web analytics
April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Benefiting From A Non-Jew’s Work On Shabbat

Share Button

If you yourself may not perform a melachah, you may not ask a non-Jew to perform it for you. This is true both for biblically prohibited acts, melachot de’oreita, and rabinically prohibited acts, melachot de’rabbanan. This applies even if the non-Jew was instructed before Shabbat to perform the melachah on Shabbat.

This prohibition, known as amira lenochri, was established by the rabbis for three reasons. First, they were concerned that by permitting the non-Jew to perform the melachah the Jew might come to perform the melachah himself. Second, appointing a non-Jew as an agent to perform the melachah renders the Jew liable as principal. Third, the prophet Isaiah warns Israel to refrain from discussing melachot on Shabbat. Amira lenochri involves such prohibited discussion.

If the Jew did not request it, but the non-Jew performed the melachah, of his or her own accord, may the Jew benefit from the outcome? The answer is that if the non-solicited melachah provides direct benefit to the Jew, one may not benefit from it unless the melachah was performed primarily for the benefit of the non-Jew. Accordingly, a Jew may not benefit from a light turned on by a non-Jew on Shabbat, thereby enabling the Jew to read, unless the non-Jew turned it on to read himself. The Jew, however, may benefit from a non-Jew turning the light off, thereby making it easier for the Jew to sleep. This is because it is possible, though not desirable, to sleep with the light on and the benefit is therefore considered indirect.

Further, a Jew may benefit from the unsolicited melachah of a non-Jew where such melachah merely provides additional benefit to an already existing benefit, such as turning on additional lights in an already lit room. Whenever benefit is forbidden, the prohibition lasts the entire Shabbat and continues after Shabbat ends for the duration of time it took the non-Jew to perform the melachah on Shabbat. Accordingly, a car delivered for repair to a non-Jewish mechanic just before Shabbat, with instructions to have it ready immediately after Shabbat, and on which the mechanic worked, all day Shabbat, may not be used until Sunday.

Hinting to a non-Jew to perform a melachah is permitted where such melachah causes indirect or additional benefit but not direct benefit. Hinting, in such circumstances, is permissible on condition that the language used includes no command and no mention of the melachah involved. Accordingly, one may not say to a non-Jew “Please help me, I cannot turn off the lights on Shabbat.” One may, however, say, “It is difficult for me to sleep with the lights on.”

Because the prohibition of amira lenochri is of rabbinical origin, there is considerable flexibility in its application. This is particularly the case when the act performed by means of amira lenochri is in itself only a melachah de’rabbanan. Accordingly, the prohibition of amira lenochri is relaxed in order to prevent substantial financial loss; to enable the performance of a mitzvah; in cases of sickness; or in the case of the inevitable unwanted melachah, psik reishe.

Thus one may ask a non-Jew to perform the following acts on one’s behalf on Shabbat: to reconnect a freezer stocked with expensive food that became disconnected on Shabbat, the case of financial loss; to reheat previously cooked food essential for a Shabbat meal by placing it directly on the flame and to turn the lights on in the synagogue to enable the congregants to pray – both cases of performance of a mitzvah, i.e. participating in the Shabbat meal and prayer; to cook previously uncooked food for a sick person; to turn up the heat for persons suffering from cold; to turn on a light for a child who is frightened of the dark, because, for the purpose of amira lenochri, persons suffering from cold and children who suffer are deemed to be “sick”; or to open the refrigerator door, even if this will be sure to activate a light that one forgot to deactivate before Shabbat, the case of psik reishe.

Share Button

About the Author: Raphael Grunfeld’s book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Moed” (distributed by Mesorah) is available at OU.org and your local Jewish bookstore. His new book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Nashim & Nezikin,” will be available shortly.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Benefiting From A Non-Jew’s Work On Shabbat”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Border Police take charge of  Yitzhar's Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva while students are on vacation.
Brave Israel Police Stand Guard at Empty Yeshiva to Stop Violence
Latest Judaism Stories
Kedoshim

Rabbi Fohrman explains how the Torah provides the building blocks of true love.

Reiss-041814-King

Amazingly, each and every blade was green and moist as if it was just freshly cut.

PTI-041814

All the commentaries ask why Hashem focuses on the Exodus as opposed to saying, “I am Hashem who created the entire world.”

Leff-041814

Someone who focuses only on the bones of the Torah makes his bones dry and passionless.

The following is President Obama’s statement on Passover (April 14, 2014). As he has in the past, the President held an official Passover Seder at the White House. Michelle and I send our warmest greetings to all those celebrating Passover in the United States, in Israel, and around the world. On Tuesday, just as we […]

The tendency to rely on human beings rather than G-d has been our curse throughout the centuries.

“Who is wise? One who learns from each person” (Pirkei Avot 4:1)

In Judaism, to be without questions is a sign not of faith, but of lack of depth.

“I’ll try to help as we can,” said Mr. Goodman, “but we already made a special appeal this year. Let me see what other funds we have. I’ll be in touch with you in a day or two.”

Rashi is bothered by the expression Hashem used: “the Jews need only travel.”

Reckoning Time
‘Three Festivals, Even Out Of Order’
(Beizah 19b)

Two husbands were there to instruct us in Texas hold ‘em – and we needed them.

Question: Why do we start counting sefirat ha’omer in chutz la’aretz on the second night of Pesach when the omer in the times of the Beit Hamikdash was cut on Chol HaMoed?

M. Goldman
(Via E-Mail)

A few background principles regarding the prohibitions of chametz mixtures on Pesach may provide some shopping guidance.

According to the Rambam, the k’nas applies to any chametz on Pesach with which one could, in theory, transgress the aveirah – even if no transgression actually occurred.

More Articles from Raphael Grunfeld
Grunfeld-Raphael-NEW

A few background principles regarding the prohibitions of chametz mixtures on Pesach may provide some shopping guidance.

Grunfeld-Raphael-NEW

The prohibition of chametz on Pesach means that chametz may not be eaten or enjoyed, may not be owned or possessed, and must be removed from one’s premises.

Whether a month is chaser or maleh makes a crucial difference to our Jewish lives. If, for example, one mistakenly believed the month of Elul was maleh when in fact it was chaser, one might find oneself eating on Yom Kippur and fasting on a weekday. If one mistakenly believed the month of Adar was maleh when in fact it was chaser, one might find oneself eating bread on Pesach.

The lulav symbolizes the backbone, the etrog, the heart, the hadas the eyes, and the arava the lips moving in the service of God.

Although the Torah only commands us to pick up the arba minim, the rabbis require that we wave them in all four directions of the compass as well as upward and downward.

Is a shomer aveidah considered a shomer chinam or a shomer sachar?

The equivalent of the “OU” kashrut certification in England is that of the London Beit Din. There is also a competing kashrut certification called Kedassia. Those who eat Kedassia do not eat Beit Din.

When we are on the move in life, exiled from place to place, we turn to God, our Partner, for the protection of His cloud. When we are given the luxury of settling down, God turns to us, His partner, for the protection of our walls.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/benefiting-from-a-non-jews-work-on-shabbat/2013/02/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: