It's not always easy to find work (whether a full-time office job or just a minimum wage survival job) in sectors where you are free from Friday evening to Saturday evening, but I'd guess it was even harder in the past.

How about working on Friday morning until Friday noon? For example, 8AM–12PM. Does any rabbi offer an opinion on doing so?


  • I'm afraid I don't understand your question. As you note in the question, Shabbat starts Friday evening. What is there to discuss about working on Friday morning?
    – Joel K
    Feb 13, 2020 at 12:43
  • @Joel K : Maybe I just needed to hear a reaffirmation of some sorts. Been kinda super careful when it comes to that.
    – user16556
    Feb 13, 2020 at 12:48
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    I have often worked later during the week so that I can leave early on Friday. I know of people who can arrange to work from home on Friday. People often leave two hours earlier on Friday to allow for getting home at least an hour before the time required to get ready for Shabbat. Feb 13, 2020 at 15:52

1 Answer 1


From a strict halachic point of view: If one hires Jewish full-day workers, they have to be sent home on Friday early enough to arrive home with enough time to do the following: Fill a barrel of water, roast a small fish, light the Shabbat candle*. (Source: Choshen Mishpat 331:1. See below for full-text and translation as per Sefaria.)

Of course, way back when this was codified, the workers lived within walking distance to their homes. They knew precisely how long it would take them to get home.

Nowadays, when planning one's Friday work schedule, one must consider worst-case scenarios, unless one works within walking distance of home. These scenarios include: unheard-of traffic, blizzards, vehicle breakdowns, accidents, and other potential delays.

So a common arrangement would be to get permission to leave X hours before sunset. This is because, depending on your location and the season, Friday noon may be just 2–3 hours before sunset, or as many as 8–9 hours.

So: In summer you can leave work later; in winter you leave earlier.

Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat, Section 331:1

השוכר פועלים ינהג עמהם כמנהג המדינה ובו ג"ס:‏

השוכר את הפועלים ואמר להם להשכים ולהעריב מקום שנהגו שלא להשכים ושלא להעריב אינו יכול לכופן אפילו הוסיף על שכרן כיון שלא התנה כן בשעה ששכרן: ‏
הגה לא היה מנהג בעיר או שאמר להן אני שוכר אתכם כדין תורה חייבין לצאת מביתם בזריחת השמש ולעשות מלאכה עד צאת הכוכבים (טור ס"ד) ובערב שבת מקדים עצמו לביתו שיוכל למלאות לו חביות של מים ולצלות לו דג קטן ולהדליק את הנר (שם ס"ה בשם הירושלמי) :‏

One who hires workers and said to them "work from dawn till dusk", cannot force them to do so if that is not the custom of the area, even if he adds to their salary. This is because he did not make this stipulation at the moment he hired them.
Rema: If there was not a particular custom in the city or that he said to them "I hire you according to Torah law and you are obligated to leave from your houses at sunrise and work until nightfall" (Tur 331:4). On the eve of Shabbat the worker goes home early so he can fill a barrel of water and roast a small fish and light the Shabbat candles (Tur 331:5 based on the Talmud Yerushalmi).

  • 1
    Thanks for the answer. Kinda amusing and sweet the specifications: "fill a barrel of water, roast a small fish". Though lighting the Shabath candle is the woman's job if I'm not mistaken.
    – user16556
    Feb 13, 2020 at 16:21
  • @Ilja Though lighting the Shabath candle is the woman's job if I'm not mistaken. This is typically what happens, but somebody has to light the candles. If you live alone, or if your wife isn't available to light, you have to do it. See judaism.stackexchange.com/q/10961, see also judaism.stackexchange.com/q/36318.
    – Fred
    Feb 14, 2020 at 22:15
  • @Ilja - Yes. Though I'd prefer to say "lighting candles is the husband's responsibility and the wife's privilege." Feb 16, 2020 at 10:23