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Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Oct 17 2014
YidTecBy YidTec
First created
YidTecBy YidTec
First created
$2,084
pledged of $36,000pledged of $36,000 goal
54
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Oct 17 2014

About

Today a smartphone is an integral part of a persons lifestyle - in fact 65% of Americans own a smartphone. Currently, smartphone use on Shabbos is considered prohibited. Unfortunately, this does not stop many otherwise frum Yidden from using their devices  on Shabbos, and can make Shabbos harder for the Yid that does not use a smartphone.

The beauty of the Torah is that it is a living Torah that enables Yidden to live by its rules in every generation. In the same way Shabbos clocks have enabled Frum Yidden to have light, air conditioning and heating on Shabbos, as well as many other modern day inventions enable Yidden to further enjoy the Shabbos, so does the Shabbos App!  

The Shabbos App will give all Yidden a way to keep Shabbos in accordance with the view of most poskim still take full advantage of the wonderful technology the world has to offer.

There are a few potential issurei derabanon that may occur when using a smartphone on Shabbos including:

Writing: Typing creates a few problems. The most serious being the melacha of kosaiv, as when one types it appears on the screen and this may be considered a form of kesiva. Additionally, typing on Shabbos the same way to type during the week is a problem of “uvdah d’chol”. Last, text that is typed remains as data on the phones hard drive and is theoretically permanently “written” on the hard drive as data (until it is removed) - this is a potential issur derabanon of writing (Kosaiv) according to some Poskim.

Sounds: Sounds are made when a user notifies or is notified of new messages, watches videos, listens to songs, etc. This is a potential issur derabanon of making noise (Hashma'as Kol) which is assur..

Screen: Screen: Turning the screen on and off is may be similar to turning a non-incandescent lamp on and off - this can be an issur derabanon of making a fire Mavir or Molid and possibly Boneh, Soser and Makeh bepatish.

Misuse: On Shabbos, one may not engage in any business and weekday like activity such as business emails, stock quotes, shopping, etc

The Shabbos App addresses all of the potential halachic issurim that can occur when using a smartphone on Shabbos. Below is a brief synopsis of how the Shabbos App resolves the problems.

Muktzah: With the Shabbos App installed the phone and activated becomes usable on Shabbos and therefore is not considered mukzah.

Uvdah D’chol: When the Shabbos App is activated, the screen is flipped upside down and locked in that mode, so that a user would hold need to hold the phone in the opposite manner that it is held during the weekdays. This is a very distinctive difference in how the phone is used - as (a) on a regular weekday nobody would hold the phone upside down (b) the telephone is awkward to use as the speaker is on the bottom and microphone on the top so holding the phone in this manner is definitely “a shinui”. Most importantly, while messaging in the Shabbos App completely different than the regular keypad. 

Writing: The Shabbos App features a unique keyboard that works differently from the keypad that a user would use all week. The keypad is replaced with complete words. A user is able to create a sentence using a combination of words included in the app (120) and can add an additional 30 custom words for a total of 150 word choices. This is not Kosaiv as Kosaiv only applies to creating a word, not to taking existing words and forming a sentence.

Sounds: All sounds are disabled when the app is active. The user can choose to receive a vibration for new notifications or visual indicators, or both vibration and visual. The visual indicator on the information bar will display any new notifications. If there are alarms set before Shabbos to ring they will continue to work.

Screen: The app forces the LED backlight of the screen to stay actively lit the entire Shabbos on 1% brightness (this is a very small drain on the battery and will not cause the battery to drain over Shabbos) once the user touches the screen the brightness will change to the preset brightness for use. This function of keeping the backlight on at 1% the entire duration of Shabbos inhibits any potential issur derabonan of turning the screen on and off.

Misuse: When the Shabbos App is active all functions of the phone are blocked except for the integrated Shabbos App messaging app and ebooks. In the future we will introduce additional modules that will enable more features in a permissible manner.

Halachic Misconceptions and Facts

There are several misconceptions as to why a person may not use a smartphone on Shabbos, they are as follows:

Misconceptions of Mavir (making a fire)

(1) The battery can get extremely hot from use and therefore can be a potential issur derabanon or d’Orisah (depending on the posaik) of making a fire. (2) Making an LED lamp brighter from touching the screen is similar to making a fire brighter -Mavir.

  • Fact: (1) The battery getting hot from usage is not a problem for two reasons (a) it does not happen from any single action that a user directly does, rather from an accumulation of acts or length of time - and none of which make it heat up directly from that use, which makes it a safeik. (b) the user does not want the battery to get hot, this is “lo nicha lei”. So the battery getting hot is a safeik pesik resha delo nichah lei, this according to all pokim is permissible.
  • Fact: (2) Adjusting the LED backlight by touching the screen is not a problem of Mavir as the LED runs cold, meaning the actual LED source of light is cold (this is complex because sometimes one can feel an LED bulb and it will feel warm, however, the warm that one feels is not from the actual LED but rather from the inefficiency of the semiconductor processes that generate light) unlike an incandescent bulb where the actual filament burns and that produces the light.
Misconceptions of Muktzah (prohibition of moving/using)
(1) A smartphone has no permissible use on Shabbos and therefore is a “kli shemachto l’issur” and therefore is muktzah. (2) A smartphone is an expensive item and therefore is “muktzah machmas chisaron kis”.

  • Fact: (1) A standard smartphone which is not running the Shabbos App would indeed be muktzah as there is no use for it on Shabbos and it is used for prohibited uses. However, with the Shabbos App enabled the phone is now usable on Shabbos on therefore is not muktzah.

  • Fact: (2) A smartphone with the Shabbos App enabled is not “muktzah machmas chisaron kis” because a phone is something constantly used and not reserved for a special use

Misconception of Boneh, Soser, Molid and Ma’keh bepatish:

(1) Making an LED lamp brighter from touching the screen it is like creating a new fire which is Molid according to Schmelkes’ view of molid and (2) Boneh and Soser according to the Chazon Ish as you are building/breaking a circuit and building/breaking the device to work/stop working. (3) Making a device work is Ma’keh bepatish.

  • Fact: (1) Adjusting the LED backlight by touching the screen is not Molid as the lamp is already on, Molid can only exist when you introduce and create something new.
  • Fact: (2) It is not boneh or soser, as boneh and sose as that would only apply to making a circuit and breaking a circuit using a physical switch, neither of which apply here. Additionally, one is not making or breaking the device functionality, as it is already functioning.
  • Fact (3):Ma’keh bepatish can only apply when you do something that makes the device “come to life” if the device is already on and functioning it can not be Ma’keh bepatish.

Misconception of Uvdeh d’chol:

Using a phone is a weekday like activity - “uvdah d’chol” and is therefore assur.

  • Fact: This is wrong for a few reasons (a) There are many electrical devices we use that are used in same way as the week on shabbos such as a fridge, freezer, hot water urn, warming drawers, hot plate, etc. (b) If one uses the phone in a different manner than during the weekday it is not doing the same thing as one does during the week. (c) using the phone on Shabbos to connect with friends and relieves stress as to the whereabouts of kids and elderly parents enhances the Shabbos.
To learn more about use of electrical items on Shabbos we recommend reading The Use Of Electricity On Shabbat And Yom Tov by Rabbi Michael Broyde and Rabbi Howard Jachter

To help fund this revolutionary and innovative project and to increase shemiras Shabbos k’hilchsah in the world, please view and support the Shabbos App on Kickstarter. As an early supporter of the Shabbos App (first 200 people) with a $5.00 donation to our campaign, you will receive, upon its release, the Shabbos App, free of charge.

Risks and challenges

We are working with a team of highly skilled programmers for both android and Apple phones (this project however, is not for iOS). Additionally, we are working with many halachic authorities to make sure that the programming and results fully comply with the halachic requirements. With any app development there can be delays and bugs. We have allocated more than ample time to complete the development and extensive testing of the app prior to the scheduled release.

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Funding period

- (60 days)