Megavolt - Your source for electrical information in Israel




Is It Permissible To Program A Timer To Make A Recording On Shabbat or on Hol HaMoed?

Taken from Daily Halacha by: Rabbi Eli Mansour

We all know it is forbidden to use a tape recorder on Shabbat. This is clear. Chacham Ovadia Yoseph has a Teshuva on this in his sefer ‘Yichave Da’at’. It is forbidden to use a tape recorder certainly if it is activated on Shabbat itself, and even if it was activated from before Shabbat and just continues to operate going into Shabbat. But it must be pointed out the restriction of using a tape recorder doesn’t fall under the category of Ketiva (writing), which is one of the 39 forbidden tasks on Shabbat. The restriction against using a tape recorder is not even considered writing in an abnormal fashion. Chacham Ovadia Yoseph holds that recording is not writing at all. It is a violation against other restrictions, which include the prohibition of ‘Havara’ (kindling a fire), of using electricity and batteries. Bottom line, it is not a transgression of the Torah ban of writing on Shabbat.

Why do I point this out? Because on Hol HaMoed there are items that are permissible to write, and other items that are not permitted to write. (See the Daily Halacha entitled; “Passover- Working and Writing on Chol HaMoed” for some additional insights.) So what is the rule in regards to recorders on Hol HaMoed? Halacha says it would be permissible to talk into a recorder on Hol HaMoed because this is not a form of writing. On Hol HaMoed there are no restrictions against ‘Havara’.

Therefore the Halacha, on Shabbat it is forbidden to use a tape recorder under all circumstances even if it was set by a timer from before Shabbat to run on Shabbat. But on Hol HaMoed, there would be no restriction of talking into a tape recorder. Talking into a tape recorder is not restricted under the laws of Ketiva, and therefore the premise is inapplicable.