Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rabbi: Electric bike kosher for riding on Shabbat

9/16/2009 8:59:00 PM 

A California rabbi has given an electric bicycle his OK for use on Shabbat. In a letter cited in press material, Rabbi Marc Rubenstein of Temple Isaiah in Newport Beach, Calif., states, "This letter is to assure you that the Pedego electric bicycle does not break any Jewish laws regarding work on the Sabbath."
He further notes: "There are 39 prohibitions against labor on the Sabbath. The last nine of these are called melakhot. They include prohibitions regarding the releasing and termination of energy flow. Since the Pedego bicycle can be plugged in and left on the on switch at all times until use, the energy current is omnipresent. Therefore, under the strictest of orthodox Jewish law, we are confidently within the realm of the observance of the Sabbath while still using the Pedego bicycle. This bicycle can enable the most religious Jew to travel to his synagogue to pray on the Sabbath."
The rabbi acknowledges that some Orthodox Jews might not feel that using the bike is in the "spirit of the law."
"They would be completely wrong É . The use of the Pedego bicycle by the Orthodox Jew on the Sabbath falls within the parameters of Jewish law," concluded Rubenstein.
Given, however, that Rubenstein was not ordained an Orthodox rabbi and his synagogue is nondenominational, it's unlikely that any Orthodox Jews will accept his ruling.

-- compiled with reports from JTA News and Features, The Jerusalem Post and other sources.