web analytics
October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Benefiting From A Non-Jew’s Work On Shabbat

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.

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.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

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

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Do you know where your vegetables grow?
Not So Kosher Shemittah L’Mehadrin
Latest Judaism Stories
Greenbaum-102414

Noach was the lonely man of faith living in a depraved world, full of wickedness.

Parsha-Perspectives-logo

Avraham became a great man during the 175 years of his life, while his predecessors became increasingly wicked, despite staggering knowledge, during their lifetimes of hundreds of years.

Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

Shem realized that he owed his existence to his father who brought him into the world.

Daf-Yomi-logo

Law-Abiding Citizen
‘That Which Is Crooked Cannot Be Made Straight…’
(Yevamos 22a-b)

The flood was not sent to destroy, but to restore the positive potential of the world.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Why is there is no mention of dinosaurs, and other prehistoric animals, in the Torah?

Strict din demands perfection. There is no room for shortcomings and no place for excuses; you are responsible.

Surprisingly, my husband and one son arrived home over half-an-hour earlier than usual. I excitedly shared my perfect-timing story, but my better half one upped me easily.

Noach felt a tug, and then heard a rip. His jacket had been caught on the nail, and the beautiful suit had a tear.

Boundaries must be set in every home. Parents and children are not pals. They are not equals.

Noah and his wife could not fathom living together as husband and wife and continuing the human race

The Babel story is the 2nd in a 4-act drama that’s unmistakably a connecting thread of Bereishit

Our intentions are critical in raising children because they mimic everything we parents do & think

A humble person who achieves a position of prominence will utilize the standing to benefit others.

More Articles from Raphael Grunfeld
Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

Should we sit in the sukkah on a day that may be the eighth day when we are not commanded to sit in the sukkah at all?

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

We are told that after returning home from Ne’ilah and breaking our fast, the first activity we should engage in is building a sukkah.

In addition to Yom Kippur, there is at least one other instance when a person may fast on Shabbat – the case of a ta’anit chalom, in which a person wishes to fast to prevent an ominous dream from becoming reality.

We must eat, sleep, work, and care for our dependants. How much time is left over after all that?

If mourning is incompatible with Yom Tov, why is it not incompatible with Shabbat?

On Chol HaMoed some work is prohibited and some is permitted. According to some opinions, the work prohibition is biblical; according to others, it’s rabbinical.

Based on the opinion of the Ramban, the Territorial School believes that leaving any territory of the Land of Israel in the possession of non-Jews is a violation of a biblical mandate.

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: