If when I open my door this directly causes my fridge fan to stop. Is this allowed? And when I close the fridge door it turns back on again.

Also, I found a ‘vanilla extract’ that is added to foods in the house; it doesn’t have a hechsher, does it need one? The ingredients are: water, ethyl alcohol, sugar, vanilla bean extractives (nielsen – massey vanillas; pure vanilla extract; williams sonoma).

Please let me know what should be done with it/ can it be used/ if it was used to make any dishes what should be done?

Answer:

The fridge appears to be problematic for Shabbos use, though this might depend on the system used. The Institute for Technology and Halachah can be consulted at 02-6424880 (or fax: 02-6420949), 1 Hapisga St., Jerusalem.

Concerning the vanilla extract, it should not be used without a hechsher. The modern food industry is such that the list of ingredients that may go into a final product is huge, and each ingredient can contain a number of sub-ingredients, each of which may itself come from various sources.

For ethyl alcohol, for instance, the source can be from whey or from wine, and therefore can be problematic.

However, dishes made with the extract can be eaten, because the basic ingredients are kosher (most ethyl alcohol is not produced from wine), and post factum one can rely on bittul.

Sources:

Concerning the fridge issue, see Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasah (new edition, 10:12-14); Orchos Shabbos, vol. 3, chap. 26 (where various potential problems with modern fridges are listed).

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