What can a person who is staying at a hotel which has only electronic sliding doors that open when one walks near them do to avoid any issue on shabbat?

  • Wait for someone else to enter and "piggyback"?

  • Tell the staff of the issue and have them open whenever they see the shabbat-observant customer without having to ask?

Are any of these viable/permissible solutions? Any other advice?

  • 1
    Apparently Rav Elyashiv holds one may ask a gentile to enter so he can enter behind him. (Ma’or Hashabbat, vol. 4).
    – LuxuryMode
    Commented Jan 4, 2013 at 20:22
  • 1
    @LuxuryMode, why not write that up as an answer?
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Jan 4, 2013 at 20:24
  • Cf. judaism.stackexchange.com/q/48165
    – msh210
    Commented Nov 9, 2014 at 6:13

2 Answers 2


The problem occurred to me when I was visiting Japan. I went to the manager of the hotel on Friday and explained the issues. He directed me to one of the non-electronic doors which he would leave open over a generous time window when I expected to be coming in and out.

This also worked in another smaller hotel in Japan where we used the staff entrance on Shabbos and ended up the wrong side of the reception desk (!).


The doors operate on an infrared sensor.

'Technically' by walking in front of them, even 'piggybacking' when the infra hits you, it resets the timer for the doors to close. there really is no avoidance to this, especially if there is a fire alarm on the back door, and the windows are barred.

Since there is no way around it, Ultraorthodox will avoid having reservations at such hotels.

Your options would be to not use it at all, or to do so.

Your responsibility would be to ask YOUR rabbi, as there are different views between rabbinic studies and sects of Judaism, or communities.

Since automatic doors were not invented until late, different opinions will vary.

As I've been taught, you should follow the teachings of your local Rav. If he doesn't know, it's his responsibility to talk to higher chain in command. If another Rav contradicts him, then you must still follow your Rav's teaching, as different opinions will turn to different outcomes. Since we do not have a Sanhendrin anymore, there is no one specific law for this question

  • 2
    If it is prohibited, then why do only ultraorthodox care?
    – Double AA
    Commented May 13, 2013 at 21:13
  • 1
    The whole site runs presuming the policy you stated in the second half of your question. However, this is a community where people come to ask for sources and opinions, not halakhic advice. If you'd like to insert a link in your answer to the Why ask a rabbi question, you're welcome to, but it needn't be the focus of your response. Commented May 14, 2013 at 14:44
  • So overall your answer is: maybe and you should ask a Rabbi?
    – Double AA
    Commented May 14, 2013 at 16:25
  • The answer is obviously NO, but for life treatning circumstances it is permitted. However, if you by accident booked a room in a hotel which has these sensors, you can ask the mangement to leave the back door open
    – Ess Kay
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 16:07

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