Refrigerators of decades past utilized only three primary electric functions that made them muktza:
1) opening the door activated a switch that turned on the fridge light, 2) a mechanical thermostat activated the compressor that regulated temperatures and 3) a timer triggered the heating element that defrosted the freezer. According to many poskim, merely deactivating the door switch or removing the bulb made refrigerators permissible for use on Shabbat; normal use did not affect any of the refrigerator’s other functions. Most of today’s high-tech refrigerators include a multitude of sensors that regulate a variety of functions. For example, electronic counters monitor the number of times refrigerator doors are opened. Frost sensors monitor refrigerator moisture levels, while these and other instruments determine when the defrost heating element turns on and off. Many compressors run continually but at variant power levels. These functions are often directly affected by each and every opening or closing of the fridge door. Switches that could be circumvented before Shabbat are now commonly replaced by sensors that cannot be avoided. According to Darin Franks, Chief Engineer at General Electric, today’s refrigerators have “as many as seven or eight computers onboard.”
In response to interest from Jewish consumers, GE (using technology from ZmanTech and HalachicTechUSA) has developed the Shabbos Keeper, which interfaces
with more than 100 models of GE’s 36-inch French Doors line. “With this device, we are able to meet the needs of the Jewish community in a way I don’t think anyone has been able to do before,” declared GE CEO Kevin Nolan. “This technology works seamlessly and takes the worry out of refrigerator use.” The Shabbos Keeper is preprogrammed with Shabbos and yom tov dates for the next 30 years, and automatically disengages any of the technology that creates Shabbos concerns. There is no need to cover switches, unscrew bulbs or activate a Shabbat mode. OU Kosher, through its Halacha and Technology Division led by Rabbi Tzvi Ortner, is excited to endorse this product, which automatically resolves all Shabbat and yom tov issues associated with Shabbat refrigerator use according to even the most stringent halachic opinions.
With its Halacha and Technology Division, the OU seeks to help provide products and solutions that make the use of technology both worry-free and in full observance of halacha.
- Automatic pre-programmed Shabbat and yom tov dates and times.
- Low energy light stays on for the duration of Shabbat and yom tov.
- Electronic ice maker and water dispenser are automatically inactive on Shabbat.
- Compressor regulated independently from users’ actions.
- Defrost regulated exclusively by timer.
- No forgetting refrigerator switches, lights or Shabbat mode.
- No computer messaging and reading affected by users during Shabbat and yom tov use.
Rav Shlomo Miller – Av Beis Din, Rosh Kollel: Toronto and Lakewood
“I have written my concerns regarding the use of contemporary refrigerators on Shabbos and the flaws that exist with current solutions. The GE Shabbos Keeper eliminates these problems and is recommended for those who wish to avoid any concerns regarding refrigerator use on Shabbos.”
Rav Hershel Schachter : Rosh Kollel REITS, OU Posek
“The new GE Shabbos Keeper appears to solve all the halachic problems associated with opening refrigerators on Shabbos, and is highly recommended.”
Rav Mordechai Gross: Av Beis Din: Chanichei, Yeshivos Bnei Brak
“I was pleased to hear that the great Poskim in the U.S. and Canada have endorsed the Shabbos Keeper made by GE, which was made with great thought and in consultation with experts in the U.S. and Israel. Praiseworthy are those who utilize this device.”
Download the OU Guide to Passover 2018 here.