If one of precisely ten men, who form a minyan, had driven to shul (the synagogue) on shabbat, is that an acceptable minyan?

I would have though not, since one is benefiting from his melacha on shabbat, but was told that either this is not called a benefit, or that one is allowed to benefit from melacha that is done by a Jew on shabbat in general, just not in the case of bishul.

Are either of those two things true?

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    I'd be willing to believe that it's not a benefit. I wouldn't believe that you can benefit from melacha from a Jew on Shabbos. Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 19:10
  • This answer has all sorts of ramifications. For example (and from personal experience) - two small communities get together and rent a hall in a town halfway between the two communities so they can hold High Holiday services. This is about the only remaining link to orthodox prayer that they have and if the link is lost.... Is it permissible for someone to go there (takes own food, in local hotel etc.) to conduct their services?
    – Epicentre
    Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 8:43
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    @Epicentre, welcome to Mi Yodeya and thanks for your contribution here, which I've converted to a comment. I look forward to your participation here. Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 12:51
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    @Epicentre That sounds like a separate question to me.
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 13, 2012 at 14:01

2 Answers 2


You certainly can't benefit from a melacha done by a Jew on Shabbos, not just bishul. Bishul is just the common, obvious example (see here for a source I could find online - where many different types of Malacha are a problem. It is talking about a non-Jew, but it is certainly not less for a Jew).

My first reaction is "מצות לאו להנות ניתנו" - Mitzvos are not given for benefit, so something which is forbidden to derive benefit from can still be used for a Mitzvah. Especially in this context, where the benefit is indirectly from the work (it is not a product of the work, like bishul, in the direct sense - like @Shalom alludes to). But it could entirely be about the benefit being indirect.

  • so if a Jew turns the lights on in a room on Friday night should I not go in to that room because I benefit from the light?
    – rosends
    Commented Aug 10, 2012 at 1:36
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    @Dan, see here: eretzhemdah.org/…
    – Yishai
    Commented Aug 14, 2012 at 23:08
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    What about about מומר לחלל שבת? Is he good for use in a minyan?
    – MTL
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 16:01
  • @Shokhet Maybe, according to the Chazon Ish anyway. Certainly an angle that a Psak would have to consider, unlike a Mi.Yodea answer which is focus on the premise and angle of the question.
    – Yishai
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 16:09
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    @SAH, hearing Shofar is the classic example. You can hear Shofar from a Shofar that you cannot derive benefit from (say because of a neder). Sure you derive benefit - a Mitzvah. But because the benefit is a Mitzvah, Mitzvas are not for "benefit" and as such don't fall under the prohibition.
    – Yishai
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 22:14

Cooking is a case where the food is a direct physical result of the prohibited action. Don't eat that food on shabbos.

Okay this fellow happened to have driven himself here, but he could have gotten here on foot or in a wheelchair (assuming eruv); I don't think counting him in for a minyan is the same type of tangible benefit from the direct result of prohibited labor.

A more interesting question: if I open a synagogue someplace where I know most people will drive, am I facilitating that? Rabbi Rakeffet discusses it and mentions the psak he's heard: if there are ten people within a two mile radius then it's conceivable to have a minyan without anyone driving, therefore it's permissible to open the synagogue.

  • What do you do if one of them goes away for shabbat?
    – soandos
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 19:54
  • what if he couldn't have gotten there on foot. Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 19:57
  • And I thought that food is asur b'hana'ah?
    – soandos
    Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 20:06
  • @soandos - you go by rov. Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 21:20
  • @ShmuelBrin see above Commented Aug 9, 2012 at 21:21

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