Can I invite a Jew for a meal on Shabbat or Yom Tov if I know they will drive to my house?

  • 2
    Can one cook for a mechalel shabbos on yom tov?
    – Curiouser
    Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 3:56
  • @Curiouser -- it's debated in the Achronim. The Mishnah Brurah says no; I've heard Rabbi Hershel Schachter say the prevalent view today among all sorts of poskim is yes.
    – Shalom
    Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 12:23
  • 2
    @Curiouser judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/ask Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 16:59
  • Non-observant? Don't you mean less-observant? Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 15:43
  • Not necessarily. The way I see it, a 'less-observant' Jew may decide on their own to not drive, since they could know better (making it a safek if they will or won't drive when you invite them). While a 'non-observant' Jew will definitely drive since they don't observe anything Jewish.
    – zaq
    Commented Jul 12, 2012 at 15:56

3 Answers 3


There is an argument between different Rabbis:

  • Igros Moshe says that one is prohibited to invite someone to a synagogue if the only way one will be able to get there is by car. He says that there are several issues:

    1. Lifnei Iver (he is like one who places a stumbling block). He says this applies even if the people whom he invites live close enough to the synagogue to walk but choose to drive anyways, and possibly even if they are not invited outright but are just informed of the minyan.
    2. Meisis (being a missionary). He says that this applies only if one invites them to a synagogue to which they cannot get without driving.

    He also says in a previous letter (siman 98 on that page) that one isn't allowed to invite children to a synagogue (to train them to pray in a minyan) as the act of inviting them is itself an act of teaching the opposite of the Torah - that one should rather drive to synagogue than pray alone.

  • Tshuvos Vehanhagos from R' Moshe Shternbuch (the head of the Eida Hachareidis) writes that there is no concern for Lifnei Iver (placing a stumbling block in front of the blind) as that prohibition only applies when one advises someone to harm him. Here, however, when one wants to bring a non-religious person closer to Judaism. Even though the person will end up hurting himself in the process (by driving a car), that is not his responsibility if he tells them that he is upset by them driving on Shabbos. However, he says that they should park a bit away from one's house to avoid Chillul Hashem.

I also heard that some Rabbonim permit one to invite since

  • they will most probably violate shabbos anyways (if they will not come to one's house, they will go to the beach, etc.), one can invite them to bring them closer to Judaism.
  • and they may be embarrassed to violate Shabbos in a religious person's house, so that by inviting them (and passively allowing them to drive), one may save them from other chillul Shabbos.
  • 2
    I disagree with your evaluation of R' Shternbuch's p'sak. He is discussing a case where they are not doing any extra driving to get to the house (for example if they drove to the area earlier in the day anyway). The question addressed whether there is an issur to invite them if they will drive back afterwards (which they'd also do anyway but earlier). Also, although he writes that lifnei iver doesn't apply if the invitation is l'tovas atzmo, a case where they will definitely drive to the house on account of the invitation would still bring up the d'rabbanan problem of m'sayeiya l'ovrei averia. Commented Apr 18, 2012 at 23:37

Rav Aharon Lichtenstein discusses the issue here and quotes Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach as permitting, provided one let them know that sleeping arrangements in the area can be provided. Rav Lichtenstein himself tends to agree, especially if there is a Jewish-educational aspect involved.


According to Igros Moshe Chelek 1 Siman 98 and Chelek 4 Siman 71 it would not be allowed.

  • 3
    Perhaps link and/or quote the relevant parts here?
    – HodofHod
    Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 3:38
  • Shmuel Brin did it already. Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 3:22
  • 3
    @MeirZirkind you cited. you didn't provide a link, nor did you quote his words. Commented Apr 18, 2012 at 4:30

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