- Question: [Thursday, 3rd Kisleiv, 5781]
Is it permitted to use http://www.shabbulb.com/ on Shabbos? Basically, it is a LED lightbulb that contains a plastic like curtain which can be opened and closed. When you open it the light shines and when you close it the light is blocked and is as if it’s off. It’s really cool because it’s as if you can turn on and off the light on Shabbos although in truth you are not affecting anything in electricity but simply covering the light and uncovering it. My question is, if it is okay to use on Shabbos according to all opinions.
Yes, this is permitted to be used on Shabbos, as all one is doing is simply closing and opening a shade in front of the light. Although closing it is subject to a discussion in the laws of Muktzah, practically in my opinion it may be used. There are other inventions of this sort here in Israel that have already been used for the past decade and contain rabbinical certification. There is a company which makes a special drawer within the light fixture which can open and close to block and reveal the light, and those who desire to be Mihader should purchase it from the company who makes it with the special drawer and avoid any Muktzah question.
Explanation: The only issue that would be relevant is the issue of Muktzah involved in moving the part of the lightbulb. It is clear that it is forbidden to move even only part of a Muktzah item. The way they solve this issue is by creating it with an LED light which does not turn the fixture which holds the light into Muktzah Gamur [although some Poskim rule it is MMI and thus may only be removed for a need or to use its space], and is not similar at all to a candle holding a flame, or a light fixture with a filament lightbulb, in which case the entire candleholder and light fixture becomes Muktzah, and hence it would be forbidden to move any pieces attached to it. Nonetheless, what we still need to look at is if this fixture will nonetheless still be considered like a Keli Shemilachto Leissur which is only permitted to be moved for its use or space and if so would there be any regulations against opening or closing the plastic curtain. So while this matter is debated amongst the Poskim as to whether it is considered like a Keli Shemilachto Leissur or is not Muktzah at all. Practically, opening the plastic shade to use the light is considered a need and is thus permitted according to all by this type of lamp. However, regarding closing it, while one can argue that also closing it is a need, one can also counter argue that moving a like a Keli Shemilachto Leissur because it is bothering you is not considered a need or use for space, and indeed this matters is debated amongst the Poskim, and the simple implication from Admur is to be stringent. Practically, however, by this type of fixture which to begin with is unclear if it is even Muktzah at all, one may be lenient like the opinion who writes that even closing it is considered a valid use, although there is a company which makes a special drawer within the light fixture which can open and close to block and reveal the light, and according to all is not subject to the Keli Shemilachto Leissur status of the lamp, and hence completely avoids the above question. The bottom line is that the above type of LED lamp is kosher and may be used on Shabbos, and those who desire to be Mihader should purchase it from the company who makes it with the special drawer.
Sources: See Admur 279:1; 310:4; 308:12 [regarding the definition of Limikomo]; 308:14 [regarding not moving even a part of it]; Chelkas Yaakov 1:40; Minchas Yitzchak 3:43; Rav Elyashiv brought in Shalmei Yehuda and Shvus Yitzchak; Minchas Shlomo 14; Minchas Shlomo 1:9; Shulchan Shlomo 18; Igros Moshe 3:49-50; 4:91-5; 5:22-22; Minchas Yitzchak 3:43; Dirshu p. 59; Piskeiy Teshuvos 308 footnote 127; 279:1 in length