The following short stories, which have been adapted from real-world experiences, highlight the benefits and value of the KosherSwitch® offering. Note: All original names and locations have been revised in order to protect the subject’s identity.
How Sweet It Is…
Hi there. I’m Shlomi. My given name is Shlomo, but nobody ever called me by that name – not even my parents. I was raised in what many call a “traditional” Jewish home – masorati. Though I’m proud of how I was raised, and where come from, I’ve recently been drawn closer to a more observant Jewish lifestyle. Despite the fact that the last time I donned tefillin was on my bar-mitzvah day, I now regularly do so, and often pray with a minyan, Baruch Hashem.
Most recently, I’ve been experiencing Shabbat through Shabbatonim and by being invited to amazing families that have helped me view Shabbat in a complete new way. I truly see the beauty that Shabbat can bring to my life, and sense that I am gravitating towards becoming Shomer Shabbat. Still, it’s been very hard for me to make that ultimate transition from the same old Shlomi to the “Shomer Shabbat Shlomo”. A part of me wants to change, but a bigger part of me argues, “it’s too difficult, and too restrictive… You won’t even be able to turn your lights on or off on Shabbat!”
Shlomi’s feelings and fears are very real and typical in the Baal T’shuva world. The KosherSwitch® makes Shabbos observance much more accessible and attainable. This technology has the potential for removing the psychological barriers involved in taking such a life-altering leap, and will afford the many that are distant from Yiddishkeit an opportunity to experience the sweet taste of Shabbos.
To Health, To Life
We’re the Levys, and a recent event left us so grateful to the Heavens. After complaining of severe abdominal pain, our 9 year-old son was rushed to the emergency room, and within hours, everything spiraled out of control. He ended up in ICU, where he spent the next three weeks. Another four weeks were spent in recovery, and an additional six weeks in rehab! But despite this living nightmare, Baruch Hashem, everything worked out for the best, and he made a full recovery. We were very fortunate to have an amazing support network of friends, relatives, neighbors, and coworkers, who helped in unimaginable ways, and whose prayers made the ultimate difference.
Through it all, a family member was always by our son’s side. Day after day, week after week, we sat by him and watched him recover, slowly but surely. The hospital facility and staff were absolutely amazing, and accommodated us in every respect. But spending all that time in the hospital – a total of 13 Shabbosim and four days of Yom Tov in the middle – made things very difficult in this state-of-the-art facility. Too much technology and automation can certainly be a hardship for some of us… lights in the bathroom turning on automatically; toilets that flush by themselves; sinks that use a sensor… just to name a few. Things would have been simpler and easier, if we didn’t have to worry about that.
But regardless, it was all worth it, now that we have our “baby” back home with us, healthy and happy. B”H!
A KosherSwitch® enabled facility provides unmatched amenities to their patients, guests, and staff. It would have made the Levys’ predicament a bit more bearable, and given this institution an advantage over their competition.
The Same Mistake, Twice
Hello. My name is Rachel. In our home, every Erev Shabbos is as hectic as can be, and this week was no exception. But as the arrival of Shabbos draws closer, arriving with it is an air of peace and tranquility that transcends all others.
Finally, Shabbos was here. No more running round in the world of the mundane. No more worries. Now, it was time to let the kedusha of this Holy day take over, and enjoy the spirit of the Shabbos, along with my beautiful family.
Or so I thought! Not long after I lit my candles and welcomed the Shabbos Queen — still waiting for my husband to return home from shul — things turned from calm and spiritual to chaotic and worrisome. I made a huge blunder, and for the next sixty minutes, my Shabbos was filled with rage, confusion, and self-blame.
I’m sure that you’re wondering, “what could have gone so terribly wrong, as to evoke such feelings during such a special time?” Baruch Hashem, nobody was hurt and nothing had caught on fire. What actually happened is that I was mechalel Shabbos – twice!
It all started when I realized that the baby was hysterical because she was soiled. My older one was demanding her drink, while the baby screamed with all of her might. Overwhelmed, I grabbed the baby and ran with her into the kids’ room to change her. All it took was a split second of forgetfulness. Without even realizing what I had done, my hand had gone through its instinctive motions, mindlessly flicking the light in the baby’s room on. I had turned on the light during Shabbos!
All I could do was hide behind a cloud of guilt and think, “Rachel… what did you do?” And that wasn’t enough. I spent the next hour pondering not only the mistake I had made, but how to go about correcting it. I knew that my husband will be home soon, and kept thinking about how disappointed he would be.
Now what? Should I try to find a goy? How? Where? And what’s the proper way to tell them to turn off the light. Should I just turn off the light myself b’shinui? What if I just left the light in their room on? That won’t work — putting the kids to bed with the lights on would be impossible!
Finally, after much anguish and internal debate, I made my decision, and I was hoping it was the right one. I took my baby and held her up next to the wall switch. Yes, this is the same baby for whom I go to exceptional extremes to ensure that her neshama remains pure and kadosh. No TV, no movies, only the proper type of music. Yet despite all of that, I was holding her up at the switch, and hoping that she would fix that which I had broken.
And so, she did (or so I thought). When my husband came home from shul, he explained that by doing so, I was mechalel Shabbos a second time! I spent the rest of Erev Shabbos, and a good part of Shabbos day disappointed and miserable.
If that same wall switch had been a KosherSwitch®, Rachel would not have been mechalel Shabbos, even if she had tried! Not the first time, and certainly not the second time.
Shalom aleichem, I’m Reb Avrum, but I’m better known to many by my nickname, “Succos-Yid”. I earned the nickname years ago because of my love for Succos. Don’t misunderstand, I love all of the Yomim Tovim, but having been born on Succos, it will always be “my” special holiday. I spend many days building, decorating, and adorning our succah. When Succos finally arrives, the succah must be perfect, ready to greet the hundreds of guests – some traveling from far away – that enjoy visiting our now-famous succah.
But even my perfect succah has had its share of problems. Aside from the massive storm that almost destroyed it two years ago, I’ve always had an issue with the succah lights during Shabbos and Yom Tov. Years ago, I would leave the lights on ’round-the-clock, but that would be a big problem for sleeping (I just can’t sleep in a bright setting). So, I decided to use Shabbos timers for all the succah lights.
What a nightmare! They’re impossible to set correctly, especially for a three-day Yom Tov. And how can I possibly know what time the many guests will leave, so that I can set the timers to afford me a good-night’s sleep? Invariably, I end up with the lights on when they should be off, and off when they should be on! Regardless, I continue to use timers, and every Succos, there are multiple reasons for misery during my very special Yom Tov.
Instead of leaving the lights on or using timers, Reb Avrum could use a special standalone fluorescent light fixture that’s KosherSwitch®-enabled in order to enhance his Succos experience, providing succah lighting when it’s needed, and darkness when it’s time to retire for the evening.
Kibud or not Kibud, That is the Question!
Hello. My name is either Devorah, or Debbie, depending on when you’ve met me. I was born and raised in a Jewish home that unfortunately wasn’t so observant. Baruch Hashem, I have had the fortune of meeting the proper individuals who have guided me down the proper path – the path of Torah and mitzvot.
Throughout my journey, I have been most mindful of one thing: Maintaining my utmost respect for my beloved parents and working hard to preserve peace despite our differences. I had witnessed — through several friends who were now Ba’alei Teshuva — how families can easily drift apart when there is a disparity in religious observance. That was the last thing I wanted to see as I grew closer to Hashem.
I must admit that my parents have been fantastic throughout my journey, always accepting me for the person I’ve chosen to become, even though it may contradict their beliefs. I’ve been fortunate that my mother has gone out of her way accommodating me, especially when it comes to kashrut – allowing me to tovel all of our dishes, and agreeing to only use glatt kosher products.
There is, however, one area that my parents will absolutely not be convinced on: Electricity on Shabbat and Chagim. As much as I’ve tried, they simply continue to turn the lights on and off. I’ve even installed a timer, but that hasn’t helped, since they “override” the timer whenever they wish. Many times, they turn on the light for my benefit, and I know it’s totally assur for me to benefit from that light. Other times, I may be alone in a room as it starts to get dark, finding myself counting the minutes until Shabbat will finally be over, so that I can turn on the lights myself.
What am I to do? I must maintain my respect for my parents. I can beg and plead and argue my cause, but I refuse to fight and break away from my family over this. Yet this is about my proper observance and my enjoyment of the holy Shabbat, and I can’t stand the misery. I wish there was some way of resolving this dilemma.
Unlike timers, the KosherSwitch® operates similarly to a traditional electric switch, requires no programming, and has no learning curve. Devorah’s parents are therefore unlikely to object to its use, and Devorah would be able to control the lights on Shabbos and Yom Tov in a way that’s permissible. And a positive side-effect: Devorah’s parents would also be saved from dozens of instances when they are mechalel Shabbos every single week!
Oops (Not Really)…
We were regular Shabbos guests at the Rosenbergs – Simcha and Rivky. Being neighbors, and with our kids attending the same yeshiva, it was a natural fit. They are a charming “frum from birth” family with a highly-respected Jewish lineage. That’s more reason why on this Shabbos, my wife and I were utterly shocked.
It was an overcast afternoon, as we sat at a lavish table to enjoy a wonderful Shabbos lunch with our best friends. Half way through Kiddush, for some reason, the timer clicked and the lights went off. Rivky was barely able to swallow a sip of wine, and it was obvious from her reaction how embarrassed she was. Sure, the weather outside caused it to be quite dark inside, but it wasn’t the end of the world. Yet Rivky turned red, directing an incessant series of apologies in our direction, pausing only to fling angry glances at Simcha.
We all (especially Simcha) assured her that it was fine. “Mistakes do happen,” we kept telling her, while Simcha did the same and added, “I’ll go find a Goy if it bothers you so much.” But Rivky would not be consoled. On she went, “I’m so sorry… this never happened to us before… I worked so hard and now it’s ruined… it’s so dark here… my husband…”
Simcha, through a stroke of genius, suggested the best way of diffusing the situation, forcing a momentary calm through a mandatory period of silence: “Let’s wash!” he exclaimed. Welcoming the diversion, we all rushed to the kitchen, hoping that it would be enough to restore our Shabbos spirits. But before we can wash, from the dining room came Rivky’s mischievous-sounding, “oops”, followed by a recognizable click. We all knew what had happened, but we had to arrive back at the dining room to believe it.
I looked at my wife in shocked disbelief, and her gaze validated my feelings. How could someone so observant do something so flagrant. Were we even allowed to stay in a room that was lit on Shabbos, and b’mezid? We reluctantly stayed, just so we don’t make matters worse.
We spent the rest of Shabbos with a guilty conscience, sitting in a bright room but with a gloomy spirit.
The KosherSwitch® allows lights to be turned on or off when needed, in a manner that is Halachically permitted. It would have prevented much anguish both for the hosts and the guests; would have stopped Rivky’s chilul Shabbos no matter how hard she tried; and preserved the Rosenbergs’ Shalom bais. Their Shabbos would have been as beautiful and harmonious as planned.
My wife and I are very fortunate. We live close enough to our kids that practically every Shabbos, we get to have them and the grandchildren over for Shabbos. Imagine, 12 very energetic and sometimes mischievous kids — kein ayin hora – running around the house every week. That’s every grandparent’s dream, and one of my greatest sources of nachas. Hashem should bless them, but some weeks the kids are also a source of much tza’ar.
Last month, after they had all left, and we went upstairs to sleep, we discovered that someone had turned on our bedroom lights! It was past midnight, and we were exhausted, left to try getting some precious Shabbos sleep with our room as bright as day. Oh, and I know what you’re thinking: You should use one of those light switch cover things.” Well, we do! But it didn’t prevent a determined 3 year-old from leaving us this Shabbos gift.
But that doesn’t even come close to what happened last week, while also hosting our special guests from Eretz Yisroel. We were just finishing up our appetizers when it happened: I heard the dreaded “click”, and then… darkness. Ironically, for the kids’ safety, we light on an elevated shelf in a different room, so we didn’t even have sufficient lighting from the Shabbos candles.
The embarrassment that I felt is beyond description. I couldn’t see my wife’s face, but from her reaction and apologetic tone, I knew that she was devastated after putting so much effort into ensuring a perfect Shabbos with our special guests. I also knew that she was thinking the same exact thing I was thinking: “Which of the grandkids had decided to fiddle with the timers?” Regardless of who it was, she picked one of them and encouraged them to right what had gone wrong. I knew it was the wrong thing to do and also halachically unacceptable, but I found myself powerless to stop her.
If this home had been enabled with KosherSwitch® technology, frustrating and embarrassing situations such as these would be a thing of the past. There would be no need to rectify the situation and violate the Halacha through the use of a minor, a Shabbos Goy, b’shinuei, or any other way.
Sleepless and no Torah
It was Leil Shabbos, past midnight, and I was tossing and turning. I didn’t really know why. Was there something on my mind from the preceding hectic week? Or maybe it’s the sugya that’s been driving me crazy for a few days?
Regardless of what it was, it didn’t seem like I’d be getting any sleep any time soon, so rather than fight it, I decided to get up and learn for a while. I went to my study, where all of the relevant seforim were already out on my desk from the night before. One by one, as I opened them and started to focus, I felt my frustrations resulting from my sleeplessness were quickly melting away.
If you’ve never tried it, you’d be amazed at the clarity and insights one can attain late at night. With everyone asleep, and no distractions (especially on Shabbos), I do my best learning and thinking during these hours. And this time was no exception. The Gemara was starting to make sense, if only I could resolve a couple more issues…
I heard the click, but I was concentrating so deeply that it took me a few seconds to realize that the Shabbos clock had activated. My study was now pitch-dark, and I could feel my insides bubbling with aggravation. I was so close to an answer, but now, I found myself fumbling with my seforim, looking for some functional lighting in one of the other rooms. That turned out to be an exercise in frustration.
I spent the rest of the night tossing and turning in bed, thinking about the sugya that I was so close to finally understanding.
If a KosherSwitch® had been installed in his study, the lights could have been turned on when an unexpected opportunity to learn presented itself, and off shortly after the learning concluded. Less frustration and wastefulness; more oneg Shabbos and Torah.
Save Money and My Sanity
I love my husband, and usually agree with his frugality. There’s nothing wrong with saving money whenever possible. But when it comes to not wasting electricity, he is really machmir. It’s not just about the money, but also about the ideology. Aside from being costly, wasteful use of electricity is not the “green” thing to do, and it also seems to ring contrary to the Torah principle of “Ba’al Tashchis”.
During the week, he’s constantly policing the electric outlets in our home. If the lights in a room are on while it’s empty, he makes it a point to turn off the light and broadcast his beliefs to the rest of the family with a smart remark like, “what, was electricity on sale today?”
Shabbos is no exception to this rule, so the energy-conservation philosophy continues: Bathrooms and closets are lit using tiny night lights, and fancy digital timers are programmed to go on and off like a well-rehearsed orchestral performance. The problem is that my dear husband tries to anticipate and hit the required timer settings “on the nose”. Instead of programming the timers with plenty of “slack” on either end (to turn on well in advance of when you think you need the lights on, and turn off well after when you think you need the lights off), he insists in getting it as close as possible to the actual usage that is anticipated.
Needless to say, things don’t always go according to plan, and even if they do, they still diminish from the beauty of Shabbos. The family as a unit regularly experiences discomfort, frustration, and sometimes even anger and in-fighting because of this issue.
With a KosherSwitch®, this family would regain their peace of mind along with a greater enjoyment of Shabbos. All while maintaining their energy-conscious ideology inspired by the Torah’s obligation of avoiding unnecessary wastefulness. It is estimated that a KosherSwitch® will help families realize a $46 annual savings on their electricity bill.
Change of Plans…
My name is Dovid. Since my father was niftar, we’ve been making it a point to be with my dear mother. Our Shabbos schedule is pretty standard. We’re home on Leil Shabbos, and we take a short walk to my mother’s house on Shabbos day.
The schedule on our Shabbos timers is also pretty standard. The lights are programmed to go out on Friday night at 11 pm, and stay off during Shabbos day. After all, who wants to pay to light his home for no reason at all?
Now here are two instances where things got a bit more interesting…
The first time was during an Erev Shabbos that was overcast with dark clouds the entire day. Right before the onset of Shabbos, the heavens opened-up, and a vicious thunderstorm erupted. Upon my arrival at shul, our Rav informed everyone of those dreaded four words: “The Eruv is Down!” Arriving at home, I informed my family that we would not be going to Bubby’s home because we lacked an Eruv. Naturally, we were all disappointed. But that disappointment paled in comparison to what came next.
As Shabbos day progressed, still overcast with thick grey clouds, our home remained devoid of light. With the timers not setup to activate on Shabbos day, my family and I sat in darkness throughout the better part of this special day. Being “stuck” at home alone with the family could have been a very nice experience. Instead, we sat in darkness and frustration, counting the minutes until Shabbos would end!
A similar situation occurred during a different week. Upon returning home from shul, I discovered that my son had developed a very high fever, and maintained a high temperature through Motzei Shabbos. Similar to our past eruv experience, we stayed in a home that was dark enough to impede our Oneg Shabbos.
With KosherSwitch® in Dovid’s home, he would have enjoyed an amazing Shabbos alone with his family, filled with harmony, kedusha, and light!
The Clock is Ticking
“Make sure that the timers are set correctly,” begged my wife. “We don’t want to make a wrong impression, especially this Shabbos.” She had agreed to have a bunch of impressionable girls attending a “kiruv Shabbos” in our shul over for dinner. My wife, armed with her amazing powers of hashpa’a, wanted everything to be perfect, especially for these guests who aren’t yet Shomer Shabbos.
I had set the Shabbos clocks to turn our lights off at 11:15 PM, double and triple checking them for accuracy. That wasn’t the problem. The ‘issue” was that our guests were having an amazing time — fully engaged in discussions about Torah, and the beauty of life filled with mitzvos. I began to get nervous at around 10:30 PM, when I realized that there’s no chance that my wife would be ready for them to leave by 11:15.
The minutes seemed to fly by as I unsuccessfully tried to get my wife’s attention and somehow signal what was about to happen. I watched the timer read 11:14 PM as my wife’s descriptions of frum life seemed to be motivating the guests. I stared at my wife with my best “I’m sorry” look, and a few seconds later, darkness!
We tried explaining what happened, and made our best attempt at convincing them to stay, but it wasn’t good enough. They all left quickly, and with them left my Shalom Bais. After giving me a piece of her mind, my wife didn’t say much for the rest of a day which would normally be filled with kedusha, harmony, and peace.
A KosherSwitch® home eliminates the need to forecast and preconfigure timers. Lights can be turned on and off on demand, as required, and in a manner that is completely permissible by Halacha. That, in turn, brings unmatched oneg Shabbos and Shalom bais to a Jewish home.
Engineers Make Mistakes Too
Shalom, I’m Yisroel. I’m a senior Electrical Engineer by day, and I also moonlight as the Chief Technology Officer of our home. Needless to say, I take care of all of the technology preparation prior to Shabbos: Turn off the sensors on the fridge and freezer; leave the proper lights on/off; and set our timers properly.
I’m not sure what went wrong this week. It’s easy to blame it on the pre-Shabbos frenzy that everyone goes through, but in reality, I’m at fault. I guess it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that I had blundered in a colossal way.
The results? The dining room lights went off in the middle of dinner and stayed off until motzei Shabbos. The living room lights didn’t go on until we were ready to go to sleep, and they stayed on until morning. This would normally only be a minor annoyance and a big waste of money, but this week we had a guest who was sleeping on the living room sofa (I don’t think he got much sleep with the lights glaring down on him, despite his assurances that he did). And, as if my mistake was perfectly choreographed, the living room lights turned off on Shabbos afternoon, just as it was starting to get dark.
Oh, and to add insult to injury, we woke up Sunday morning to brightly-illuminated living and dining rooms. So much for being our home’s technology expert!
The KosherSwitch® provides the ultimate in user-friendliness. No setup or programming is required, and it has virtually no learning curve. So you don’t need an engineer to ensure a pleasant Shabbos with proper lighting at the proper times.
Shabbos is the highlight of my week. All of the phone calls, e-mails, stresses, bills, deals, and distractions are out the window, at least for a short while. The stereotypical understanding that Shabbos is a “day of rest” doesn’t exist in my family. On the contrary. Shabbos is the day that I do my hardest work – spending time with the family and developing our relationships; learning with the kids (I’ve found that taking a Shabbos walk with a child could be as much of a learning experience as sitting in front of a Chumash); and last but definitely not least, learning with my chavrusa.
Years ago, we learned that the best place for us to learn is the shul’s library. Unlike the other rooms in the shul, the library isn’t heavily used during Shabbos, so there are little distractions or interruptions to have to deal with. But being a room with no windows, on many occasions when the room lights have been off, it had lost its ideal status. Even with the door left open, the room is pitch park when its lights are off. Don’t ask me why they’re sometimes off; they just are. We’ve reiterated to Pedro (the live-in Shabbos goy) many times that the lights must stay on, but that hasn’t made much of a difference.
So I always hold my breath as I unlock the door to the room… Lights on or off? On or off? And if we’re unlucky, I let out an involuntary gasp, since I know that the next 15 minutes will entail bitul Torah as we run around chasing after Pedro.
And a slight bitul Torah is not the only possible issue. There have been times when Pedro was no where to be found, which meant more time wasted than spent learning (the best case), or no learning at all (the worst case). The other issue is even more serious, and I’ve personally witnessed it done dozens of times by talmidei chachamim: The improper use of amira l’akum. Don’t these individuals, who blatantly tell Pedro things like, “can you fix the lights” realize that they are performing an issur? Don’t they understand that their learning doesn’t justify the violation of Halacha?
Oh, and by the way, we’ve also tried to solve this problem by using Shabbos clocks and the switch covers, but it didn’t make a difference. So for now, as I open the door to the library, I just hold my breath and pray that the lights are on, since it helps save my Shabbos and my sanity.
In addition to making it impossible to be mechalel Shabbos, the KosherSwitch® resolves many problems involving the proper use of a Shabbos goy. In this example, an issur act would never have been performed, since a Shabbos goy would not have been required in the first place. Additionally, the chavrusas would take advantage of their entire learning time, and their Shabbos experience would be greatly enhanced.