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I'm shopping for a dishwasher and finding that some -- several Whirlpool brands -- have a Kosher-Friendly Mode. Upon first hearing of this, I thought that the Kosher-Friendly Mode might be a timer that automatically caused the dishwasher to start at, let's say, midnight on Friday night, so that if you loaded the dishes after dinner on Friday and put in detergent, you could hope for clean dishes by lunch.

It seems like that's not it at all. As far as the Whirlpool customer service people can determine, the Kosher-Friendly Mode simply makes the lights and controls inoperable.

I don't really understand that. My brief informal survey suggests that we're all loading the dishwasher on Shabbos already, with the intention of running the machine on Saturday night, although nobody's heard of Kosher-Friendly Mode.

So what's with this new feature that seems to amount to an "off" switch?

And would there be any objection to my brainchild, a timer that washes the dishes at a pre-set time? How is it different from a timer in any other machine whose operation without a timer would be forbidden?

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  • I believe השמעת קול could be an issue if it's noisy.
    – shmosel
    Commented Jan 12, 2023 at 23:45
  • @shmosel Could you elaborate? Why is noise objectionable if light is not?
    – Chaim
    Commented Jan 13, 2023 at 0:00
  • The noise attracts attention and people might not realize it's on a timer. See the halacha on windmills vs. clock chimes here, and the comments and sources here.
    – shmosel
    Commented Jan 13, 2023 at 0:27
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    Older dishwashers didn't have the lights and such that modern ones do. Opening and loading an empty dishwasher could actually be a problem without this.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 13, 2023 at 0:47
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    Most dishwashers won't run with the door open. Accordingly, closing a dishwasher door on shabbat will cause it turn on later.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 13, 2023 at 0:58

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I love the question!

As far as I could see there is one Rabbi who says one can use a dishwasher on shabbos with a timer https://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=1548&pgnum=17

Yet most others disagree. I will link a page that discuss this. Dor Hamalktim Dor Hamalktim 2 What is interesting is that Rabbi Berkowitz explains the issue if the dishwasher does not make noise it is still forbidden. I quote:

If one normally puts dirty dishes into the dishwasher, and it's a new, quiet dishwasher, that doesn't make noise, can one set a timer before Shabbos to run the dishwasher after the Friday night seuda? R' Y. Berkovits wrote: No. When the dishwasher door is open, the dishwasher will not go on. Closing the door on Shabbos (after you put in the dishes), is an act of [ .גרם בישול וגרם הבערהIf you somehow circumvented the safety feature and the dishwasher would start even with the door open, then you would be dealing with גרם בישולof the leftover food, which Rav Shloma Zalman has a teshuvah regarding if it's shayach bishul on garbage.]

and

Regarding setting a timer for a quiet dishwasher: Rebbi said in response to a previous shailah that this is not allowed since the dishwasher will not go on without the door being closed which makes closing the door an act of . ל וגרם הבערה גרם בישוHow about if a non-Jew closes the door of the dishwasher? R' Y. Berkovits wrote: There are those that are matir gerama via a Goy (as in asking a Goy to set a timer). The minhag is to be machmir unless b'makom hefsed or tzorech gadol. One could speculate that closing the door is ,אינו מתכווןsimilar to a fridge. That is probably not the case with closing the door of a dishwasher

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  • In terms of bishul of the food, it matters a lot if the dishwasher heats up the water itself and how we classify the pipes bringing the water from the tank. Arguably we're talking irui kli sheni which is much more meikil. (Main point being don't take any blanket statement by a rabbi about dishwashers as fact and look into the exact mechanism of yours.)
    – Double AA
    Commented Jan 13, 2023 at 11:53
  • True, but I would also add on to this, the fact about closing the door would be close to the argument Reb Ovida made about timers for hot trays, one can put liquid on the hot tray before the timer goes on (on shabbos day). Yet most poskim disagree with this. Commented Jan 13, 2023 at 12:20

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