OU Press Release: The Ultimate Shabbos Refrigerator Solution is Here

OU Staff

Most of today’s refrigerators include a multitude of systems and sensors that regulate a variety of functions. Electronic counters and sensors regularly monitor refrigerator moisture and temperature levels, while these and other instruments determine when other systems, such as the auto-defrost heating element turns on and off. According to Darin Franks, Chief Engineer at General Electric, today’s refrigerators have “as many as seven or eight computers on-board.” Many compressors run periodically, or continually but at variant power levels, and are often affected directly by each and every opening or closing of the fridge door. Switches that could once be circumvented before Shabbat are now commonly replaced by sensors that cannot be avoided. Read More >

Using Refrigerators on Shabbos

Electricity

Years ago when refrigerators became a standard home appliance, the question of using refrigerators on Shabbos was posed to many prominent poskim.

The problem originates with the general use of electricity on Shabbos. Is it permitted? Is it d’oraysa or d’rabanan? Some viewed electricity as an issur d’oraysa– a biblical prohibition[1], but most determined that the issur was d’rabanan. (This has implications in certain situations- even if using electricity is d’rabanan, causing the defrost to activate would be a d’oraysa as will be shown).

Today, the issur of using electricity has been established throughout the Jewish world and using any form of electricity today is unequivocally considered Chilul Shabbos.  Read More >