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Q&A

Metered water tap on Shabbat

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According to Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchatah (12:19) it is allowed to use a water tap on Shabbat, even though the water will be precisely measured by a meter.

This seems to be a psik reisha (an inevitable though inadvertent Shabbat violation). On what basis would it be permitted?

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2 answers

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I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually think or care about my water meter. It’s more for the utilities than it is for me, anyway. So I’d imagine it’s not merely a פסיק רישא, a direct causation, but rather a פסיק רישא דלא ניחא ליה, direct causation which one does not care. In such a situation, if one can knock the act in question down to a Rabbinically prohibited act, it’s permissible ab initio (Arukh, quoted in Biur Halacha 320:18).

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Measuring is always a Rabbinic prohibition. It is only prohibited to directly measure something, but there is no problem to do an action that indirectly measures something out. See Shulchan Aruch 323:1-2, and Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchatah 29:32.

I also don't believe there is a Psik Reisha here, since if two taps are open there would not be any way to measure what each one took. Even with one tap open the metering is useless to know how much you just took, so I do not think it would be considered measuring at all.

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