Ask the rabbi

  • Shabbat and Holidays
  • Electricity on Shabbat

Electronic equipment on Shabbat


Rabbi David Samson

7 Kislev 5763
How is one suppose to deal with an electronic lock during a Shabbat hotel stay?
There is a simple solution. All hotels have a manual security key as well. On Friday you should tell the hotel that you are a religious jew and don't want to activate the electric lock. They should provide you with a key. If for some reason you don't have a key there is no problem asking the hotel security guard to open your door on Shabbat (As long as he is not Jewish). Even though a non-Jew is not allowed to violate the Shabbat for a Jew (Shulchan Orech, Orech Chaim,247,1) , nevertheless, the guard is allowed to open the door for you becase he has the option of doing it with a key. Therefore even if he should use a magnetic card he did so on his own accord and not because of your request. (Mishna Brurah 276, subsection 31) It's worthwhile to check out the airconditioning and light systems as well. In many hotels there is an automatic switch that turn the systems off when you leave the room. This should be turned off for the Shabbat.
Rabbi David Samson is one of the leading English-speaking Torah scholars in the Religious-Zionist movement in Israel. He has co-authored four books on the writings of Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Hacohen Kook and Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook. Rabbi Samson learned for twelve years under the tutelage of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook. He served as Rabbi of the Kehillat Dati Leumi Synagogue in Har Nof, Jerusalem, and teaches Jewish Studies at Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva Institutions.
Tzvi Fishman was a successful Hollywood screenwriter before making Aliyah to Israel in 1984. He has co-authored several Torah works with Rabbi David Samson and written several books on Jewish/Israel topics.
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