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Fridges and Shabbos

Fridges and Shabbos

What should be done regarding today’s fridges that have sensors? Is it permissible to open them at all on shabbos? Does a shinui help? Is it called a goirem when the sensors go on when I open the door or is it a gram d’grama? Can the rav explain in detail so we can know what to do on shabbos


Any obvious activation of an electronic device, such as a digital display which changes upon opening the door, or any light going on upon opening the door is forbidden. For such issues a shinui is not sufficient and the device must be deactivated.

The more complex issue is that of sensors which are activated based on temperature changes or other internal workings of the modern fridge which are activated by temperature change or opening the door. Even with oven thermostats which are quite sensitive, Igros Moshe [O:C 4:74:28] permitted opening when the oven was off, as it is not a psik reisha [definite result] that the oven will be activated.

If one can easily purchase a fridge with a Shabbos mode which will avoid all issues that would certainly be commendable. For one who has a modern fridge without Shabbos mode the above question remains. A more extensive teshuva from the Rav will be forthcoming soon, be”h.

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