The Shabbos App?
This article was written for the Centre News by Russell Harding. It explores the fascinating issues raised by the prospect of a ‘Shabbos App’ which should be out any day. As explained in the article below, numerous halachic challenges confront the creators of this app.
Much publicity and debate surrounds the Shabbos App (shabbosapp.com), due for release in February 2015. The app is designed to allow the use of a smart phone on Shabbos to connect with others. There are a number of Halachic issues which the developers faced.
What it does:
The app allows users to communicate via text message with others on Shabbos. The screen, which is turned on before Shabbos, remains illuminated at one per cent of brightness for the duration of Shabbos. Remaining lit avoids the Rabbinic prohibitions of turning appliances on or off. The keyboard is replaced with a library of whole words – 120 included in the app and the user can add a further 30 words. Texts are sent by selecting the words and putting them together in a text message. All sounds and other phone features are disabled.
Some of the Halachic Issues – This is, at best, an exploratory treatment of the Halachic issues involved in a product that we have not yet seen. The issues involved are more complex than can be covered here.
Muktzeh – Non-Shabbos required items
It is not permitted to handle weekday objects that do not have a Shabbos purpose on Shabbos.
Koteiv – Writing
It is not permitted D’Oraisa, to write on Shabbos. There is a leni