If a person normally sets his alarm clock to a radio station, he must turn the alarm off before Shabbat. It is permissible, however, to set an alarm before Shabbat if it just makes some kind of sound, rather than play a radio station.

Summary: One may set lights and appliances on timers before Shabbat so that they turn on and off during Shabbat; one may similarly run the washer or dryer before Shabbat and have the cycle continue during Shabbat. One may not, however, set a radio, music player or television on a timer to have the device turn on during Shabbat.


Recent Daily Halachot...
Washing One's Hands Before Kiddush on Friday Night
Washing One's Hands Before Kiddush on Shabbat Morning
Setting Timers ("Shabbat Clocks") Before Shabbat
Using a Doorknocker, Clapping, Banging and Whistling on Shabbat
Combing Hair on Shabbat
Mixing Red Wine with White Wine on Shabbat - “Sobe’a,” or “Dyeing”
Is It Permissible To Carry A Child On Shabbat In The Public Domain
Is It Permissible To Use A Body Sponge On Shabbat
Is It Permissible To Wear A Sports Coat Over Your Shoulders On Shabbat In The Public Domain
How to Squeeze Fruits and Vegetables on Shabbat
Borer: Selecting Cutlery to Set a Table for the Next Day
Borer: Selecting Clothes in a Dark Room
Borer: Is Peeling and Removing Wrappers from Food Considered Borer?
Borer: Is It Permissible to Scatter a Mixture and Select From It?
Borer: May One Remove a Fly from a Cup of Wine on Shabbat?
Page of 207
3102 Halachot found