Article on "Besheva"

Article on "Besheva"

Today, March 21 2013, an article about HolyClock was published in the Israeli newspaper for the religious sector, "Besheva".

Here is the English translation:

For many years, observant Jews abroad had a hard time ceasing all work on Shabbat, sometimes to the point of having to leave their place of work. The shortened working week has solved a major part of the problem, but commerce over the Internet raises again halachic complications. Yitzhak and Daniel are two young Internet entrepreneurs who stand behind "HolyClock", a service with the aim of giving website owners an easy and convenient way to observe Shabbat on their websites.

"It is well known that it is forbidden to buy and sell on Shabbat", they explain, "thus one should not perform transactions over the Internet on Shabbat. Even if the website owner observed Shabbat personally, by receiving payments he is part of the prohibited act. As such, websites that do not sell products but sell advertising banners may receive forbidden 'Shabbat payments'".

"Additionally the prohibitions 'do not obstruct a blind man' and 'complicity' by promoting others to forsake Shabbat, are another reason to close the website". The website closing occurs before Shabbat enters, for each visitor individually, based on their physical location in the world at the given time. A visitor who is located where Shabbat has begun, is redirected to a temporary closing page until Shabbat ends.

This initiative has been beatified by Ha Rav Yona Matzger, Ha Rav Yaacov Yosef, Ha Rav Shlomo Ishon, Ha Rav Moshe Liv Ha Cohen Halbershteit, and others. "There is no economic body behind us", say the entrepreneurs, "the service is offered for free, and we have now introduced an additional Premium plan for a symbolic fee". They mention numerous website owners who expressed their gratitude about the service, and sent their blessing including from regions such as Turkey and the Far East.

The service operation brings some interesting issues, such as a European website owner who asked to keep his website closed during the Second Day of Holiday in Diaspora. An interesting question, related to the halachic dateline, was received from a website owner in New Zealand, who wanted to conform to the Chazon Ish's system, and restrict access to his website also on Sundays. A few secular surfers sent uncomplimentary comments, arguing religious coercion. "We gently refuted religious coercion, explaining that it is the website owner's decision to prevent desecration of Shabbat by Jews from the fruits of his labor". The website operators promise to keep providing the service to all who request to keep Shabbat also on the Internet.