Does the community know if clap-activated lights on Shabbat is permitted? I understand that speech activation is generally prohibited due to a Halacha brought down in Talmud Bava Metzia 90b-91a where Rav Yochanan brings down that telling an ox to stop constituted muzzling (IE verbal actions telling something to do something are considered an extension of doing them yourself), but in the case of clap activated lights, this wouldn’t involve voice. Is there a responsa on this?

  • Would clap muzzling be permitted? Seemingly not
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 16:45
  • sefaria.org/Sanhedrin.65a.11?lang=bi&with=all
    – שלום
    Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 17:00
  • On the contrary, it would probably be more severe because it's an actual action with the hands (cf. the source שלום cited).
    – Meir
    Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 17:11
  • if this post is a duplicate of an existing post, we can close it as a duplicate, and then we'll have multiple entry-points for searchers. Which post do you believe this is a duplicate of?
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Oct 12, 2023 at 15:48
  • That doesn't look like a slam-dunk, and the question here, as you've posed it, specifically asks whether there's a difference between clap-activation and voice-activation.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Oct 12, 2023 at 15:55

1 Answer 1


Shalom, I'd say—eventually, you activate an electric merchandise, which is a 'Tolada' of setting fire. It's like the question of sensor-driven doors (e.g.—in hospitals) or capturing your image on a CCTV camera in Shabbat. As far as I know from similar cases in [Talmud] Shabbat and modern references, there's still the question of intention: For example, your captured images on aforementioned camera is unintentional [to you] and you gain nothing from it, but the door sensing your approach is unacceptable (hence the 'regular' doors just next to the automatic) or Shabbat elevators, etc. Hence, I believe the answer would be negatory.

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    – mbloch
    Commented Oct 5, 2023 at 3:27

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