Halacha for Thursday 7 Tammuz 5781 June 17 2021

Changing a Timer on Shabbat

Since many people have asked about this, let us discuss this topic briefly without delving into the halachic intricacies.

We have already explained in the past that one may set a timer before Shabbat to turn on/off any electrical appliance, such as lights, air conditioners, and electric hotplates on Shabbat.

Digital Timers
Digital timers which require some sort of electric function to change its current status (or a mechanical timer which must be completely stopped in order to change its status) may not be changed on Shabbat at all. Our entire discussion relates only to regular timers which are surrounded by clips or pins which control whether or not the appliance will go on or off at a certain time.

Extending the “On” Status
Let us now discuss when it is permissible or forbidden to change the status of a timer on Shabbat:

When the lights or appliance is on and one wishes to extend this status so that it remains on longer than it would if one left the timer as is, for instance, if the timer is set to turn the lights off at ten o’clock and one wishes to extend it to eleven o’ clock, one may move, push, or pull the pins in order to delay the lights turning off.

Making it Turn Off Earlier
One should not change the current status and set the timer to have the electricity turn off earlier. (However, if this is being done to turn the lights off earlier for a sick individual who is bothered by the light, this would be permissible. See Yalkut Yosef and Halacha Berura Chapter 277 for an in-depth explanation.)

Extending the “Off” Status
If the electricity is currently off and one wishes to prolong this status until a later time, for instance, if the light is supposed to turn on at eleven o’clock and one wishes for it to turn on only at twelve o’clock, this too is permissible by moving the pins accordingly in order to extend the current “off” status.

Making it Turn On Earlier
However, one should not change the current “off” status in order to have the electricity turn on earlier. (Some permit this when this is being done for the purpose of a Mitzvah.)

Summary: One may change the pins on a timer to extend its current status, i.e., for the electricity to remain on or off for a longer time, however, one may not change the current status of the timer by making it turn on or off earlier than it would have based on its setting at the onset of Shabbat.

Ask the Rabbi


ספר אביר הרועים - בית מידות
ספר אביר הרועים
לפרטים לחץ כאן

הלכה יומית מפי הראש"ל הגאון רבי יצחק יוסף שליט"א

דין ברכת שפטרנו מעונשו של זה
לחץ כאן לצפייה בשיעורים נוספים

Recent Halachot

"תנא דבי אליהו כל השונה הלכות בכל יום מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא"

נדה ע"ג א'

8 Halachot Most Popular

Taking Haircuts and Shaving During the Omer Period

Abstaining from Taking Haircuts During the Omer It has become customary among the Jewish nation to refrain from taking haircuts during the Omer counting period: According to the Ashkenazi custom, until the 33rd day of the Omer and according to the Sephardic custom, until the morning of the 34th day......

Read Halacha

Producing Sound and Whistling on Shabbat

The Gemara in Masechet Eruvin (104a) tells us that our Sages banned producing sound on Shabbat and Yom Tov, for instance, by playing a musical instrument, for they were concerned that while the tune is being played, the player will come to fix the instrument. This decree would certainly apply eve......

Read Halacha

Clapping and Drumming on a Table on Shabbat and Yom Tov

The Gemara in Masechet Beitzah (30a) states that one may not drum, clap, or dance on Shabbat lest one come to fix a musical instrument (ibid. 36b). This means that just as we have discussed in the previous Halachot that our Sages have decreed that one may not play musical instruments on Shabbat ......

Read Halacha

Toys Which Produce Sound and those Which Operate Using a Spring or Coil

Question: Is it permissible for one to allow one’s young children to play with toys which produce sound, such as a doll which makes noise when shaken, on Shabbat? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have discussed the prohibition of producing sound on Shabbat, such as by banging on a board, ......

Read Halacha


Praying in Pajamas

Question: Can one pray while wearing pajamas? Answer: Approximately one week ago, we have discussed that, before praying, one must prepare a fitting place, proper attire, and cleanse one’s body and thoughts, as the verse in the book of Amos states, “Prepare yourself before your G-d, I......

Read Halacha

Praying Barefoot

Question: May one pray while wearing sandals or while one is barefoot? Answer: When one prays, one must prepare one’s environment, clothing, body, and thoughts accordingly, for one will be standing before the King of all kings. Respectable Garments While Praying The Gemara (Shabbat 9b) ......

Read Halacha

Question: How many “Kezayit”s (olive’s volume) of Matzah must one consume during the Pesach Seder?

Answer: One is obligated to eat altogether three “Kezayit”s of Matzah during the Pesach Seder. Every Kezayit amounts to approx. 30 grams of Matzah. Nevertheless, there is room for stringency to eat four or even five “Kezayit”s of Matzah, as we shall now explain. The Order......

Read Halacha

Kissing One’s Parents’ Hands on Shabbat Night- The Students of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai

Question: Should one kiss the hands of one’s parents and receive a blessing from them on Shabbat night and does the same apply equally to one’s father and mother? Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Avodah Zarah (17a) tells us that when Ulah (a sage who lived during the Talmudic era) would......

Read Halacha