Does someone who owns a bed-and-breakfast (tzimmer) fulfill the mitzvah of hachnasat orchim when their guests pay them?

On the one hand, the hosts get clear monetary benefit from hosting. However, they are still opening up their home (or a room of it) and letting people stay.

This question was inspired by someone who owns a B&B mentioning that it almost felt weird to do hachnasat orchim without getting paid for it. Seemingly, this person at least feels like they fulfill the mitzvah to some extent when being payed.


Per Rabbi Chaim Ehrman from the Chicago Community Kollel based on a Maharsham there are Poskim that say that since Hachnosas Orchim is a Mitzva therefore one may accept payment for one staying over Shabbos. However Rabbi Moshe Shternbuch in Teshuvos V'hanhogos 2:197 disagrees and says that one does not do the Mitzva of Hachnosas Orchim when paid.

Does a person fulfill the mitzvah of Hachnosas Orchim if he is being paid for it? There is a discussion in the Poskim regarding paying or accepting pay for a hotel stay on Shabbos. The issue surrounds the halacha that one is not allowed to pay for or accept payment for work or services done on Shabbos. The Maharsham writes [O.H. 306-4] that perhaps since Hachnosas Orchim is a mitzvah, it would be permitted to pay or accept payment, as found in similar cases of other mitzvos. The poskim infer from here that the Maharsham would hold that even if one accepts payment, he would still fulfill this mitzvah. HaGaon Rav Moshe Shternbuch shlita [Teshuvos V’Hanhagos Volume 2:197] strongly disagrees and is of the opinion that if one accepts money, he would not fulfill the mitzvah of Hachnosas Orchim. The Magen Avrohom [O.H. 38:8] rules that if one’s main intent was to fulfill the mitzvah, and the payment was secondary, then he would have fulfilled the mitzvah. The Biur Halachah extends this even further, saying that even if a person’s intentions were equally weighted, that would be sufficient to fulfill the mitzvah.

  • Interesting answer to an interesting question. He seems to imply a general rule that one may pay for a mitzvah on Shabbat, am I understanding this correctly? If so, is this related to allowing shuls to ask for monetary donations for aliyot and run appeals on Shabbat, or is this a separate idea?
    – DanF
    May 27 '16 at 15:38
  • @DanF: I think you hit the nail on the head and it is related. May 27 '16 at 15:40
  • Thanks, I may ask a question about this. Offhand, mixing money ideas with a mitzvah sounds like a violation of "Daber Davar", no?
    – DanF
    May 27 '16 at 15:45
  • @DanF: Daber Davar is a problem on Shabbos. Here the fellow is paying before or after - for the Shabbos stay. On Shabbos there is no discussion regarding the payment. May 27 '16 at 15:48
  • @DanF חפציך אסורים ולא חפצי שמים
    – Double AA
    May 27 '16 at 16:19

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