Questions about how Judaism interacts with technological innovations.

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17
votes
5answers
536 views

Why do music tapes and CDs warn about playing on Shabbos?

I have seen written on almost every music CD and Cassette Tape that I have in my house the line: Please do not play on Shabbos and Yom Tov I've always wondered if this is really necessary. Does ...
3
votes
1answer
93 views

Looking at a Kohen's hands on Video

One is not allowed to look at a Kohen's hands while he is performing Birchas Kohanim (source: my Artscroll siddur, but it is well-known too) Would this also apply if one was looking at a video of the ...
29
votes
3answers
1k views

May one use a computer script or robot to do something specifically on Shabbos/Yom Tov?

May one run a program or machine that will operate on Shabbos, either by setting a timer to activate once Shabbos has started, or by leaving it running continually? What if the action is one that is ...
10
votes
3answers
432 views

DNA and Jewish Law

Why isn't DNA seen as a valid source of Halachic decision making? Is it because it's too small for the naked eye? A margin of error problem? What? Normally, physical evidence is plenty of information ...
2
votes
1answer
142 views

Could the 'air conditioner' shown here be run during shabbat?

I saw this DIY video, and was wondering if such a fan could be run before shabbat started and left running as shown? The video on this page (Ignore the article): ...
3
votes
1answer
118 views

Wirelessly recharging a light-emitting diode on Shabbos

Could one use wireless recharging technology (see http://home.howstuffworks.com/question292.htm) to power a light-emitting diode (which does not have a filament that gets hot (see ...
10
votes
1answer
155 views

Cell Phone Jammers in Halacha

I could not imagine cell phone jammers would be מותר, but perhaps my gut-feeling is wrong... Either way, I would be interested in knowing how they fit into halacha, and what the reasons behind ...
19
votes
1answer
254 views

a wheelchair user's taking “steps” before sh'mone esre

The Shulchan Aruch, OC 94:5, writes: Suppose someone is sitting on a boat or wagon [and saying sh'mone esre (amida)]. If he can stand up when he reaches the point of bowing, he should stand, so as ...
3
votes
1answer
220 views

Which rabbis forbade cars 100 years ago?

"Venishmartem Meod Lenafshoseichem" I heard that there were Rabbonim about 100 years ago who forbade cars, saying that they were dangerous. Does anyone know who they were?
5
votes
1answer
79 views

Buying New Electronics During the 9 Days

Is one allowed to buy new electronic devices during the nine days (e.g. cellphone, laptop)?
18
votes
6answers
2k views

Is using a Kindle on Shabbat permitted?

A Kindle is an e-book reader that uses "e-ink" rather than an LCD screen. It has physical controls to turn pages. (This question is not about the newer ones with touch screens.) If left unused it ...
9
votes
2answers
173 views

If three men pre-arranged to sit down and eat together over a video-chat, is there any reason they shouldn't have a zimun?

I learned that if two groups were eating in two different rooms but even one person could see someone in the other room, then they could have one zimun (I thought this was in Masechet Brachot, but I ...
1
vote
2answers
251 views

Would the internet be considered muktzeh due to Nolad (a new thing)

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 ...
7
votes
1answer
185 views

What is the best online English translation of Tanach?

I am aware of a number of partial or complete English translations of Tana"ch online, but I am wondering if there are any I am unaware of, especially that fulfill the following criteria: Precision ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Is it okay to drive a car on the Sabbath?

The Five Books of Moses mention not stoking a fire on the Sabbath, if I remember correctly. By starting a car, I'd think I am stoking a fire. Is this okay to do for a Jew? Why or why not?
8
votes
4answers
784 views

Walking by an Automatic Door on Shabbos

Is one allowed to walk by an automatic door on Shabbos, if he/she has no benefit of the door opening (i.e. not walking in)? How does this case compare/contrast to the walking by an automatic light on ...
7
votes
2answers
442 views

Is it actually forbidden to push a wheelchair outside of an eruv on Shabbat?

I have heard opinions varying wildly on the subject and am trying to make sense of them halachically. Is it illegal on Shabbat to push someone in a wheelchair, let's say, from their home to synagogue ...
3
votes
2answers
213 views

Yichud in Elevator

Is there a problem of Yichud in the elevator? (especially considering there's a possibility that the elevator may get stuck) [and specifically those without cameras]
25
votes
4answers
2k views

bicycle on Shabbat?

Is riding a bicycle on Shabbat permitted within an eiruv, being ridden only on pavement (so no unintended plowing), for transportation and not exercise, and with the understanding that repairs aren't ...
33
votes
7answers
2k views

Is it permissible to erase the name of G-d from an E-reader?

Most people seem to be lenient about shemos on digital screens in general (though Bar-Ilan does avoid displaying the Tetragrammaton.) The letters on the screen are just light, there is nothing really ...
7
votes
3answers
157 views

Robot as a competent proxy?

Would those who hold that a minor can serve as an agent in Jewish law (for a d'var r'shus - discretionary act, not a mitzva) hold similarly for a sufficiently intelligent and self-aware robot? The ...
5
votes
2answers
644 views

Why should A Capella music be allowed during Sefirah/Three Weeks?

Background: I'm not sure how I feel about: a)the custom to refrain from listening to recorded music during Sefirah or b)the assumption that recorded a cappella music is not considered instrumental ...
10
votes
6answers
287 views

Technological innovations and halacha

A generally accepted halachic principle is that the Torah was not given to angels. As such, halacha is only applied within normal human capabilities. A classic example is that one is not required to ...
11
votes
3answers
426 views

Glow sticks on Shabbos

May one activate a glow stick on Shabbos? (In other words, is there a prohibition on activating the chemical reaction which produces the light in a glow stick?)
7
votes
5answers
412 views

Will rabbis allow brainy Shabbat driving?

Saw this news story a few days ago about a car being driven with just thought, using a special cap with sensors. http://www.jpost.com/Sci-Tech/Article.aspx?id=215704 To me this still seems entirely ...
5
votes
2answers
141 views

Is glow in the dark Jewelry muktzeh?

Is a glow in the dark necklace or bracelet muktzeh? Would any action I needed to take matter if I was already wearing it before Shabbat started?
2
votes
1answer
77 views

Microphone for Meggilah

Can one be Yotzeh Meggilah on Skype or webcast or through a microphone or telephone is there a difference between each? Does a Hearing Aid disqualify a person from being Yotzeh the Laining?
6
votes
2answers
330 views

Does Robot = Golem?

Would an anthropomorphic robot who could communicate with and do the bidding of humans qualify Halachicaly as a Golem? Would new rulings have to be devised for their status?
5
votes
1answer
96 views

התראה by phone?

Can warning for a capital crime be accomplished by telephone? Hello? Are you aware that it is currently שבת where you are? Yes. I am aware of the punishment and prepared to do it anyway. Are ...
3
votes
2answers
234 views

P'sak halacha by AI?

How good does artificial intelligence need to be before we can turn to a robot for piskei halacha? The accepted reason that even the most knowledgeable people need to ask legal advice from poskim is ...
3
votes
1answer
538 views

Self-winding wristwatches on Shabbos

Can self-winding wristwatches be used on Shabbos?
10
votes
1answer
830 views

Can a live video feed remove the prohibition of Yichud?

I was wondering if and how a public videostream could affect a potential yichud situation. For example, may a single guy and girl be secluded if they set up a continuously broadcasting camera and ...
6
votes
1answer
297 views

How does “shabbat speech-reinforcement” work?

How does the technology for shabas-compliant voice amplification referred to on this architecture firm's website work? Is it different technically from a regular microphone setup or is the distinction ...
5
votes
6answers
423 views

Jewish Android Apps [closed]

Does anyone have a suggestion of any useful Jewish Android Apps currently available?
3
votes
3answers
98 views

Electric Menorah

Are electric menorahs good for lighting on Chanukah? To remove some of the more obvious issues, let's assume that: It runs on batteries It's an incandescent bulb There are separate physical ...
13
votes
7answers
228 views

Zmanim accuracy before digital clocks?

How was time measured for the purpose of Zmanim before we had accurate clocks like we do today? Was it possible to accurately determine Chatzos (at night) or the different watches of the night? I know ...
7
votes
3answers
251 views

Parashas Shavua calculation

I'm writing a site where the user would be able to see the calendar with jewish-civil translation of dates, and also which parasas shavua falls on which Shabbos. I'd like to know what is the formula ...
15
votes
3answers
466 views

Escalator on Shabbos

Escalators: Are they allowed to be used on Shabbos or not? (and the reasons behind it)
3
votes
4answers
358 views

Computer Support for Nekudos [closed]

Can it hurt to include Nekudos (vowel marks) when typing Hebrew? Do all systems that support Hebrew lettering automatically support Nekudos? If not, do they at least degrade gracefully?
7
votes
4answers
200 views

Amen for Recorded Brochos

Many times I listen to recorded Shiurim (lectures) where the speaker says a Brocho (usually Shehakol on a drink). Should one answer Amen to such Brochos?
7
votes
3answers
366 views

Typing on Chol Hamoed

Is typing allowed on Chol Hamoed? Does it make a difference if whatever is typed will be printed afterwards?
5
votes
8answers
790 views

Digital Synagogue displays?

Why do Synagogues use or not use them? Bonus: What are some of the companies that make these digital wall displays for synagogues? How much do they cost? Does anyone know where I can find info ...
7
votes
3answers
223 views

Is watching via webcam valid for cholov yisroel?

Would milk be considered cholov yisroel if someone was watching via webcam?
15
votes
6answers
2k views

If a pig was genetically modified to chew its cud, would it be kosher?

If they were to genetically modify a pig to chew its cud, would it be kosher?
12
votes
1answer
677 views

Food in bathroom

Is one allowed to take food into the bathroom? I heard that the prohibiton is only on the type of bathroom used years ago.
7
votes
1answer
603 views

Hashems name on device

Is there any issue regarding deleting electronic files with Hashem's Name, and also is there any issue taking such a device into the bathroom.
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Electric Appliances and Mikva

Do electric appliances need to be dunked (toveled) in a mikva? Obviously, if the parts that touch the food are removable (e.g. an electric mixer's bowl and blade, or a blender's carafe, or the ...
6
votes
3answers
201 views

electronic Olam Haba

When Moshisch comes (Biezras Hashem) will there be technology like, computers, cars, electricity, etc?
8
votes
7answers
597 views

A letter prohibiting television?

I don't have the book myself, but I believe it is called To Touch Kindle a Soul, on chinuch. It contains, in the endnotes a reference to a letter written by Rav Moshe Feinstein zt'l, Rav Shach zt'l, ...
8
votes
1answer
259 views

Shaking a no-battery flashlight on Shabbos

What is the problem with shaking one of the no battery/shaking flashlights which is on on shabbos?