Extending Shabbat Timers

The Daily Halacha Moment - Timers On Shabbat 🕒


״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)


“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


Question:

May one extend a Shabbat timer on Shabbat?


Answer:

One who has an electric appliance attached to a timer and wants the item to remain on or remain off may move the switches in order to maintain the current status of the item. One cannot change the status of the item to turn off earlier.

However, one should stipulate before Shabbat (at least once a year) that one reserves the right to touch the switches if one decides to do so. If one did not make such a stipulation, one should ask a non-Jew to touch the switches instead. [1] Some Ashkenazim are stringent, one should follow one's custom.


The subject of setting and using a timer on Yom Tov is subject to debate among the poskim.

The Tzitz Eliezer 1:20; ibid. 5:12; Chazon Ovadia, Yom Tov, pages 58–59 & 72; Yabia Omer 1:31; ibid., vol. 3, 17:17; and Yechaveh Daat 2:66 permit one to make the timer turn off earlier than originally set. This is unlike the view of Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchatah 13:31, which is stringent regarding making a timer turn off earlier, while permitting one to make the timer turn on earlier than originally set. Furthermore, Yabia Omer 3:18 and Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchatah 13:28 & 31 agree that one may extend the timer to remain on or to remain off.


Sources:

[1]. Yabia Omer 3:18, 7:36; Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 3, p. 190; Halichot Olam, vol. p. 72; and Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchatah 13:28 & 31 agree that one may extend the timer to remain on or to remain off. However, if one wants the timer to turn on when it is currently off, or turn off when it is currently on, it is prohibited to change the switches to do so on Shabbat, since grama is prohibited on Shabbat. See also Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, vol. 2, p. 435 and Halachah Berurah, vol. 17, p. 243.


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