The situation is that I am currently living in dorm rooms with a Jewish person who has decided to keep Shabbat. I am a Jew who does not keep Shabbat, but I respect my dorm mate and do not want to inadvertently cause him to break Shabbat. So, I think it might be helpful, during Shabbat, to ask him if he wants the lights turned off or on and help out accordingly.

Therefore, I'm wondering: Can a Jew who is keeping the Shabbat rules ask another Jew who is not keeping shabbat to turn on/off the lights?

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    Definite no-no. Make sure to ask a rabbi who is familiar with the situation for a final ruling, or better yet, just ask your friend what he wants you to do.
    – Double AA
    Oct 4, 2013 at 16:01
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    Your roommate would not be allowed to benefit from actions you do on his behalf if they violate Shabbat (lights on/off, etc.). You're not causing him to break Shabbat, but you aren't helping him by breaking it for him.
    – Seth J
    Oct 4, 2013 at 16:11
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    Jason, Welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks very much for bringing your question here! As DoubleAA said, to determine what to do in your own situation, you should talk to your friend and/or a rabbi. Hopefully, you'll get a full, well-sourced answer here that will provide information you can use in these discussions. I think that this is a question that comes up frequently, especially in dorm situations. With this question here and (hopefully) answers, others who want to be helpful like you do will find this information by Googling, thanks to you. Thanks for taking extra steps to be helpful to all!
    – Isaac Moses
    Oct 4, 2013 at 18:21
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    I have always wondered whether it is worse to ask them or to do it yourself. Does anyone have an opinion on that?
    – SAH
    Oct 4, 2013 at 18:37

2 Answers 2


By turning on the light at his request, you would be causing him to violate the commandment of "lifnei 'iver -- placing a stumbling block before the blind." The Rabbis interpret this to forbid one Jew to cause another to sin.

See MT Laws of Murder 12:14 for source.


no, as all Jews are obligated to keep shabbos and your room mate may not ask you nor derive benefit from any action you take which violates shabbos

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