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.

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Raphael Grunfeld received semicha in Yoreh Yoreh from Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem of America and in Yadin Yadin from Maran Hagaon Harav Dovid Feinstein, Shlitah. A partner at the Wall Street law firm of Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP, where he specializes in cross-border mergers and acquisitions, Raphael is also the author of “Ner Eyal, a Guide to Seder Nashim, Nezikin, Kodashim, Taharot and Zerayim” (2016) and “Ner Eyal, a Guide to the Laws of Shabbat and Festivals in Seder Moed” (2001).
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