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Let us say a person lives in an apartment building where the apartment doors (door to the apartment itself) are fitted with electronic locks. The building has a 24-hour "concierge" doorman (non-Jewish).

What sort of interaction could a Jew have with the doorman at any time in order to allow themselves to enter their apartment on Shabbos?

(Assume the lock cannot be changed, assume stairwells exist so elevator is not also issue. For the purposes of this question, assume you cannot get a roommate to help you.)

  • I have spent Shabbat at a number of hotels that had electronic locks on all the doors. Rabbanim there instructed us to leave the electronic key at the desk. When passing the desk, all you had to say was "My name is ---. I'm going to my room". Someone followed you to the room and opened your door with your key. I assume this same strategy could be used on Shabbat. – DanF Jun 25 at 14:44
  • DanF, that is great information. It sounds like you were in a situation, however, where the desk staff already knew what to do. What if you had to be the one to explain to the desk staff what to do ahead of time? I assume there is some special phrasing to avoid making them your agent? Or is that not a concern? – AMR Jun 25 at 21:38
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    Large hotels are used to having Jewish conventions there, so they pretty much know the routine. For a new situation, I don't see any problem explaining the rules in advance. Not too complicated - "I can't open the door on the Sabbath. When you see me come in, please open the door for me." Offhand, I don't think that this is a direct way of having them do melacha as you haven't told them explicitly how to open the door. Check this out with your rav, though. Offhand, I don't see this being different than what happens at the hotels. – DanF Jun 26 at 1:16

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