Saw this news story a few days ago about a car being driven with just thought, using a special cap with sensors.


To me this still seems entirely muktzeh and therefor should be no question about it's permissibility on Sabbath or not.

By virtue of a Rabbinic discussion it would appear that there is a possibility that this might be acceptable. What are the issues that would allow this?

  • 4
    Muktzeh is a specific type of prohibition placed on objects on Shabbath for a specific set of reasons. Are you sure you're using it correctly? Do you mean to say that the car/cap is Muktzeh? Or are you trying to say that the activity of driving the car is forbidden? It makes a difference. If you are declaring the car/cap Muktzeh, there needs to be a reason for that, and it seems your question is about the activity rather than the object. If you mean to address the activity of driving the car with the cap, then you should reconsider your wording to avoid confusion. Overall +1.
    – Seth J
    Commented Jan 4, 2012 at 16:24
  • I don't see why it would be 100% forbidden. Commented Jun 19, 2012 at 4:27

4 Answers 4


From a piece by Rabbi Gil Student about robots on shabbos:

R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, according to one report, considered thought that directs a forbidden labor, such as via machines that read brain waves, to be forbidden (Me’orei Eish Ha-Shalem 10:13 pp. 765-766; pp. 893-895).


There is also an issue of going out of the Techum. In addition it is definately not in the spirit of Shabbos.


Such a thing won't be allowed in practice, but on what level will it be forbidden? Any action is caused by the brain, but it has to result in a physical action to be an actual melacha. Even grama, etc. have a primary physical action involved. So its unlikely thinking can be a melacha d'oraysa. The question is what if you kill someone by thinking?


I would think that driving such a vehicle (ie., one that is not controlled by your actions), would be forbidden for at least the same reason that riding a horse is forbidden. The horse is not controlled by your actions - it is influenced by them, but it can, if it wants, buck you from its back and disregard your actions directing it to move. Yet it is still prohibited as a Geder (fence) to prevent actual violation of Shabbath (although the original violation of concern - breaking a stick off the ground to hit the animal - may be irrelevant to a car, other concerns may be raised, such as various activities done within the car that one may do by accident, forgetting it is Shabbath).


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