(Courtesy of Anshe Chesed) Last week, congregants and friends of Linden’s Congregation Anshe Chesed joined together for dinner and a shiur with Rabbi Chaim Jachter. His talk, “The Power of Shabbos: Shabbat and Electricity in the 21st Century,” was a preview of his new book of the same title. Attendants had the opportunity to purchase signed copies of the rabbi’s many books.
Rabbi Jachter discussed the development of the halachic issues regarding electricity use on Shabbos. Starting from the incandescent light bulb to smart-home devices like Alexa and Ring, he showed that even though technology has changed considerably in a very short time, sources from the Gemara, Rishonim and 19th and 20th century Achronim can be used to make halachic decisions about modern devices. He emphasized that while electrical devices did not exist until the late 19th century, general Shabbos principles discussed in the Talmud can be adapted and applied to inform our use of electricity today. “Rabbi Jachter’s class was fascinating,” said Dan Schreck. “He was able to take us through a variety of sources that can be applied to the rapidly evolving technologies that are becoming more common today.”
In addition to the Torah learned, this event was an opportunity for the Linden community to take time to spend together. As Anshe Chesed’s Rabbi Yossi Katz put it: “It was a wonderful experience. Not only did we learn and eat together, but we also got to spend quality time schmoozing and catching up with one another.”
This unique event was one of the many sponsored by Anshe Chesed’s Gertrude Weil Institute of Jewish Learning. The Institute enables much Torah learning in the Linden community. With the help of funding from the Gertrude Weil Institute, Anshe Chesed has big plans for this coming year, including scholars-in-residence, holiday parties and youth activities. Under Rabbi Katz and President Andy Van Houter’s leadership, the shul’s goal is to organize an entire year of stimulating, engaging and interesting programing and shiurim for all ages.
Anshe Chesed would like to thank Rabbi Jachter for sharing his knowledge and also for the time he dedicates as the rav hamachshir of the Linden eruv.