A given person is Shabbat-observant; his/her immediate and extended family is not.

May this individual write an email to his/her family (who live in Israel) when it is before Shabbat (where s/he currently lives), knowing full well that it is already Shabbat in Israel and that said family will likely read and reply to said email that night (= on Shabbat)?

  • Would it extend their time doing melacha? If so, your question basically is: is one allowed to extend the time someone is doing melachot if he is already doing them? (my guess would be no) Commented Jun 14, 2013 at 18:26
  • related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/11839/… Commented Jun 14, 2013 at 20:03
  • Alternatively, making a phone call would probably fall under the same category. Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 2:17
  • The reverse was practical for me some years back. I wrote a family update motzaei shabbat from Israel. Eventually, my grandmother would specifically check her email for my update on Shabbat afternoon (and reply, so I knew she was doing this). I felt guilty about it, so I started saving my email and sending it on Sunday morning. She never got up at 3AM motzaei Shabbat to reply ;-)
    – Ze'ev
    Commented Mar 20, 2014 at 6:52
  • Heard this answer in a shiur cant source it. The Rabbi who said it is a Rav. Take whatever you want from it but its not a psak. Generally a person is not allowed to put another Jew in a situation where he will break Shabbat, even though it is permitted for you to do a certain action. For example, you are totally permitted to send an email before Shabbat. Now if the recipient is Jewish and will receive your email on Shbbat and will read your email on Shabbat then you are forbidden from doing so.
    – TreeKing
    Commented Jun 17, 2014 at 9:25

1 Answer 1


Partial answer: There is no Shabbos problem of sending it even if it is already Shabbos where the recipient is (see last paragraph here).

  • The source you provided stated that is permitted. But, your final statement is that it is indeed forbidden. Can you provide a source for your final statement which contradicts the Ohr Somayach source?
    – Lee
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 6:22
  • 1
    @Lee, there are two seperate איסורים here. The Ohr Somayach source says that there is no shabbos problem of sending the email; it does not deal with the lifnei iver or misayea l'dvar aveira problem. Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 16:19
  • Makes sense. But I'm still looking for a source that there is, in fact, a problem of "lifnei iver".
    – Lee
    Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 16:23
  • @Lee, my research on that part confused me, so I took that part out. Now, there might still be a problem of lifnei iver or misayea l'dvar aveira because the relative will likely respond to it on שבת. It may depend on if the relative will definitely respon on שבת or not, and whether the relative would have been using his computer/phone anyway. See these two articles on dinonline.org: Lifnei Iver Part 1, and Lifnei Iver Part 2. Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 16:55
  • @Lee it seems to me that if your relative would be on the computer anyway during that time, the fact that (s)he would be responding to your email for a few minutes might not make a difference, unless that time would otherwise be spent on some not-אסור action. It might still be misayea l'dvar aveira though, because you would be giving the relative a reason to type. These are just thoughts though, and I'm not sure if the sources I mentioned back any of this up. Commented Jul 22, 2014 at 17:01

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