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If one goes to a Hotel for Shabbos, can he order a coffee and charge it to his room, or is that forbidden, like other methods of buying food on Shabbos are?

  • What kind of order and how is it done? At a kosher hotel arrangements are made before Shabbat and the rav hamachshir would ensure that things are done properly. – sabbahillel Oct 20 '16 at 9:40
  • I am not speaking of a case where payment was put down before hand for drinks. I am talking about where I suddenly ask for a drink and that drink gets charged to my room – Bochur613 Oct 20 '16 at 10:29
  • are you worried about the promise of payment or the cooking on shabbos? – rosends Oct 20 '16 at 12:32
  • The payment. Is this considered buying food on Shabbos which is Assur – Bochur613 Oct 20 '16 at 13:08
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    @Bochur613 Since when is buying food on Shabbos Assur? – Double AA Oct 20 '16 at 13:42
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The Ramban in his commentary to Vayikra 23:24, explains that the Biblical word "Shabaton" is the Rabbinical source for forbidding business transactions on Shabbos. It implies that one should rest, by abstaining from weekday activity (commerce).

Further support is taken by Chazal from Isaiah 58: 13-14. There it states that one should not pursue their needs on the Sabbath. This refers to business/ commerce. See also Nechemiah 13: 15-22. It is obvious there, that commerce is forbidden on Shabbos.

The Chasam Sofer goes so far as to say that based on the Ramban and others, one who operates his store/business on Shabbos is counted as a Mechallel Shabbos like someone who breaks any of the Torah laws of Shabbos. (Shailos U'Teshuvos on Choeshen Mishpat 195.) This would seem like it is counted as a D'Oraisa prohibition. (however, private transactions are admittedly forbidden merely due to the Rabbinical decree regarding writing. (see below; next comment)

A second reason to prohibit buying and selling on the Sabbath (besides the above idea of refraining from business) is that the Rabbis prohibited these transactions because it would lead to the Biblical prohibition of writing; which is one of the 39 Biblical categories of forbidden Shabbos labor. (see the Rambam Laws of Shabbos ch. 23:12. "...And so it is forbidden to acquire, sell, or rent as a decree, because he may come to write..")

Therefore, at first glance, it should be forbidden to buy a drink from a store on Shabbos. (or order one from a hotel's room service, to be written down on one's bill etc.)

However, if the item you wish to buy is for the needs of that Shabbos or Yom Tov itself, (coffee Shabbos morning) (See Misnah Berurah 307:46) then one can order it under the following conditions.

  1. No one may use the words "buy" or "sell". You can say "May I have/take.." (see Mishnah Berurah 323:1).

  2. No one may mention that it will be "..paid for after the Shabbos is over." You may hint by saying that "things will be settled after Shabbos; or taken care of." See Shulchan Aruch 323:2 and Mishnah Berurah 307:44; also Magen Avraham 307:15

  3. No one may refer to the items by weight/measure, or price. (See Shulchan Aruch 323:4). Even referring to a previous balance is forbidden. (See the Rema on 323:4) One can say "a bag of, 5 oranges, 3 packs, etc."

Of course, obviously, a Jew may not actually open a store on Shabbos for the purpose of being available for "Shabbos needs" transactions. This is true even if all the above conditions are adhered to.

So, one may order a coffee on Shabbos from room service, since the above conditions may be met. This applies to a Jewish hotel. A non-Jewish hotel seems like an easier concern. I hope this helps. :)

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    All of the Jewish-run hotels I've stayed at for Shabbos had a complementary breakfast Shabbos morning, admittedly, those were all in Israel. – Noach MiFrankfurt Oct 21 '16 at 12:34
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See mishna Shabbat 23, 1:

מסכת שבת פרק כג, א; שואל אדם מחברו כדי יין וכדי שמן, ובלבד שלא יאמר הלווני; וכן שואלת אישה מחברתה כיכרות. אם אין מאמינו--מניח טליתו אצלו,ועושה עימו חשבון לאחר שבת. וכן ערב פסחים בירושלים שחל להיות בשבת, מניח טליתו אצלו ואוכל את פסחו, ועושה עימו חשבון לאחר יום טוב. ‏

Borrowing on Shabbat and repaying promptly after Shabbat is allowed even if you need to leave your Talit as pledge.

See Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim siman 307, sayif 11:

השואל דבר מחבירו לא יאמר לו הלויני דמשמע לזמן מרובה ואיכא למיחש שמא יכתוב אלא יאמר לו השאילני ובלשון לעז שאין חילוק בין הלויני להשאילני צריך שיאמר תן לי: ‏

The problem for which to trade is prohibited on Shabbat is because this could lead to a situation in which people write counts. To write is a Shabbat Work punished by stoning. If Chachomim have not stated that there is there such a risk, it's permitted. If the payment will occur motsae Shabbat, i. e. a short time later, the fear for writing is not halachically relevant.

הגה: וכשלוה בשבת ואינו רוצה להאמינו יניח משכון אצלו אבל לא יאמר לו הילך משכון דהוי כעובדא דחול (בית יוסף בשם אורחות חיים). כשם שאין לוין בשבת כך אין פורעין בשבת (ריב"ש סימן קנ"ו):

The pledge which is necessary in case of suspicious seller should be something as your Talit for not to look commercial transaction.

Magen Avraham:

ומשמע בגמרא דוקא יין ושמן ודבר שהוא צורך שבת אבל דבר שאינו צורך שבת אסור להניח משכון

All this is allowed for the needs of the Shabbat e. g. wine, oil {coffee}.

Conclusion lahalacha velo le maasse mutar. You can.

I assume that the place is a reshut hayachid, and I remember that hotel is not chatser hashutafim.

  • "If there is no such a risk, it's permitted." That's not true. If it was, I can go buy things in an ordinary store that doesn't make private accounts, as there's no risk of writing anything down. The source you brought about not using the loshon haliveni is clearly not talking about commerce, but about borrowing something. – user613 Oct 21 '16 at 13:30
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    The risk I mean is a din of risk, it was not clear? Your case falls on the din of risk. If it was not clear I will write a new edit – kouty Oct 21 '16 at 14:16
  • @user613 see edit – kouty Oct 21 '16 at 14:18
  • "If Chachomim have not stated that there is there such a risk, it's permitted. If the payment will occur motsae Shabbat, i. e. a short time later, the fear for writing is not halachically relevant." Source? – user613 Oct 21 '16 at 15:51
  • @uset613mishna&shulchsn aruch – kouty Oct 22 '16 at 15:48

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