Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Shabbat texting app

There's been a lot of discussion over the last few days about the app being developed that might allow texting on Shabbat.

Personally, I don't text much. I'm in my 40's, not my teens, and still prefer verbal conversation. But I can understand the appeal.

There's definitely merit to the arguments that you can make texting halachically permissable.

But the Shabbat observing public has halachic prohibitions, and then they have social ones. And for the past century, Shabbat has come to mean not using electrical or electronic devices. Personally, I'm very thankful for that. I happen to see myself as a pluralist, and I don't think anyone's required to keep halacha if they don't want to, and therefore certainly don't judge anyone for using a phone on Shabbat. Still, I would hate for it to become socially acceptable. It would change the entire flavor of the day.

There's a social aspect to halacha, and social mores that have been established that frame the way we experience Shabbat. And I love Shabbat being that way. So I don't want that tacit social agreement about what constitutes shabbat observance to change.

That being said, I could be persuaded by a Shabbat Kindle...

1 comment:

  1. "It would change the entire flavor of the day."

    How would it change the "entire" flavor of the day? I mean, will it change getting ready for shabbos, showering, dressing in nicer clothes, setting the table a little fancier, lighting candles, kabbalat shabbat and a slower than usual maariv at shul, singing shalom aleichem, kiddush, a fancier and longer than usual meal, singing zemirot, singing benching (with additions), sleeping a little later than usual, shacharit, 8 aliyot leTorah, drasha, an added mussaf, kiddush at shul, a shiur or some individual learning, a festive lunch (maybe with guests), a nap, mincha, a short drasha, seuda shlishit, maariv, havdalah. Which of these things will it change the "entire" flavor of?