Introducing the “halachically-approved” Amigo Shabbat motorized scooter! All you have to do is change your toggle from “normal” to “Shabbat” mode, and you’re off to synagogue.
The Amigo Shabbat is authorized by the Zomet Institute of Israel, which researches and endorses products for Shabbat use – everything from home minibars to border patrol cars. Most of the time these products are designed with the concept of “gramma” or indirect activation, so observant Jews are not responsible for work.
As with many gramma-based innovations, there’s controversy over how much they’re needed though, especially given the allowances for medical issues. Amigo’s advertisement boasts, “The only ‘Kosher certified’ POV/scooter!” which raises a bunch of questions like,
- Are people with mobility issues being excluded from Shabbat activities?
- How is one rabbi’s interpretation of “kosher” more or less valid than another’s?
- Weren’t the halachic texts developed centuries ago to interpret and apply Biblical teachings to modern-day life?
- Are we coercing observant Jews into buying these expensive products instead of honoring the true spirit of Sabbath inclusion?
Ironically, the word halakhah comes from the Hebrew for “walking” or “path.” Let’s hope there are many more ways to share the path together.