Featured Post

Free The Hostages! Bring Them Home!

(this is a featured post and will stay at the top for the foreseeable future.. scroll down for new posts) -------------------------------...

Jul 14, 2008

A Professional Shabbes Goy

A professional shabbes goy!

In the Bible Belt neighborhood of Mattesdorf in Jerusalem, the shabbes goy recently took on official employment. They set him up with a hut in which to spend shabbes. Part of the time he spends in the hut waiting for people to come to him for assistance, and part of the time he patrols the neighborhood to see if people need help.

He is armed with a price list so peope will know how much it costs to turn on the air conditioner, to turn on the lights, to get a ride to the hospital, etc.

The halachos involved in the issue of telling a goy to do things for you are very complex, but the basics are the goy has to be doing it for himself, and you cannot tell him directly - you can only hint to him. So the goy in Mattesdorf has some keywords, depending on what you need done, and with that he will set off to do your "work" for you.

I do not know if you are meant to tell him where the money is so he can take it when he does the "work", or if he extends credit on payment until after Shabbos.

I think every religious neighborhood should have one of these!


  1. it's one thing thru hinting and possibly he needs whatever the melachah may be. but once you set up that he gets paid for the service, how could you possibly justify that he may be doing the melacha for himself? even with remizah?

  2. I guess it is called for himself because he is doing it for the money, not for you.

  3. I think that is there is a well-defined "keyword" by which the goy knows what to do, then that qualifies as a direct request just like a regular sentence would.

    So this enterprise is halachically problematic.

  4. i've never understood the whole shabbos goy concept and the way you make it sound in particular just seems wrong. both the technical way that it is done and the fact that lechatchila a community in israel feels it needs a dedicated shabbos goy.

    i also feel that part of the challenge of living in a jewish state should be learning to deal without non-jews. i could be wrong, but i highly doubt that there were shabbos goyyim in the bet hamikdash, etc.

  5. no rai, b/c a maid in your house gets paid and cannot just turn on lights for you. this is the same. soething is "lost" in the story here.

  6. I do not know when it is allowed and when it is not. I learned the halachos a long time ago, but they are very detailed and complex as to when the goy can actually be used. I remember that at the time it seemed like people use it totally incorrectly, but I do not remember why.

    LOZ - I agree that it seems wrong when it becomes institutionalized rather than being an ad hoc situation.

    but I disagree about the time of the Beis Hamikdash - I thin there were more non-Jews than Jews in Israel for at least most of the Second Temple period. Most Jews lived abroad during much of the Second Temple Period.

    Shlomo - you raise a good point. Maybe setting a keyword takes it out of the realm of hinting.

  7. Keep in mind as well that in the Bais HaMikdash there were fewer issurei melocha on Shabbos (drabbonons, shvus, etc)

  8. anon - that is true in the beis Hamikdash. But in most of the country the drabonons and shvus' did apply.

  9. "Shlomo - you raise a good point. Maybe setting a keyword takes it out of the realm of hinting."

    My rabbi says no, but it's possible that others might disagree.

  10. I seriously thought this must've been a joke when i read it. he even has a price list with him?!? i dunno, but even if technically they might get away with it (and since when are charedim so meikil with halachat, like chillul shabbat?) isn't this destroying the sanctity of shabbat? isn't the whole point to rest and live in a world of rest, not to have your work done for you by other people? Next thing you know, they'll be having him turn on their TVs. Nah, they're probably too machmir to have TVs.

  11. wow, what's with all the Chinese in the last comment? you actually understand it?

    omg, the idea of a professional shabbos goy sounds ridiculous, after all doesn't it defeat the whole purpose? it becomes like your telling the goy what to do. Even if you would pay him after shabbos, it's still not good because your paying him for services he did on shabbos.


Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...