As the summer heats up, people everywhere are turning to whatever means possible to keep cool. Many find relief in the artificial coolness of air conditioning. (Thank goodness for living in the twenty-first century.) Others, however, are inclined to turn to far older methods of cooling off.
While the laws of Shabbat limit a person’s ability to manipulate their environments (given the m’la’chot, the 39 prohibited creative labors), one might think that they are limited in how they can cool down on a hot Shabbat day. Most methods of staying cool, however, are fine for Shabbat as long as attention is paid to details and nuances.
For instance, while there are few things as refreshing on a hot day as an ice cold drink, one must be careful about how ice cubes are obtained on Shabbat. Using ice cubes from an old fashioned ice cube tray is perfect, but taking ice cubes from an automatic ice cube maker (built into the freezer) is problematic. Removing ice from the bucket makes the bucket lighter, which triggers the ice cube making mechanism.
Fans are also an excellent means of cooling off in the summer heat. While one may neither turn a fan on or off nor adjust the speed of the fan, one may move the fan itself in order to redirect the air flow. Additionally, since the general mechanism for causing the fan to oscillate or not oscillate is a mechanical button that simply locks or unlocks the gears, one may change the oscillation on the average standing fan. (If one knows that there is an electric component to a specific fan’s oscillation mechanism, then this feature may not be used.)
Jewish Treats wishes you an enjoyable and cool summer.