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Automated emails sending after Shabbat

Question:

Dear DinOnline,

Is there a problem with sending automatically generated emails over Shabbat?

I use a sales automation program that sends to a list of prospects — emails that look as if I personally sent them are automatically generated and sent every thirty seconds.

Because the process can take a long time to complete, it is very easy to begin a spreadsheet on Friday afternoon that will continue sending all through Shabbat.

Is there a halachic concern here?

Thanks in advance!

Answer:

The actual sending is not a problem because you didn’t do any melacha on Shabbos, you only set it in motion before Shabbos, and it continued into Shabbos. The only issue might be because the e-mail looks like it was sent by you on Shabbos, which would be a zilzul (embarrassment) to Shabbos, however this is also not an issue. This is because it is common knowledge that the e-mails are automatically generated, even though it says the person’s name, and no one thinks that you personally sent it out. Therefore, it is permitted.

Have a happy Chanukah

Sources:

Shulchan Aruch O:CH 252-5, M:B 252-50.

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1 Comment

  1. If this helps at all, Gmail has a delayed send as an option when sending an email (the little arrow next to the send button). Besides for helping with Shabbos issues, it’s great for sending an overseas email to be delayed so it doesn’t pop up during the night by the other side or at another disturbing time. Another plus is that you can time it so they will get it right at the beginning of the work day instead of right then and it getting lost at the bottom of their inbox,

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