I understand that we are (generally) not allowed to ask a gentile to do m'lacha for a Jew on Shabas. Suppose he's going to do m'lacha anyway, but I want him to do it differently, or to do a different action instead, possibly entailing a different type of m'lacha, but not entailing more m'lacha actions or more m'lacha types. If he does my action, he won't also do his originally intended action. Is it permissible to ask him?

  • Interesting question. I recently heard but didn't check it up yet that there is an igros moshe who says the issur of schir yom as far as amira linachri goes is when you tell him how and what to do (even before shabbos) but when he has free choice to do the work as he sees fit, the issue would not apply. Your case is coming from the opposite direction, a case of hetter where your interaction would make it assur. Hhhm this might be explicit in shulchan aruch. Hold on.
    – user6591
    May 17, 2015 at 23:23
  • I might have something explicit for you. But first a clarification. Are you discussing a case where the non Jew is using the items of the Jew to do this milacha, or is it his own item in the house of the Jew?
    – user6591
    Jun 17, 2015 at 14:22
  • @user6591 Both of those cases, and also any other (e.g. where the gentile is using his own stuff on his own property).
    – msh210
    Jun 17, 2015 at 14:42
  • This strikes me as very Pesak-y. Can we reformulate it, perhaps to ask what the outer limits are of Amirah?
    – Seth J
    Jan 13, 2016 at 17:34
  • 4
    @SethJ, it strikes me as hypothetical.
    – Isaac Moses
    Jan 13, 2016 at 17:40

1 Answer 1


I don't have an explicit source for you, but there is a Ramma at the end of siman 244 concerning a non-Jew who is working for a Jew in an allowed situation (tax collector) where the Ramma warns that the Jew may not sit next to the non-Jew while he is performing this task.

The Mishna Berurah cites a Taz and other Achronim who quantify this prohibition and limit it to being involved in the actual dealings, whereas sitting there to protect the money from being stolen, that would be allowed. The final admonition there reads 'however be careful not to talk to him (the non-Jew) at all concerning the work.'

It seems any involvement with how the work is done would be a problem of mimtzo cheftzecha.

(For all Lubavitchers reading this, the footnote on the bottom brings that the Shulchan Aruch HaRav only allowed sitting there for hefsed meruba)

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