Senior Poskim in Israel recently granted permission for the use of a specific sort of Shabbos elevator, opening the door for the potential construction of higher structures in Bnei Brak and other chareidi settlements that are severely limited on land.
The poskim who had advocated for leniency later changed their minds in response to a letter from Bnei Brak rabbi Shevach Tzvi Rosenblat forbidding the use of such elevators and after the Gedolim Rabbi Gershon Eselstein and Rabbi Dov Landau voiced their opposition.
The inhabitants of Lod’s Ahisamach area questioned Rabbi Rosenblatt, who also serves as its rabbi, if they could rely on the new shabbos elevators, which employ technology that could make them more suitable for halachic use.
On the basis of this latitude, some locals have even bought flats in 10-story structures. The Shevet Halevi Rabbi Shmuel Wozner agreed with Rabbi Rosenblatt that even if they are halachically acceptable, such elevators should not be utilized by Bnei Torah since they “cause a degradation of Shabbos.”
Rabbi Rosenblatt, however, disagreed.
Rabbi Yitzchak Mordechai Rubin and Rabbi Sholom Gelber, co-authors of the Orchos Shabbos series, agreed to convey their judgement to Rabbi Rosenblatt after Rabbi Rosenblatt made his decision.
The two Gedolim both decided that even if there was a method to create a kosher Shabbos elevator, it would be difficult and there would constantly be new issues.
As a result, they decided that using elevators on Shabbat was improper, and Rabbis Rubin and Gelber decided to withdraw their previous indulgence.