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We learn in Gemora Makos that dibur is not an action. An Amazon Alexa came be operated by voice. Would operating an Alexa be considered breaking Shabbos?



Thank you for your question.
Operating an Alexa would be considered breaking Shabbos. Although dibur may not be an action, it does not mean that we may make commands and effect things with our voice on Shabbos. For example, we may not even tell a gentile, who has his own intellect to do melacha for us on Shabbos, let alone a machine which is essentially being operated with our commands. Another place we find this is regarding mechamer, which is the prohibition to make one’s animal work on Shabbos. It is forbidden to hit the animal in order to make it plow, and it is also for bidden to scream at it so that it will plow. We see from this that regarding Shabbos talking would be considered like an action. The reason being is because the prohibition not to do the melchos is that we should not manipulate the world and show dominion over it on Shabbos. Therefore, it won’t make a difference whether it is from an action of via speech.
Best wishes


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