Assume we're talking about a hotel that is open every day of the year. How does someone own and operate a hotel while still keeping the laws of Shabbat?

Are there sources that discuss this?

An obvious solution would be to sell the Shabbat day to a non-Jewish partner. Is that the only solution? Is it recommended these days?

  • 2
    What characteristics distinguish owning a hotel from owning some other sort of business? (Since you're asking specifically about hotels, I assume you see an important distinction.) Feb 11, 2013 at 20:13
  • I'm pretty sure they own it from before Shabbath and just maintain ownership through the weekend.
    – Seth J
    Feb 11, 2013 at 20:20
  • They also probably assume ownership through a contract vehicle signed by witnesses and registered with some government authority. But that probably depends upon the local laws.
    – Seth J
    Feb 11, 2013 at 20:21
  • Or were you asking something related to Judaism?
    – Seth J
    Feb 11, 2013 at 20:22
  • 1
    slightly related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/19050/…
    – Menachem
    Feb 12, 2013 at 5:47

1 Answer 1


I will answer the question in a general manner. Any business open on Shabbat has to deal with three issues:

  1. One may not desecrate Shabbat, and one may not instruct a non-Jew to do for him something which is prohibited to do on Shabbat. In this regard, if one can operate a hotel without desecrating Shabbat, then this is not a problem. However, if there are things which need to be done which are prohbited on Shabbat, then one would need to enter a form of partnership with a non-Jew, by which he will be doing (or instructing other non-Jewish workers) to do these acts for his benefit.

  2. Ma'arit Ayin - Even if one is not instructing non-Jews to work for him on Shabbat, but to others looking from the outside it will appear that he is, such as where the hotel is known to be owned by a Jew and is seen operating on Shabbat in a manner where work is done on Shabbat, it is prohibited. A partnership with a non-Jew may solve this problem as well, as any work being done on Shabbat will be ascribed to the non-Jew's instructions and benefit.

  3. Schar Shabbat - receiving payment for something being done on Shabbat. This is a problem even by something which is permitted to do on Shabbat, such as being paid to watch over something on Shabbat. This may be solved by havla'ah, by not receiving payment solely for Shabbat but also for time before or after Shabbat. This may be less of a problem in a hotel, as usually the room is rented from Friday afternoon, or until Sunday afternoon, and thus the payment is not solely for Shabbat.

  • So all the income on the shabbat would go to the non Jewish partner. and all workers would be paid by him on this day.
    – user12369
    Apr 5, 2016 at 3:58
  • Can you edit in sources for your claims?
    – msh210
    Apr 5, 2016 at 16:33

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