Disclaimer: I'm not Jewish, and this question is not about me. I'm not very well versed in these subjects. I've previously read questions asked here on Mi Yodeya, as I find it very interesting.

I work teaching at a university in Buenos Aires, Argentina (teaching Food Science). This semester, classes are taught on Tuesdays and Fridays, from 17-22 in the evening. These are lenghty laboratory practices, and rescheduling is not possible. One of the students is a practicant, and he is having many troubles taking this class.

Out of curiosity, is it possible to take classes in the evening on Fridays? Would it be possible for him to get a special dispensation from a rabbi? Would there be some precedents or opinions where I could find out more about this subject?

Thank you very much in advance.

  • 1
    In short, unless it is a matter of (literally) life or death, then the answer is no. Oct 19, 2016 at 0:46
  • 1
    Driving a car is forbidden, so he would likely have trouble getting there. Many other activities (such as writing) are prohibited as well. In all likelihood, attending would not be possible.
    – mevaqesh
    Oct 19, 2016 at 1:14
  • Since it is a food class, then it probably involves cooking. Cooking is one of the categories of "work" that is forbidden. This would mean that even if he did not take notes (also forbidden) or light the fire on the oven (also forbidden) he would not be able to actually do anything in the class. Oct 19, 2016 at 13:20

1 Answer 1


On Shabbat Jews may not perform "Melacha" (the 39 types of forbidden work) such as writing, driving, turning on electrical devices, cooking, kneading, grinding, and sorting, among others.

An observant Jew will not perform any of these activities or other Melacha from sundown on Friday through nightfall on Saturday. If "taking" your class will involve any of these forbidden activities, s/he may not participate.

Jewish Rabbis are bound to rule according to Jewish religious law (Halacha), and cannot make dispensations based on convenience. Halacha does permit one to do certain acts of Melacha in certain special circumstances. For example, any Melacha is permitted on Shabbos in order to save a life. Rabbinic Melachas (for example, reheating cooked food) are permitted for a sick person. Asking a non-Jew to do a Rabbinic Melacha for a Jew's benefit may be permitted to avoid substantial financial loss. Any of these cases or others set down in Halacha may be permitted. Any case not set down in Halacha as permitted (for example, cooking to avoid financial loss) is forbidden by Halacha, and a Rabbi cannot overturn Halacha.

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