Buy Me an E-Reader, I’ll Figure Out the Halacha Later
The fact that I am shomer shabbat has been the major obstacle to my buying a kindle or nook.
However, that all changed recently. My sister, Adina, is applying to a few business schools (Shout out!). Because she works in the corporate world, she is the go-to sibling to check cover letters and résumés. But when she needed to add a little panache to her application essays, she asked me to help her out.
In her gratitude she wanted to buy me something. Initially I requested this. As I thought about it, however, I figured I could parlay this favor, Chanukah and some of my own money into an e-reader.
Which brings me to the point.
I am both shomer shabbat and an avid bibliophile. I do most of my reading on the Holy Sabbath. I mean, besides hanging out with friends, what else am I going to? But, there was no real reason to buy a kindle or nook because I couldn’t use it on Shabbat. If I can’t use it on the day when I would use it most, there is no real point.
But suddenly! A glimmer on the horizon.
A few years ago there was an article written about shomer shabbos-friendly electronic doors and computer mice. The topic of shabbos-electronics was rehashed this week.
In addition to the doors and mice, the Israeli military rabbinate just unveiled light bulbs, water coolers and — most importantly — touch-screens that fit within the parameters of being shomer shabbat.
Most of the halachic reasonings behind these technologies are based off of the halachic concept of grama, doing something indirectly. I imagine that in the future the reasons will become more diverse and comprehensive (maybe something with destroying the electricity because destruction is allowed on Shabbat, I don’t know).
Do not get me wrong; I am a lover of books. I am not a major proponent of the general transition from analog to digital. But, as someone who is planning to move across an ocean and wants books to come along, I quote a friend of a friend’s father who aptly stated, “You know what the problem with books is? They’re too damn heavy.”