In another kind and generous initiative for the Lakewood kehilla, Dr. Kasriel (Rich) Roberts will be subsidizing 50 free Zman switches for Lakewood shuls and Yeshivas.
Dr. Roberts’s passion for shul decorum and kavod hatefilah is well known, as anyone who has ever visited his Bais Medrash, Kollel Ner Avrohom, can attest. KNA is model of how state-of-the-art technology, modern innovation and strategic planning can be harnessed to advance kedushas Bais Haknesses and the uplifting experience of connecting to Hashem through Torah and Tefillah.
It is no wonder then that Dr. Roberts was extremely fond of the potential of what the Zman switch can achieve for shuls and Yeshivos. In an email to the company, Dr. Roberts lauded their efforts for “having worked to create something of value,” and undertook to sponsor 50 free switches including installation, to help shuls take advantage of the convenience and hiddur in Shmiras Shabbos afforded by this device.
More than just a Shabbos Clock
The Zman switch is essentially a mini computer, pre-programmed with the entire Hebrew calendar thru the year 2050, as well as candle lighting times and nightfall for any location across North America. The Zman Switch requires only a one-time setup, with all on and off preferences for Shabbos and Yom Tov then permanently set, based upon candle lighting time or nightfall.
Another vital breakthrough feature is the automatic deactivation of the switch’s on and off function for the duration of Shabbos. Highly lauded by rabbonim, this feature eliminates inadvertent Chillul Shabbos, a common occurrence in most homes, and ensures that lights remain on or off, as desired, for the duration of Shabbos.
Most of us are familiar with the phenomenon of having to sit in the dark all Shabbos long. With the Zman Switch, once Shabbos arrives, it cannot be switched on or off until Shabbos ends, eliminating the need for tape, Velcro or light covers to prevent anything from triggering the switch. A simple Emergency Override feature easily reactivates the switch in the event of a life threatening situation.
Rabbonim have also expressed their enthusiasm for the switch’s fixed on and off presets and the automatic changeover to Shabbos mode. This helps prevent many of the mix-ups, which often result in Amirah L’akum. The parameters of Amirah L’akum are highly complex and in many cases the utilization of this leniency can be problematic or even prohibited.
A broad cross-section of leading poskim have been involved in the Zman Switch project since its inception. At a meeting with the producers of the switch at the Lakewood Bais Hora’ah, Rav Shlomo Miller shlit”a issued an enthusiastic endorsement for both the company and the Zman Switch, associating it with the words of the Tikkunei Zohar that the Hebrew letters making up the very first word in the Torah – Bereishis – also spell out the words Yorei Shabbos – awe of Shabbos. “Therefore,” wrote Rav Miller, “every precaution taken to avoid any doubt of desecrating of Shabbos is praiseworthy.”
Ideal for Shuls and Public Venues
In shuls and public venues all of the above issues are exacerbated, many times over. For shuls with Shabbos Clocks in place, the task of adjusting and setting the timers each week falls squarely on the already overburdened shoulders of the shul’s gabbai or another generous volunteer. For those without Shabbos clocks, the cost for running such high wattage lighting for the entire duration of Shabbos and Yom Tov is a significant loss of momon hekdesh and an unnecessary drain on the shul’s budget.
Perhaps most importantly, in a shul, an accidental flick of the switch on Shabbos can leave an entire tzibbur davening in the dark, compromising their kovod Shabbos and their concentration on the davening. This often results in calling someone in from the street, which is halachically questionable in many cases. The Zman switch’s automated deactivation of the switch for the entire duration of the Shabbos eliminates this issue completely.
Applications for free subsidized Zman switches will generally be considered on a first come first served basis, with priority being given to shuls indicating overriding need as per factors in the application. To apply download the application click here and email to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 973. 591.1235. Applications can also be filled out at the Zman Technologies website at www.zmantechnologies.com