JERUSALEM (JTA) – It is permissible to play with fidget spinners on Shabbat, rabbis at an institute that looks at science and Jewish law have determined.
Rabbis at the Scientific and Technologic Institute for Halacha in Jerusalem determined the movement of the spinners does not violate the laws of Shabbat unless the spinner has lights that are triggered by the movement of the spinner, Ynet reported Wednesday.
An electrical charge may not be initiated by someone observing Shabbat. The palm-sized toy, which can be spun like a propeller, does not need electricity.
The institute suggested, however, that children not bring the spinners to synagogue services on Shabbat “in order not to harm the sanctity of the place, and certainly they must be careful not to play it during prayer and the reading of the Torah.”
The rabbis also said children should not take the spinners out during classes at school. Playing with spinners during lessons “is disrespectful and disdainful of both the material and the rabbis and teachers.”
The inventor of the ubiquitous stress-reducing toy said she came up with the idea during a trip to Israel in the 1980s, during the first intifada, as a way to distract the “young boys throwing rocks at police officers.”