Is It Permissible To Program A Timer To Make A Recording On Shabbat or on Hol HaMoed?
Taken from Daily Halacha by: Rabbi Eli Mansour
We all know it is forbidden to use a tape recorder on Shabbat. This is clear. Chacham Ovadia Yoseph has a Teshuva on this in his sefer ‘Yichave Da’at’. It is forbidden to use a tape recorder certainly if it is activated on Shabbat itself, and even if it was activated from before Shabbat and just continues to operate going into Shabbat. But it must be pointed out the restriction of using a tape recorder doesn’t fall under the category of Ketiva (writing), which is one of the 39 forbidden tasks on Shabbat. The restriction against using a tape recorder is not even considered writing in an abnormal fashion. Chacham Ovadia Yoseph holds that recording is not writing at all. It is a violation against other restrictions, which include the prohibition of ‘Havara’ (kindling a fire), of using electricity and batteries. Bottom line, it is not a transgression of the Torah ban of writing on Shabbat.