Assuming Christianity is Avodah Zarah (RamBam), can one get his car fixed by a gentile, with a new part, put in, over Christmas? Obviously, there's no way to know whether the mechanic will work on the car on Christmas itself.

This in regards to Mishneh Torah Avodas Kochavim 9:1:

It is forbidden to purchase or sell any durable entity to an idolater within three days of one of their holidays.… When does the above apply? In Eretz Yisrael. In other lands, however, it is forbidden [to engage in such activities] only on the day of their festival itself.

  • 1
    Does the Rambam really hold that Christianity is avodah zara??? Where? I don't think that's how we hold today. Dec 22, 2014 at 15:11
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    @BruceJames Hilchot Avodah Zara 9:4 הנוצריים עובדי עבודה זרה הן The Christians are idolaters (avodah zara).
    – rosenjcb
    Dec 22, 2014 at 16:26
  • @rosenjcb I asked my rav once how Jews can sell gifts to Christians before Christmas if they are idolators per the discussion in the 1st Mishna in Avodah Zara. He said that we don't hold them to be idolators. How is Rambam's view distinguished? Dec 22, 2014 at 16:29
  • @BruceJames He's disagreeing with the Rambam then? I mean, shittuf is a very popular concept in halacha. That or he holds that Christmas itself is a very secular holiday and logistically holds no avodah zarah. Similar to how the rabbi of anshe sfar in New Orleans holds that a Jew may take part in Marti Gras (even though it's a Catholic celebration in its origination).
    – rosenjcb
    Dec 22, 2014 at 16:32

1 Answer 1


Tosfos points out all sorts of leniencies that we apply today, not strictly using the definitions of the mishnas in avoda zara.

Among other considerations, in a religiously-integrated society, applying religious discrimination in business dealings would cause a great deal of dangerous animosity.

(Your local rabbi might advise, all else being equal, that if it makes little difference to you when to take your car to the shop, it might be slightly better to wait -- but that's a local call.)

Never mind that there are plenty of people today who celebrate Christmas but with very, very little Trinitarian intent.

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