Suppose someone has a coupon for a free [let's say, iced coffee] from a store. What are the problems with getting such an item from the store, on Shabbos (or Yom Tov)?

To boil it down to more general problems, let's assume:

  • there's no problem of carrying (e.g. item will be consumed in the store, or there's an eiruv)
  • the store is owned by gentiles
  • the employee who will be servicing is a gentile
  • "item will be consumed in the store, or there's an eiruv" - If the former how did you get the coupon there? Just nitpicking.
    – WAF
    Jun 10, 2011 at 21:46
  • 1
    @WAF good point: If there's no eiruv, let's assume there's no need for a coupon...
    – yydl
    Jun 10, 2011 at 22:14
  • I think R Akiva Eiger debates somewhere if you can acquire something from hefker on Shabbat. That could be related if anyone can find it.
    – Double AA
    Jan 19, 2012 at 20:14

3 Answers 3


Is the coupon a form of money (which would be muktzah)?
Do we worry about marit ayin?
Did the preparation of the food involve the server doing melacha on the Jew's behalf?


The reason you can't buy things on Yom tov/ Shabbat is because of the fear of writing a receipt. If you wait in line for the "free gift" and are then asked to sign something, or give your name then you will be too embarrassed to refuse the free drink. Asking the non-Jew to write your name for you, so that you can get the drink, isn't allowed either.

I don't see how the drink being "free" removes the fence of doing business on Shabbat.

I'm sure there are other issues with just being in that store on Shabbat/ Yom Tov regardless of if you are purchasing anything or not.

  • Can you elaborate on some of those "other issues"? Thanks
    – yydl
    Jun 12, 2011 at 2:03
  • 1
    1. It's not in the spirit of Shabbat / YomTov 2. It gives the impression that Jews are just looking for free things, and will break laws / find loopholes for trivial cheap stuff. I.e., it denigrates the laws in general. 3. There is Marit Ayin as Monica wrote bellow. 4. Regardless of if they are giving out free things, it takes away from the holiness of the day. I.e. There are better places you could be spending your time
    – avi
    Jun 12, 2011 at 6:46

At the risk of giving a duplicate answer:

1-Maris ayin

2-The coupon is money (as per something I heard from Rabbi Yisroel Belsky personally)

3-Asking for the coffee is amira l'akum

4-Lo plug, once business was forbidden, we don't make any transactions, even where no money is involved.

  • Welcome to Judaism.SE, and thanks very much for contributing these ideas, and particularly the personal transmission from R' Belsky. Could you possibly expand a bit on what he said?
    – Isaac Moses
    Jun 13, 2011 at 13:59
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    One Shavuos I took the bus to yeshiva and after I went to ask Rabbi Belsky if I could carry my metrocard home by using it as a bookmark in my machzor. (I was actually going to use it to mark the place for kiddush, so it was a real use.) He told me that the card is shava kessef and is muktza just machmas gufo so I couldn't. I asked him if that applies to coupons and he said "same din."
    – Yitzchak
    Jun 14, 2011 at 3:23

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