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Rabbi Heinemann Defends His Psak Regarding Shabbos Ovens

ov.jpg(Posted 1:00AM EST) As was first reported by YWN last week (HERE), leading Poskim have come out with a Kol Koreh forbidding the pressing of buttons on “Shabbos mode ovens’. Besides for the original letter posted on YWN signed by the Poskei Hador, additional Poskim have come out against using the feature – including a letter by Rav Shlomo Miller.

Click HERE or HERE to listen to a 47 minute Shiur in English of Rabbi Heinemann Shlita explaining his Psak Halacha, at which he concludes that he stands by his P’sak Halacha 100%, but adds that “people should listen to the Rabbonim and Gedolim – and they will tell them what to do”.

(Dov Gordon – YWN)

37 Responses

  1. Thank you for publishing Rav Heinemann’s response.
    I’m on my second brand of Shabbos ovens due to my move to Israel. My first Shabbos oven was a KitchenAid and I was very pleased with it. I first learned of the Shabbos Oven from my Rav, in Monsey, who at that time had just purchased one himself. Besides the Shabbos Oven features which I wanted for the purpose of being able to use the oven for Shabbos and Yom Tov I found that there were two aspects of use that were very useful in general. I had purchased a single, lower oven. I found that because the touch pads could be manipulated so easily, that even a child could accidentally turn the oven on or off. Therefore, the Shabbos mode prevented a child’s being able to turn the oven on or off, and also turning the light inside the oven on or off. This oven proved very easy to learn to use. Unfortunately, it’s not yet available for use in Israel and the brand I purchased, while it has the Star K hashgacha doesn’t come close to the ease of use.

  2. GO FOR IT! and defend your psak, that’s what torah leshem shamayim is all about, something that has lost its ardor over the past years.

  3. I posted this comment on the earlier article as well.

    Upon further reflection, it appears that Rav Heinemann is far from a Daas Yachid, as explained further below.

    It is well-known that Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, ZT”L, was the greatest expert on electricity among the Gedolei HaPoskim. Indeed, he wrote Meorei Aish, a comprehensive Sefer on electricity in Halacha, when he was relatively young.

    Rav Shlomo Zalman held that electricity, WHERE NO LIGHT IS CREATED (e.g. using the telephone), is at most an Issur d’Rabbanan (Rabbinic prohibition) even on Shabbos.

    Rav Shlomo Zalman would, thus, disagree with the signatories on the Kol Koreh, who state that use of Sabbath Mode ovens on Yom Tov (i.e. raising or lowering the temperature) is a Melacha d’Oraisah (Biblical prohibition). Rav Shlomo Zalman would clearly hold that doing so on Yom Tov is, at most, an Issur d’Rabbanan (on Shabbos, raising and lowering the temperature using Sabbath Mode would appear to be a Melacha d’Oraisah, according to Rav Shlomo Zalman, only if it caused the Melacha of Bishul (cooking) to take place).

    In summary, according to Rav Shlomo Zalman, who was not only known as one of the Poskei Hador, but was the most knowledgeable about electricity among the Poskim, there would definitely be no Melacha d’Oraisah to use Sabbath Mode ovens on Yom Tov to raise and lower the temperature. Since we are dealing with what is, at most, a Melacha d’Rabbanan, it is quite reasonable to assume that Rav Shlomo Zalman would agree with Rav Heinemann’s assumption that raising and lowering the temperature on Sabbath Mode ovens is only a Gramma and should be permitted.

  4. azi,

    Torah Leshem Shomayim has nothing to do with giving in to the Daas of the Gedolim, including the Posek Hador!!

    If the Posek Hador feels it is important enough to publicize his opinion against you in such strong terms, there is absolutely no inyan to be stuborn; even if you feel you are correct.

    Reb Elyashiv’s opinion has already been printed in seforim!!

    If you think this is what Torah Leshem Shomayim is “all about”, you are certainly missing the boat!! I sincerely hope you have a new Kabolos Hatorah this Shavuos!!

  5. Daniel, while he may have felt that it would be a drabonon, unless you are a zeduki, it shouldn’t have much relevance. Just because it is drabonon doesn’t make it a grama. I’m not sure why you connected the two.

  6. So let me get this straight… If someone asks Rabbi Heinemann now what to do, what would the Rav tell them? At this point, would he let anyone follow his psak?

  7. Let me get this straight:

    Rabbi Heinemann, a well respected expert in the matter, issues a psak. Several other Rabbis of great stature disagree with Rabbi Heinemann. But, despite the quantity and stringency of the opposition, Rabbi Heinemann sticks to his guns.

    This sounds very familiar! Rabbi Eliezer stood by his views, notwithstanding strong opposition from the other sages [Baba Metzia 59]. And, while Rabbi Heinemann’s psak is over a Shabbos Mode oven, Rabbi Eliezer’s psak was over the “Acnai oven” (whatever that may have been).

    This sounds very, VERY familiar!!

  8. Dear danielb43, You’re missing the point. Read Rav Shlomo Miller’s letter. Nobody’s arguing about electricity. The Melacha D’Orisia is Makeh Be’Patish on Yom Tov.

  9. #8.

    Thank you for allowing me to clarify what I wrote above (in #5).

    According to the Kol Koreh, as I understand it, there is at least a Ch’shash (concern) of a Melacha d’Oraisah involved in using a Sabbath Mode oven to raise or lower the temperature on Yom Tov. The two Melachos mentioned are “Makeh B’patish” and “Mesaken.”

    With regard to Gramma, the Poskim cited are of the opinion that, because information is entered immediately into the microprocessor, this is not considered a Gramma. Furthermore, they cite the opinion of “a number of authorities” that Gramma “does not apply to situations where the eventual outcome is intentional.” According to this view, when the temperature goes up or down after a delayed reaction, this is not considered a Gramma, because the intent is to adjust the temperature.

    Rav Heinemann (in his Teshuva) is lenient on these two points, holding that 1.) Any immediate instructions given to the microprocessor (when raising or lowering the temperature in Sabbath Mode) are not perceptible to the user (and perhaps to anyone), and that, therefore, the Halacha does not forbid raising and lowering the temperature in Sabbath Mode and, 2.) The delayed reaction in the temperature going up or down in Sabbath Mode constitutes a Gramma (which would be permitted on Yom Tov).

    Assuming, as these Poskim do, that we are dealing with a Ch’shash d’Oraisah (of “Makeh B’patish” and/or “Mesaken), it makes sense to be stringent on the two points where Rav Heinemann is being lenient.

    However, according to Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, ZT”L, we are dealing with what is, at most, an Issur d’Rabbanan (see post #5 above), EVEN WITHOUT THE MITIGATING FACTOR OF GRAMMA. Under such circumstances, it is perfectly reasonable to assume that Rav Shlomo Zalman would have been lenient regarding the two points discussed above (because of Safek d’Rabbanan l’Kulah).
    In summary, the matter at issue can be reasonably characterized as a Machlokes between Rav Eliashiv and Rav Shlomo Zalman, based on their differing views as to the Halachos of electricity. Rather than being a Daas Yachid, Rav Heinemann’s position in consistent with that of Rav Shlomo Zalman. Although the Poskim who signed onto the Kol Koreh appear to agree with Rav Eliashiv, this factor needs to be weighed against 1.) Rav Shlomo Zalman’s unparalleled expertise in the Halachos and Metzius of electricity and 2.) The fact that there are likely a number of contemporary Poskim who would take a lenient view, but are afraid to do so publicly.

  10. Baki- The button has a delay feature which means that pressing it has no immediate effect! Therefore, although an Issur Dirabbonon must be kept (and we are NOT Tzeddukim) However, the Halacha is that a Gerama of an Issur Dirabbanan is Muttar on Yom Tov!!!

  11. #19 – the button cannot have a delay! the computer electronics trigger IMMEDIATELY when the button switch is closed.

  12. did any of you listen to rav heinemans shiur – he says clearly at the end that although he holds of his psak there is a mitzvah to listen to the gedloim and one should consult their rav what to do lemaaseh – much as rav elyashiv is mara diarah diyisroel (i heard rav kreisworth refer to him that way) there is no din of zaken mamareh to argue with him

  13. still waiting for the first “Koolah” to come from Eretz Yisroel. since Rav Shloime Zalman was niftar everything has become assur. He looked for koolas to make life easier for the hamoin am today the opposite is true lets make everything assur because we are all so much frummer.
    Can you imagine the outcry today if R’ Shloime Zalmans psak about allowing someone from chutz laaretz who is in eretz yisroel for the second day yom to ride a city bus as long as someone else pays for him. the kol koahs would be pages long against him

  14. Typical Star K attitude, response, etc. Their whole operation is now being reflected in the Shabbos/Yom Tov Oven kulos!

    Achrei Rabim obviously does not carry any weight.

    To the one (#11) who compares this to Tanur Achino (B”M 59), just recall what they DID TO REB ELEIEZER! Besides NIDUI, they burnt all he was METAHAR LEMIFREIA! Do you want the Kol Korei to likewise PASUL all his Pesukim Retroactively ????

  15. goodpop,

    I must protest for the sake of Kavod Hatorah (which you should have on erev Shavuos!!)

    You are talking about real Gedolim here who are “so much frummer”!! Who do you think YOU are!?!

    Rabbi Heineman aint no Reb Shlomo Zalman and Reb Shlomo Zalman is unfortunately not around anymore. And I highly doubt he would have apointed you as his mouthpiece!!


  16. If the Posek Hador feels it is important enough to publicize his opinion against you in such strong terms, there is absolutely no inyan to be stuborn; even if you feel you are correct.
    Some of you are aware that the Chazon Ish and Rav Shlomo Zalman had a strong difference opinion halachicly about electricity, so Bnei brak did one thing and Yerushayalim kept another way. THEREFORE…….

  17. This is a response to #15. Please see my posts above (#5 and #14).

    There is nothing wrong with a contemporary Rav ruling in accordance with Rav Shlomo Zalman’s view, even though the latter is no longer living. Although Rav Shlomo Zalman did not address the precise issue of Sabbath Mode ovens (I do not believe they were in existence in 1995 when he was Niftar), it is perfectly reasonable for a Posek to base his ruling on the principles of Halacha set forth in Rav Shlomo Zalman’s Seforim.

    Rav Shlomo Zalman’s writings on electricity strongly support a lenient approach with regard to Sabbath Mode ovens, as previously discussed (posts #5 and #14). Even if it’s not certain that Rav Shlomo Zalman would have been lenient, a Posek who generally takes his approach regarding electricity has the right to consider this a Safek d’Rabbanan. I cannot believe that Rav Eliashiv would tell such a Posek to reject Rav Shlomo Zalman’s approach in favor of his.

    If any Rabbanim who are inclined to rule leniently are reading this, I recognize your predicament; no Rav wants to go against such a strong Kol Koreh. Here is a suggested response to one who asks you a Sheilah (assuming that you agree with my approach): “According to Rav Shlomo Zalman’s view of electricity in Halacha, one can be lenient (based on Safek d’Rabbanan l’Kulah). Rav Eliashiv and several other great Poskim are stringent, based on their view of electricity in Halacha. My Mesorah is to rule in matters of electricity according to Rav Shlomo Zalman, whose expertise in electricity was unparalleled among the Poskim. Therefore one can be lenient.” Another approach is to suggest raising and lowering the temperature with a Shinuy (in an unusual manner – e.g. with the back of one’s knuckle). This would remove the possibility of a Melacha d’Oraisah even according to the stringent opinion. It should be explained that this is only appropriate in special circumstances (such as this case where, even without a Shinuy, there is ample authority to rely upon).

    Wishing Klal Yisrael a wonderful Yom Tov. May we all accept the Torah k’Ish Echad b’Lev Echad, and recognize that Halachic disputes are nothing new (although publicizing one side of a dispute in the form of a Kol Koreh seems to be a recent innovation).

  18. To #26 – Danielb43 – do you also recommend considering the “Tweaker” knob that is used only on Yom Tov to be “Shinuy” for purposes like this if not simply being as permissible as a flame adjustment?

  19. “Torah Leshem Shomayim has nothing to do with giving in to the Daas of the Gedolim, including the Posek Hador!!”

    Rav Moshe Feinstein in Iggros Moshe (Yoreh De’ah 3:88) says that there is absolutely no inyan for a qualified posek to be mevatel his psak to the Godol HaDor.

    The Chazon Ish (Yoreh De’ah 150) says that there is absolutely no inyan (in the absence of a Sanhedrin) of following the majority in determining a ruling. You just follow your own Posek.

  20. Please see my previous posts (#5, 14, and 26).

    Below I present further support that Rav Heinemann’s view is consistent with that of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, ZT”L.

    Rav Shlomo Zalman would appear to agree with Rav Heinemann that an action is considered a Gramma, even if the result is intended. See Minchas Shlomo p.p. 75-76, where Rav Shlomo Zalman discusses using a telephone on Shabbos and Yom Tov [in case of need, short of Pikuach Nefesh]. He addresses the fact that the caller causes the telephone to ring at the other end, which would seem to be an Issur d’Rabbanan. Rav Shlomo Zalman states that (at least with a dial phone) causing the phone to ring at the other end would be a Gramma (unless one argues that, since telephones are always dialed that way, this would be considered a direct action, an argument that Rav Shlomo Zalman does not appear to accept).

    Now, it is clear that the person making the call intends for the phone to ring at the other end; otherwise, the recipient of the call will not know to pick up the receiver. Despite this, Rav Shlomo Zalman assumes that this would be considered a Gramma. So too with Sabbath Mode ovens: Even though the user intends to raise or lower the temperature, Rav Shlomo Zalman would seem to hold that this is considered a Gramma, not a direct action.

    With regard to the issue of the current programming of the microprocessor (i.e. without any time delay – see my earlier posts), Rav Shlomo Zalman would almost certainly agree with Rav Heinemann’s reasoning to be lenient, as demonstrated below.

    In the 10th chapter of Minchas Shlomo, Rav Shlomo Zalman permits opening a refrigerator on Shabbos, even when the motor is not running, based on a combination of factors. At one point, he discusses what the prohibition would be to ACTIVELY turn on the motor of a refrigerator. He states: “I do not know what the prohibition would be in doing so.” Rav Shlomo Zalman rejects the opinion [of the Beis Yitzchak] that the prohibition would be Molid (an Issur d’Rabbanan of creating something, similar to the prohibition of infusing a garment with a pleasant scent), because we are unable to create new prohibitions on our own. Rav Shlomo Zalman appears to hold that, according to the strict Halacha, there is no prohibition at all, and states that, in any event, there is no Issur d’Oraisah. See Minchas Shlomo p. 84.

    Just to be clear, Rav Shlomo Zalman did not categorically permit using electricity on Shabbos, even absent the generation of light and heat. After all, he only permitted opening a refrigerator (when the motor is off) based on a combination of factors. However, Rav Shlomo Zalman appears to hold that it is probably permissible, according to the letter of the law, to use electricity on Shabbos when you are not generating light and heat.

    In our case, however, there are several additional reasons to be lenient: The programming of the microprocessor is being done 1.) on Yom Tov, not Shabbos, 2.) for the purpose of Ochel Nefesh (although, based on “Mitoch,” this second reason might not be essential) and 3.) in a manner that is undetectable. With these additional factors, it is hard to fathom that Rav Shlomo Zalman would be stringent on something that he held is technically permissible even on Shabbos, and even when done in a manner that IS detectable.

  21. As an addendum to #30, not only does Rav Shlomo Zalman hold that an action is considered a Gramma even when you intend the result to happen, but this is the opinion of the Mishnah Berurah as well (334:55).

  22. As a matter of realpoitik, R. Heinemann’s view will be the one to prevail for the simple reason that ovens without the twelve hour shutoff will cease to be manufactured, ovens without digital displays will also cease to be manufactured and computers controls on day to day technology will become more ubiquitous with time. The critical mass of Klal Yisrael will, most probably, be unwilling to do without these devices, even over yom tovim. To make the point humourously, consider the following conversation between a husband and wife:
    W: H we need a new oven
    H: Go get a new oven
    W: I’m getting one with Shabbos mode
    H: No Way!!!! Gedolei Yisrael hold it to be assur to use them on Yom Tov
    W: Ok, but then the oven I buy will shut off after twelve hours and every meal after dinner the first night of Yom Tov will be either cold or poorly heated on the plata. No soup for us or other delecacies
    H: Wait a minute, I seem to recall that there is a deah about the oven we can rely upon. . .

  23. To #33.

    Your hypothetical dialogue is quite amusing.

    Jokes aside, everyone agrees that Sabbath Mode ovens are a very necessary development, and that ovens with digital display MUST be put in Sabbath Mode before Shabbos and Yom Tov. Otherwise, the digital display will change almost immediately when you open the oven (a possible violation of Koseiv, probably Mid’Rabbanan), and the oven will automatically shut off after 6-12 hours, making it unusable for the rest of Yom Tov.

    Everyone further agrees that, even in Sabbath Mode, the temperature may not be adjusted on Shabbos (because Gramma is not routinely permitted on Shabbos, only in case of great need, such as to extinguish a spreading fire).

    The sole issue is whether the temperature may be adjusted on Yom Tov when the oven is in Sabbath Mode. Rav Shlomo Zalman would almost certainly permit this, as demonstrated in my previous posts (#5, 14, 26, and 30). Rav Eliashiv forbids this, as do the other signatories on the Kol Koreh.

    As with all Halachic disputes between Gedolei HaPoskim, “Eilu v’Eilu Divrei Elokim Chaim.” I have the utmost respect for those who follow the stringent opinion, although they might be interested to know that this is almost certainly a Machlokes between Rav Shlomo Zalman and Rav Eliashiv. However, those who are lenient should also be respected, as Rav Shlomo Zalman is more than ample authority to rely upon.

    Submitting to the ruling of a great Posek should be an act of humility, not a sword used to be Mevatel others (especially those who are relying on the opinion of another great Posek).

  24. #8, Baki wrote:

    “Daniel, while he may have felt that it would be a drabonon, unless you are a zeduki, it shouldn’t have much relevance.”

    Baki, Just as a point of information I think you are under a common misconception confusing Torah Shebaal Peh with Isurim D’rabanon.
    Torah Shebaal Peh (which is what the Tzedukim rejected) refers to those halachos that are D’ORAISA but which are derived by way of drasha, through the midos shehatorah nidreshes bahen (e.g. the identification and categorization of the 39 malachos).

    An issur D’rabanan, by contrast, of the type being referred to here, is a gezeirah that the chachomim implemented to serve as a safeguard against violating and issur d’oraisa.

    So your allegation that someone who questions the applicability of an issur d’rabnanan must be a tzeduki, is inaccurate (that’s my nice way of sayng ignorant). In fact issurim d’rabanan, are frequently put aside in certain circumstances depending on the particulars of the case. The key point is that one must be a competent posek with a valid mesorah in practical halacha to make such decisions. I suspect neiether of us qualifies.

  25. it would be very appropriate for YW to keep all the “poskim” off your comments’site. This is enormously innacurate and misleading.This is not a social issue to be decided by half-chachomim. For those Whose lifeline is Halacha, these comments are quite dangerous. Leave the gibberish out off “site” and the halacha in the hands of exprts. Be not shofet the shoftim. This got us in deep trouble before. Boruch hachonen leadam daas.

  26. To #36.

    Because it was alleged that Rav Heinemann was a Daas Yachid, it was very important, in my view, to show that this is, in fact, a Machlokes between Gedolei HaPoskim.

    I was not suggesting that everyone decide for himself. Everyone should, of course, contact his own Rav, who will take the totality of his circumstances into account. However, because of Rav Shlomo Zalman’s approach to electricity, Rabbanim will have room to rule leniently.

  27. historically, halacha is decided by the general public significantly more than it is decided by poskim. I don’t mean disrepectfully, or even that this is the correct way, just that historically, this is what has happened.

    something I learned over shavous, look at the rishonim in ashkenaz about shmita k’sfaim. look at how they write about how no one did shmita ksfaim, and how they bent over backwards to justify the practice, even when they felt the practice was wrong. this is very common amongst the rishonim. See the teshuvot ha’rosh, trumot hadeshen and the rema in the shulchan aruch (amongst others) on this topic

  28. #38.

    Rav Shlomo Zalman was also well-aware of all the other major viewpoints on electricity, and took them into account. He was not afraid to argue on those greater than he, such as the Chazon Ish, as is the Derech HaTorah (See Igros Moshe, Y.D. 3:88).

    Furthermore, as previously discussed, it is well-known that Rav Shlomo Zalman’s understanding of the Metzius of electricity was unmatched among any of the Poskim.

    I agree that it’s not a matter to be decided by each individual, but for Rabbanim to Poskin for their Kehilos. Rabbanim have been taking Rav Shlomo Zalman’s views into account ever since Shmiras Shabbos K’Hilchasah was first published (around 1965), and that is not likely to stop.

    It would be a revolutionary change in the Halachic process if one Kol Koreh (or multiple Kol Koreh’s) meant that Rabbanim had to reject Rav Shlomo Zalman’s approach regarding electricity. I am certain that this was not the intent of the signatories (many of whom probably consider themselves Talmidim of Rav Shlomo Zalman). Rather, the likely intent was that Rabbanim should also take into account the opinion of the signatories, which, until now, was unknown.

  29. As with other recent kol korehs, I’m struck by the striking change of language used by today’s sages, as compared with language used in statements issued by previous generations. If one would compare the language used in the sages’ ban on the Conservative movement, more than a generation ago, with language used to ban concerts, recently, or even this one, the tone is entirely less civil than before. I’ve noticed this change of tone since the deaths of Rav Pam, zt’l, Rav Miller, ztl, and Rav Hutner, zt’l. I cannot say whether the harsh language of today is the result of a change in attitude among the sages themselves, or because they are allowing zealots to write the kol korehs and no one seems willing to read and edit what was written before it goes out. G-d willing, the next generation of Torah leadership will look to the great sages of yesteryear for inspiration, avoid personal attacks against colleagues and other Torah-faithful Jews, and help heal the wounds of this generation.

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