What if turning off the indicator lights does not involve the melachah of extinguishing fire? In fact, the light of most indicators installed in dishwashers is produced by light-emitting diodes (LED) and not by heat. Turning off such indicators does not involve extinguishing fire. Rather, it involves the less stringent rabbinical melachah of hafsakatm molid (ending a creation) and as such can be deliberately performed under the extenuating circumstances described above. In these circumstances, opening the lock in an unusual manner, such as with one’s elbow (derech shinui) would render the melachah a double de’rabbanan. Of course it would be better to remember to leave the door open before Shabbat, or if you forgot, have a non-Jew or a small child open it on Shabbat.
About the Author: Raphael Grunfeld’s book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Moed” (distributed by Mesorah) is available at OU.org and your local Jewish bookstore. His new book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Nashim & Nezikin,” will be available shortly.
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