Yeshiva World News published a letter from Rabbi Belsky saying that the Kosher Switch accomplishes nothing and is simply a regular melacha.

My question is basically the same as this commentor. Is this a denial of the principle of Grama as a leniency (as R. Belsky alludes to in the footnote, arguably) or is there something specific about the switch and its intended use which is different than the Tzomet switches?

  • It's use us intended for everyone, all shabbos, and not just for choleh in a non pikuach nefesh instance. Kosher switch wants you turning your lights off at home, tzomet switches are explicitly for hospitals and the like where grama is allowed. – Isaac Kotlicky Apr 24 '15 at 9:41
  • Shabbos mode on the oven works through a similar "grama" and there are those who say it is permissible Yom Tov, those (few?) who say it is permissible Shabbos, and those who say it is permissible never. With regards to Y"T, though, a crucial dfference would seem to be that the oven is being used to prepare food, which is in a distinct category for YT. Can someone comment generally on the potential permissibility of use of the switch Yom Tov? – SAH Oct 23 '16 at 18:13
  • @SAH Who says switching the temperature is permitted on Shabbos?? – Double AA Oct 30 '16 at 6:03

Rav Belsky, z"l, explicitly declares his reasoning in the letter:

...a tiny possibility of ספק is introduced so that the odds of the melocho being completed is reduced somewhat or delayed minimally. This concept has no place in Halacha.

My understanding is that his reasoning is not that different from the general principle that we are not concerned with the kashrus of microscopic organism. Something has to be distinct to be halachically significant. Furthermore, the explicit intention of the user is to accomplish the end result. The negligible micro-process is halachically insignificant. Real grama involves real uncertainties and/or distinct delays. According to the kosher-switch makers one should be allowed to keep striking a match until it lit because each time there is an uncertainty if it will light. If they altered it such that one wouldn't know if even repeated tries would result in it working at all, all Shabbos, and that, even if it did, it wouldn't be for at least minutes or hours after the action, perhaps then Rav Belsky would be lenient, in those situations in which we are lenient regarding grama. (As Rav Belsky mentions, this switch, according to its makers, should ultimately do away with all the 39 melochos.)

As an aside, I believe Rav Nachum Rabinovitch, shlit"a, also employs a similar reasoning in arguing against grama machines. Ironically, the Kosher Switch-makers try to use him as if he endorsed their product, which is particularly egregious since my understanding is that he was eventually forced to explicitly write them otherwise.

Finally, the reasoning behind the ban is even more explicit here: http://matzav.com/gedolim-kosher-switch-should-not-be-brought-into-the-jewish-home

  • 1
    I'm not clear on your answer. I guess you are saying that he has an equal problem with the Tzomet switches? They don't seem any different from the description. – Yishai Apr 24 '15 at 1:36
  • Rav Ben Chaim did not agree to this. See the Kosher Switch website. – MosheRabbi Feb 8 '16 at 21:20
  • @Moshe With which point does he disagree and based on what reasoning? – Loewian Feb 8 '16 at 21:33
  • @Yishai I'm not sufficiently familiar with either technology to distinguish the two, and indeed, as I noted in my answer, the Tzomet switches are also at least somewhat controversial. That said, it is possible that the uncertainty and/or delays are more substantial with the Tzomet devices. Also, my understanding is that Tzomet explicitly only markets their devices for very extenuating circumstances such as health issues or security needs, where grama is more justifiable. The Kosher Switch, to my understanding, claims their product is not even grama in an attempt to broaden its use. – Loewian Feb 8 '16 at 21:39

He also signed on this letter, which allows for grama devices in hospitals.

  • Thank you for your answer. The letter that you are pointing to also questions the grama status of the KosherSwitch, but is more ambiguous, apparently to make all signatories fine with it. – Yishai Apr 24 '15 at 1:35

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .