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If I own a dog and I train it to turn on and off lights is that considered like amirah l'nochri which is assur,or telling an animal is different and would be permitted?

marked as duplicate by b a, Joel K, Alex, Danny Schoemann, sabbahillel Aug 8 '18 at 11:11

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  • If an animal decides to do melacha on its own ,u think that falls into that passuk? – sam Aug 8 '18 at 1:26
  • @רבותמחשבות אין רוכבין ע"ג בהמה משום שביתת בהמתו – Ploni Aug 8 '18 at 1:30
  • @ploni because chai nosei es atzmo is only a derabanan? I guess that's a good Raayah – רבות מחשבות Aug 8 '18 at 1:32
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    Or what if you trained it so its commands were the kind of indirect hinting you're permitted to say to a goy? I.e. "Hey Spot, I sure wish that stove were off, too bad it's shabbas and I'm not permitted to extinguish a flame" being the command for "turn stove off" – Josh K Aug 8 '18 at 2:37
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H/T to Ploni for finding this source (page 42(49)), which summarizes the Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa. In SS"K 27:4, which I just looked up, it states that an animal may do any Issurim that if a Jew would do them, would only be Issurei Derabanan, with some small exceptions related to carrying people/objects.

The footnote there says outright in the name of RSZ Auerbach that this includes even a Melacha Sheina Tzericha Legufah. While I'm not going to get into the nitty gritty of electricity on Shabbos, turning off a light falls into this category (since you are extinguishing in order to turn off/get rid of the light), while turning on a light does not. Therefore, it would be permitted to train one's dog to turn off the light on Shabbos.

Whether or not lights in general or the particular light fall under the category of Rabbinic Prohibitions is another question, but if they do, it would even be permitted to teach one's dog to turn on a light on Shabbos.

  • Would one be allowed to hold a dog's arm and press it against the light switch? Someone in the shul I go to used to do this if the lights went out on shabbos (lol) – bluejayke Dec 19 '18 at 6:52
  • I don't see how that would be permitted. @user2016831 – רבות מחשבות Dec 19 '18 at 13:33

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