Using A Refrigerator On Shabbat

The Daily Halacha Moment - Refrigerator & Shabbat Mode 🍲


״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:

Does one need to have a fridge with Shabbat Mode?


Answer:

Background:

Many poskim do not recommend “digital" refrigerators for use on Shabbat. This because they essentially function from a minicomputer that controls the electronic display, and even sets off a buzzer if the door is open for too long, even disconnecting the display or any other signal light or buzzer does not solve the problem of the electronic mechanism, which continues to send the information to the computer whether the buzzer sounds or not. Some other added features include automatic defrost and ice maker, others are electronic systems designed to make a more energy-efficient appliance.

There are some solutions to this problem, and some technicians can circumvent this issue by blocking the sensors, however, in some models, this can be a difficult task and may not even solve the entire issue. Furthermore, new models are continuously coming on the market, and it is very difficult to give a clear ruling on which refrigerators are able to be fixed for Shabbat use and which not. Therefore, one should purchase a refrigerator that has an approved “Shabbat Mode.” Piskei Teshuvot 277:6 states that one should determine what to do for each refrigerator with a technician. See also in Halachah Berurah, vol. 17, p. 239.

See in Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 6, p. 115 and Yabia Omer 1:21; vol. 4, 26:5; vol. 9, 108:186 who states that in regards to the older types of refrigerators that worked compressor and electricity; in which case, one should preferably wait until he hears the motor turn on in order to open the fridge. If one really needs an item from the fridge, then one may open it even when the motor is off but one should not keep the fridge open for enough time that it will definitely cause the motor to turn on. For more on this topic see Mishpetei Uziel 3:37; Minchat Shlomo 1:10; Tzitz Eliezer, vol. 8, 12:4 and vol. 12, 92; Ohr LeTzion, vol. 2, 41:2; Igrot Moshe, O.C. 1:128; O.C. 2:68; vol. 8, p. 11; Teshuvot VeHanhagot, 1:220; Har Tzvi, 151.


Summary:

In general, one should purchase a refrigerator that is halachically approved to be used on Shabbat, and come with a “Shabbat Mode.” Many refrigerators come standard with features that cause electronic and/or digital functions every time the refrigerator door is opened or closed, such as activating or deactivating fans or displays. Many hold that one may open a fridge if the motor is running provided that nothing electric such as lights, fans, displays and the like are being activated as a result of one opening the fridge. If one doesn't have a fridge with Shabbat Mode, they sell an item that one can add to the motherboard of the fridge which adds Shabbat Mode to many fridges. All in all, one should consult a Halachic authority if one's fridge is an issue to be used on Shabbat.


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