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There is a category of muktzeh on shabbat called Nolad. Nolad means literally, something that is born on shabbat. It is interpreted in the modern era, as meaning anything which you did not have access to before shabbat, you can not make use of on shabbat.

Mail for example (in countries that deliver on shabbat) is considered Nolad. An egg laid on shabbat is a classic example.

If we found a way to access the internet without breaking shabbat, (through some advancements in technology) would the content accessible through said technological advancement be considered nolad?

My rationale is as follows.

  1. Facebook is updated by the minute, so social networks have new content from people.. what you are reading was likely written within the past 12 -24 hours.

  2. Websites are generated dynamically. When you load a page, it instantly calculate which ads to show, which content to display etc. This layout and what things you see from second to second, as a single unit, I would argue is nolad.

  3. When you visit a website, it updates your cookies, or the page hit counter, which update and are displayed with that new information (tracking, or on the site itself)

Arguments against:

  1. The programs existed before shabat, as did most of the content, it is only being displayed differently.

  2. You don't physically touch the internet, so it can't really have a muktzeh status.

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See also judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/1184 –  msh210 Jul 19 '11 at 16:30
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Re "nolad means..." - Strictly speaking, nolad means an object that came into existence on shabas (or yom tov). Its law is that one may not move it until the day has passed. Also strictly speaking, the Internet is. . . well I don't want to sound like a grumpy old man. –  WAF Jul 19 '11 at 18:06
    
the related question isn't relevant, since I'm hypothesising a new technology. Sorry that wasn't clear. –  avi Jul 19 '11 at 18:51

2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Nolad governs muktzeh, physical items you shouldn't move because they weren't acessible before shabbos started.

I can't see any way how that could possibly apply to information. If a non-Jew who had been halfway across the world on Friday night delivers a package to me on shabbos afternoon, it's muktza. If he tells me a joke (or the news, or acts out a play), we have no such rule governing it.

Further proof is a well-known incident whereby the Netziv was sent a telegram on yomtov; a non-Jew came and delivered it to him, and he read it: the entire yeshiva was celebrating Shavuos if I recall, and the telegram's news was that his sister had passed away. He continued with the festivities until the holiday ended, at which point he broke down on the floor sobbing.

I am bothered by the question "if somehow you could surf online on shabbos ..." and looking for some loophole requirement for/against what you're doing online at that point. We're all so wired, connected, have-to-have-the-latest 24-7 throughout the week, that it's really important that on Shabbos we just let it go and see how G-d's world still manages to function without my tweets (or anyone else's, for that matter).

So you could argue about the spirit of shabbos, as learned from things like nolad. But the actual prohibition of nolad per se, as you're proposing, is completely irrelevant here.

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I agree. How could a non-physical item be muktzeh? –  zaq Jul 19 '11 at 16:45
    
I'm not looking for any loopholes. I am predicting technological advances that make access to the internet permissible on shabbat. –  avi Jul 19 '11 at 18:26

It seems that Nolad may also requires the non-Jew to do it specifically for you or mostly for Jews. Even a newspaper printed on shabat might not meet that. Newspaper Delivery on Shabbos

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