The Use of Electricity on Shabbat and Yom Tov
By: LN on Sep 09, 2012 12:32:19 PM

The Use of Electricity on Shabbat and Yom Tov

Rabbi Michael Broyde & Rabbi Howard Jachter

Rabbi Broyde - Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, Rabbi Jachter - Associate Rabbi of Congregation Beth Judah in Brooklyn

Journal of Halacha & Contemporary Society, No. XXI - Spring 91 - Pesach 5751

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Key Words: electrical appliances on Shabbat, refrigerator, radio, television and telephone on Shabbat, timer on Shabbat.

Preface

The topic of electricity in halacha is unique to our generation since there are no direct precedents in the Talmud or rishonim and the halachic discussion of this topic has been ongoing for less than 100 years. It is only since the technology developed and appliances became electrically powered that many of these questions arose... Over time many works were printed and it has become an established part of rabbinic literature. ("Electricity," Encyclopedia Talmudit 18:642).

Introduction

The advances of technology have posed practical challenge to decisors throughout the ages. One of the hallmarks of Jewish law is its ability - and desire - to assimilate technological advances into the practices of observant Jews. The application of ancient and venerated principles of halacha to new situations has been, and remains, one of the essential tasks of modern decisors of Jewish law. In the last one hundred years, this task has become considerably more difficult due to the rapid and frequent changes in the state of technology.

This article surveys halacha's response to one of the technological breakthroughs of the last 150 years: the invention of electricity. In particular, it explores halacha's understanding of the use of electricity on Shabbat and Yom Tov within the rubric of prohibited work (melacha).1 The technological revolution caused by the widespread use of electrical appliances has led to great discussion and debate within halachic circles. Thousands of monographs, responsa, and books have been written by halachic authorities in the preceding decades relating to the use of electricity on Shabbat and Yom Tov.2

This article is divided into five sections. The first discusses the basis for the prohibition of turning on or off incandescent lights on Shabbat. The second addresses the use of electricity where no light and heat is produced (e.g., turning on a fan). The third discusses the differences between Shabbat and Yom Tov for purposes of the rules developed in sections one and two. The fourth analyzes various specific appliances in light of the rules developed, and the fifth discusses various issues relating to the use of timers to control appliances on Shabbat and Yom Tov.

I. Incandescent Lights on Shabbat

A. Turning On Incandescent Lights During Shabbat

One of the earliest issues involving electricity found in halachic literature was the permissibility of turning on an incandescent light on Shabbat.3 The overwhelming majority of the decisors maintain (for reasons to be explained) that turning on an incandescent light on Shabbat violated a biblical prohibition.

The Mishnah (Shabbat 41a) rules:

One who heats a metal pot [literally, a boiler] may not pour cold water into it to heat it; however, one may pour water into the pot or a cup in order to temper it.

The Talmud (Shabbat 41a-b) in discussing this mishnah states:

Rav Says this mishnah is only ruling [that it is permitted to pour water into a heated pot] when the water temperature is modified, but if the metal is hardened it is prohibited [to heat the metal]. Samuel says this is permitted even if hardening occurs. [The Talmud replied] if the primary purpose [of heating the metal] is to harden the pot, nobody permits it heating.

So, too, the Talmud (Yevamot 6b) declares:

Rabbi Sheshet rules that the cooking [burning] of a wick [of metal], just like the cooking of spices is prohibited on Shabbat [because of the biblical prohibition to cook on Shabbat].

Rambam codifies these rules (Shabbat 12:1) by recounting:

One who heats a metal bar in order to temper it in water has violated the biblical prohibition of lighting a flame.

Ravad immediately disagrees as to the nature of the biblical prohibition and rules that heating a metal bar until it glows is prohibited because of either cooking (as Rambam elsewhere appears to classify it (Shabbat 9:6)) or as ma'keh bepatish, completing a nearly finished process. Both authorities, however, agree that a biblical prohibition is violated when metal is heated until it glows. There is no biblical prohibition violated in generating light per se.

Based on the position of Rambam, which most commentaries accept (see Shaar Hatziun, Orach Chaim 218:1), the overwhelming majority conclude that turning on an electric light on Shabbat - an action which heats a metal filament until it glows - violates the biblical prohibition of lighting a flame.4 Some disagree and, based upon the position of Ravad, maintain that while a biblical prohibition is violated, the prohibition is that of cooking (bishul) and not of lighting a flame.5

Yet a third position is found in the commentaries. These authorities limit the statement of the Talmud and codes - that it is prohibited to heat a metal bar until it glows - to the case where the heating is done in order to affect the metal (in the case of the Rambam, to temper the iron). According to these authorities, there is no biblical prohibition intrinsic in the generation of light and heat; rather, that action is only biblically prohibited when it is intended to affect the metal. The incidental heating of the metal in incandescent lights, however, is an action not intended for its designated purpose (melacha she'einah tzrichah legufah) because when one turns on a light one does not intend to affect the metal in the filament. Thus no biblical prohibition occurs. Even the authorities who follow this position concede, however, that a rabbinic prohibition is violated.6

This third position has been categorically rejected by most decisors.7 In fact, in Teshuvot Doveiv Meisharim (1:87), Rabbi Weidenfeld states that the position of those who rule that turning on lights is only a rabbinic violation should not even be taken into consideration by decisors when rendering halachic decisions regarding matters of electricity. Rabbi David Tzvi Hoffman (Melamed Lehoil 1:49) states what has emerged as the consensus opinion: the verse (Exodus 35:3) "One may not create a fire on Shabbat in all your dwellings" describes the prohibition against creating fire of any sort. Current flowing through a filament and causing it to glow creates fire despite the absence of a "flame" and regardless of whether that which is on fire is consumed.8 Rambam's assertion (Shabbat 12:1) that heating a metal is prohibited because of burning only proves this rule, and was not intended to limit it.

The consensus of opinion - accepted by nearly all rabbinic authorities - is that turning on an incandescent electric light on Shabbat violates a biblical prohibition, although the precise prohibition is in dispute; most authorities maintain the prohibition is lighting a flame, and a minority contends that the prohibition is either cooking or ma'keh bepatish.

B. Raising Intensity of an Incandescent Light

Raising the intensity of a light produced by an already glowing incandescent bulb on Shabbat contains issues distinct from that of turning on the light, and in fact a number of modern authorities appear to label this as only a rabbinic violation. Assuming that the prohibition in turning on a light is cooking (bishul), as the Ravad and others maintain, it is possible that raising the heat and light output of the light is analogous to reheating an item which is already cooked. The glowing light is similar to the cooked food. If that is correct, then raising the light intensity is not a biblical prohibition just as reheating an already cooked food is not a biblical violation (Minchat Shlomo pp. 109-110). The Chazon Ish disagrees (Orach Chaim 50:9) and states that since the additional heating increases the light production, it is not analogous to reheating a cooked item, and a biblical prohibition is violated.

According to those authorities who locate the prohibition in turning on a light in burning, as most do, every increase in intensity would logically seem to be an additional violation.9

C. Turning off or Dimming Incandescent Lights

As was first pointed out by R. David Tzvi Hoffman (Melamed LeHoil, Orach Chaim 49) and widely accepted since, the turning off or dimming of an incandescent light on Shabbat is considered to be only a rabbinic violation.10 This is because according to biblical law (deorayta) the only time an action is prohibited on Shabbat is when the prohibited work is done for its direct consequences (melacha she-tzrichah legufah) and that the prohibited result must occur. For example, if one were to pour water onto another's field intending only to dispose of water - and not to irrigate the crops (the intended purpose of the biblical prohibition of watering a field) - although the actions are physically identical to a prohibited biblical action, the intent of the person (to wash his hands rather than irrigate the field) spares one from a biblical violation.11

The Talmud (Shabbat 44a, 42a, 134a) states that extinguishing a flame is biblically prohibited only when the person who is doing the extinguishing desires the product of the extinguished flame (e.g., ashes (carbon black) or dirt) and not when one "merely" intends to remove the flame and have darkeness.12 In all other instances, only a rabbinic violation is committed. Thus, turning off an electric light is certainly no worse than directly extinguishing a lit flame which, if done to create darkness rather than to produce ashes, is only a rabbinic violaton.13

Rabbi Auerbach argues that there is another reason turning off incandescent lights on Shabbat is not a biblical prohibition. He claims that turning off a light by turning off the switch is analogous to removing all the fuel from an oil lamp on Shabbat in manner which does not directly extinguish the flame. If this is so, it would unquestionable be only a rabbinic violation to extinguish a flame on Shabbat.14

D. Non-Incandescent Lights

The use of non-incandescent lights - such as fluorescent15 or neon,16 which do not produce light by heating a strip of metal which glows but rather by electrically exciting gases to emit light - are not prohibited on Shabbat because of the prohibition(s) discussed in this section. Since these lights do not contain a filament that glows, they are halachically identical to an appliance and not a light (and thus will be discussed in part II). There is not generic prohibition to create a light on Shabbat; rather, incandescent lights because of the way they operate happen to violate the prohibition to create a flame. So, too, extinguishing fluorescent "lights" on Shabbat is not rabbinically prohibited as a form of extinguishing since halacha does not recognize that there is a "light" to be turned off.17

Summary

The consensus of opinion is that turning on or raising the intensity of an incandescent light is biblically prohibited on Shabbat. Turning off or dimming such a light is rabbinically prohibited on Shabbat. Non-incandescent "lights" are not considered "lights" according to halacha.18

 

II. Using Electrical Appliances (Other than Lights) During Shabbat

Section one addressed the prohibitions associated with the use of electricity to generate heat and light. This section surveys the halachic issues involved in the use of electricity when there is no apparent generation of (and no intent to create) light and heat. The consensus of halachic opinion maintains that it is typically prohibited to turn on electrical appliances on Shabbat. However, a clear understanding has yet to emerge regarding why such a prohibition exists; indeed, one eminent authority maintains that the use of electrical appliances is only prohibited because of tradition. Seven reasons have been advanced to prohibit the use of electrical appliances on Shabbat.19 The first six reasons are summarized as follows:

1. Turning on an appliance is analogous to creating something new (molid) which is prohibited on Shabbat.
2. Completion of a circuit is prohibited because it is a form of building (boneh).
3. Turning on an appliance violates the prohibition of ma'keh bepatish (completing a product).
4. Completion of a circuit must kindle sparks and therefore is prohibited because it creates a flame.
5. The use of any electrical current leads to an increase in fuel consumption at the power station, which is prohibited.
6. Heating of a metal transistor or wire, even when no visible light is emitted, is prohibited because of cooking or burning.

These first six possible bases for prohibiting the use of electrical appliances on Shabbat divide into two groups. The first four relate to the completion of a circuit which causes current to flow.20 the final two locate the source of the prohibition in running (and not turning on) the appliance. If each of these prohibitions were to be found inapplicable, then only the following reason would remain:

7. The use of electricity without light or heat is actually permitted, but because observant Jews since the invention of electricity have maintained that it is prohibited to use electrical appliances on Shabbat, and rabbinic authorities approved of this stricture, it is prohibited to use such appliances - absent great need - because of tradition.

Each of the six possibilities requires detailed analysis.21

While it is beyond the scope of a survey article to convey the full force of the complete halachic dialogue among the various authorities, an effort has been made to present, along with each opinion, some of the Talmudic proofs and some of the questions raised in opposition to each reason.

A. Creating Something New (Molid)

The possibility that the use of electricity on Shabbat violates the prohibition of molid was first suggested by Rabbi Yitzchak Schmelkes (Beit Yitzchak 2:31). Rabbi Schmelkes states that just as the Sages forbade creating a new fragrant scent in one's clothes on Shabbat, molid reicha (Beitza 23a) - an action which Rashi explains was prohibited because "one who creates something new is almost as one who performs a biblically forbidden act" - so too they forbade creating anything new on Shabbat, including appliances made "new" through the use of electricity or the creation of a current flow. Thus, he states, creating a current flow (molid zerem) is rabbinically forbidden because in doing so one has created something new - a functioning appliance.

Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and many others22 disagree with Rabbi Schmelkes' thesis. Essentially these authorities state that Rabbi Schmelkes' theory must be wrong because any creative act which is routinely done and undone throughout the day cannot be included in the rabbinic prohibition of creating something new. Moreover, there are many examples of "new creations" which were not prohibited by the Sages. Merely because creating a new fragrance is prohibited does not imply that all new "creation" is prohibited on Shabbat. Rabbi Auerbach insists that only a limited number of actions were prohibited in the Talmud because of molid, and one may not extrapolate from these limited examples that creating anything else new (like electrical current) is rabbinically prohibited.

A proof to this can be found in a responsum of the Chacham Zvi (#92), which limits the prohibition of molid to the application of a fragrance to one's clothes. However, he permits one to apply fragrance to many things other than clothes. In addition, Rabbi Auerbach (Minchat Shlomo p. 74) provides numerous examples of new "creative actions" which the rabbis never forbade.

B. Building (Boneh)

The second possible basis for prohibiting the use of electricity can be found first in the works of Rabbi Abraham Isaiah Karelitz, commonly referred to by the name of his magnum opus, Chazon Ish.23 He states that it is likely that completion of a live circuit constitutes a forbidden act of building (boneh) on Shabbat. He reasons that completing a circuit renders a previously useless wire into a functional wire, and this is analogous to competing a building or wall. In addition, completing a circuit is analogous to assembling an appliance composed of numerous parts - which halacha defines as building - and is thus prohibited on Shabbat.

The Chazon Ish's position has aroused great debate among halachic scholars. The most vigorous and thorough critique of this position is found in the eleventh chapter of Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach's work, the Minchat Shlomo. While Rabbi Auerbach advances numerous critiques of the Chazon Ish's position, the most crucial aspect of his criticism is that opening a circuit which is designed to be opened and closed routinely cannot be considered an act of building or destroying.24 Closing a circuit is analogous to closing a door - an action which the halacha does not consider to be "building" since the door is intended to be opened and closed constantly.25

The overwhelming majority of halachic decisors appears to side with Rabbi Auerbach. As the Encyclopedia Talmudit (18:166) states:

From the writing of numerous achronim it appears that turning on an electrical circuit does not violate the prohibition of fixing an object [metaken mana and ma'keh bepatish] or building [boneh].26

Nevertheless, at the very least halachic authorities do take into consideration the opinion of the Chazon Ish on this issue when rendering decisions regarding electricity.27

C. Ma'keh Bepatish (Completing an Appliance)

Some authorities believe that causing an electrical appliance to work is a biblical violation of ma'keh bepatish28 (literally "the final blow of the hammer" but generally understood to mean the final act in finishing any product and making it useful29). These authorities cite as precedent those who prohibited winding a watch for this reason.30 Purely by analogy, these authorities argue that since an electrical appliance is useless before electricity is added to it, the introduction of electric current causes it to become a useful piece of equipment, and is therefore prohibited because of ma'keh bepatish.

Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Minchat Shlomo pp. 69-73) and Rabbi Yaakov Breisch (Chelkat Yaakov 1:53) strongly disagree. They argue that since an appliance is designed to be frequently turned on and off, that action cannot be categorized as ma'keh bepatish. Moreover, they state that it is accepted that an action is considered to be ma'keh bepatish only when that final act is permanent or involves great effort. But, since one does not ordinarily intend to turn on an appliance permanently and since turning on an appliance does not involve great effort, this action cannot be considered as violating ma'keh bepatish. The majority of authorities agree that ma'keh bepatish cannot be the source of the prohibition to turn on electrical appliances.31

D. Sparks

The fourth reason advanced to prohibit turning on appliances during Shabbat is that the mechanical switching on or off of an electrical circuit generates sparks.32 As a general rule, the creation of sparks is forbidden under the rubric of the rabbinic prohibition against producing sparks from wood or stones. Numerous authorities maintain that an electrical appliance that generates sparks is thus prohibited.33

A number of factors, however, indicate that this prohibition is inapplicable to the sparks created by turning mechanical switches on or off. First, these sparks are created unintentionally (davar she'eino mitkaven), and no prohibition exists when there is no intent to perform an action on Shabbat and that action might not occur.34 Second, since these sparks are so small that one cannot detect any heat when touching them, and typically they are not visible, it is possible that these sparks should not be considered fire.33 Additionally, the advent of solid state technology36 and sparkless (arcless) switches frequently makes this issue technologically moot. Thus, Rabbi Auerbach (Minchat Shlomo pp.86-87) states "practically (lehalacha) there isn't even a rabbinic prohibition in the unintentional creation of sparks."

E. Additional Fuel Consumption

Another possible problem is raised by the author of Chashmal Leor Halacha (2:6). He writes that completing a circuit and causing a current flow sometimes causes additional fuel to be consumed by the power station as a result of the increased need for electricity. Causing additional fuel to be consumed perhaps is to be considered in the category of burning which is forbidden on a biblical level. Thus, it might be prohibited to draw increased current on Shabbat.

Rabbi Auerbach (quoted in Shmirat Shabbat Kehilchata 1:23 n. 137) disagrees.37 First, one is only indirectly causing increased fuel consumption (grama). More significantly, greater fuel consumption is not inevitable or even likely when one turns on one appliance, because statistically it is likely that at that very moment, someone elsewhere has turned off an electrical appliance, thereby elimination the need for increased electric output. Finally, outside Israel the power plants are operated by gentiles (if they are not fully automated), and hence the prohibition would only be in directing a non-Jew to violate the Shabbat, which is only a rabbinic prohibition.

F. Heating a Wire or Filament

One other possible prohibition is raised by the Chazon Ish.38 He states that when the current passing through a wire raises the wire's temperature above the temperature at which a human hand pulls away because of the heat (yad soledet bo),39 it is considered to be an act of "cooking" (bishul) and thus prohibited. The Chazon Ish states that this "cooking" is prohibited even though the person who turns on the appliance is unaware that it is occurring and does not intend that there be any "cooking."

Rabbi Auerbach (Minchat Shlomo, p. 107) disagrees and states that a metal wire can only be "cooked" when one intends to soften (or temper) the metal and it glows. Although the wire is lightly softened, once the electricity is extinguished the wire immediately returns to its original state. In addition, one who turns on an appliance has no intention to soften the wires; hence this action can not be defines as "cooking" from the perspective of halacha.40

Additionally, in the last twenty years, solid state technology has become dominant, and fewer and fewer appliances have wires that are heated (vacuum tubes), thus making this argument factually obsolete.

G. Electrical Appliances Permitted

Rabbi Auerbach (Minchat Shlomo 74, 84), after rejecting all the potential sources discussed above for prohibiting the use of electricity when no light or heat is generated, concludes that, at least in theory, electrical appliances that use no heat or light (e.g., a fan) are permitted on Shabbat and Yom Tov. However, he declines actually to permit their use absent urgent need. He states:

In my opinion there is no prohibition [to use electricity] on Shabbat or Yom Tov... There is no prohibition of ma'keh bepatish or molid... (However, I [Rabbi Auerbach] am afraid that the masses will err and turn on incandescent lights on Shabbat, and thus I do not permit electricity absent great need...) ... This matter requires further analysis.

* * * *

However, the key point in my opinion is that there is no prohibition to use electricity on Shabbat unless the electricity causes a prohibited act like cooking or starting a flame.

Rabbi Auerbach additionally states that since the tradition forbids the use of electricity, and this tradition received near unanimous approval from rabbinic authorities in the normal course of events observant Jews should accept this tradition (even though he feels it is based on incorrect premises) and operate under the presumption that the use of electricity without light or heat is a violation, of rabbinic origin, based on molid.41 Only in the case of urgent need does he allow one to rely on his opinion that electricity is permitted where no heat or light is generated.

In cases of urgent need it is possible to accept Rabbi Shmelkes' ruling that electricity is prohibited as a form of creating something new (molid) as correct, and perhaps still use electrical appliances. For example, in a recent work, Shealot Uteshuvot Merosh Tzurim pp. 501-509, Rabbi Shmuel David was asked by kibbutz members if it was permitted to use a telephone on Shabbat to call a veterinarian for advice on a mysterious plague that had struck the chicken coop. This plague was so devastating that it would destroy nearly all of the animals if professional help were not received. Furthermore, these chickens were a significant source of financial support to the kibbutz. Rabbi David ruled that it was permitted to use the telephone if it was used in an unusual manner. He reasoned that in all likelihood, Rabbi Auerbach is correct and no prohibition is violated, and even if the Beit Yitzchak is correct, in cases of great need (perhaps even great financial need, and certainly physical need), since this case involved suffering to living creatures (tza'ar ba'alei chaim), rabbinic prohibitions when done in an unusual manner may be violated.42

So, too, when one is forced to choose between prohibited actions, it is appropriate to realize that the consensus is that electricity without light and heat is a rabbinic and not a biblical violation. For example, if one has to bring a person to the hospital on Shabbat, it is unquestionably preferable to call a taxi (for a gentile driver) by telephone, which most consider only a rabbinic violation (see section IV:b), than to drive there oneself (which is unquestionably a biblical violation), if the few minutes differential in time are irrelevant.

H. Turning Off Appliances

While the tradition is well established that one does not turn off appliances on Shabbat, the reasons for this prohibition are unclear. Of the six reasons advance above to prohibit turning on electrical appliances, the inverse of three of them is directly applicable to turning off appliances. These three reasons are:

1. Just as turning on a circuit is prohibited because it is a form of building (boneh), turning off a circuit is prohibited because of the biblical prohibition to destroy (soter). (Chazon Ish, Reason B Above).
2. Turning off a circuit, just like turning on a circuit, causes sparks to kindle which is prohibited because of mavir (lighting a flame). (Sparks, Reason D Above).
3. Removal of heat from a currently hot metal filament is rabbinically prohibited either because of extinguishing or because of a special prohibition of taking a cooking item off the stove. (Reason F above).

The viability of each of these reasons in the context of prohibiting turning off an appliance is closely connected to its correctness in prohibiting turning on such appliances. For example, if turning on an electrical appliance is actually building (boneh), then it is logical to maintain that turning off an appliance violates the complementary biblical prohibition to destroy (soter). On the other hand, if for the reasons explained above boneh is inapplicable, so too is soter.43

It is also worth noting that the tradition in observant houses is typically to refrain - absent need - even from practices that are apparently permissible according to all written discussion of this issue. For example, these authors are aware of no authority who prohibits one to reduce current flow (without turning off) a solid state appliance on Shabbat. Yet it is clear that the tradition is not normally to engage in such conduct on Shabbat.44

Summary

The reason advanced to prohibit the use of electricity on Shabbat when no light or heat is generated are quite diverse. They range from the biblical prohibition of building to the rabbinic prohibition to create something new (molid) or to tradition without any precise basis in the laws of Shabbat. Whatever the basis, accepted practice generally prohibits the use of electricity on Shabbat even when no light or heat is generated.

III. Electricity and Lights on Yom Tov

The use of light (and electricity) on Yom Tov differs significantly from that of Shabbat in one key respect. On Shabbat it is prohibited either to start or increase a flame. However, on Yom Tov it is permitted to add fuel to an already burning flame.45 For example, while it is prohibited to light a match on Yom Tov, it is permitted to transfer a flame from one candle to another candle. Thus it is prohibited on Yom Tov, just like on Shabbat, to turn on an incandescent light - since turning on a light is (as explained above) halachically identical to lighting a match.46 Unlike Shabbat, however, it is likely that on Yom Tov this is only rabbinically prohibited, as most authorities maintain that even creating a new flame on Yom Tov is only a rabbinic violation.47 So, too, it is only rabbinically prohibited to turn off a light on Yom Tov.48

There are a number of authorities, however, who feel that it is permissible to turn on incandescent lights on Yom Tov. Three distinct reasons have been given to justify this practice.49

1. Turning on a light is only indirectly causing the light to go on. This type of indirect action (grama), while generally prohibited on Shabbat, is permitted for rabbinically prohibited actions on Yom Tov.
2. The prohibition to create a new flame is only violated by using wood, flint, or matches which will not directly contribute to ochel nefesh (food for Yom Tov) or which could have been done before Yom Tov began. Neither of these are applicable to creating new light or heat through electricity.50
3. Turning on an incandescent light actually is the equivalent of only transferring a flame, and not creating a new light, as the flame already resides in the wires.51

A number of rabbinic authorities, including Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank and Rabbi Yechiel Michel Epstein (the author of the Aruch Hashulchan), accepted the approach that permitted turning on lights on Yom Tov.52 However, this is not the approach of most authorities. The consensus of rabbinic authorities maintain that it is prohibited to turn on an incandescent light on Yom Tov.53 After summarizing all those authorities who discuss this issue and concluding that it is prohibited to turn on lights during Yom Tov, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (Yabia Omer, Orach Chaim1:19; 2:26), states:

Since there are those who permit the lighting of electric lights on Yom Tov, one should not strongly rebuke people who turn on lights on Yom Tov - specifically since many congregations in the Diaspora have this tradition with the approbation of their rabbis. Nonetheless, it is proper to explain to such people in a mild voice that most rabbinic authorities are strict about this matter, and the law follows the majority.


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