Can you buy something from a large online retailer (eg Amazon), which employs non-Jews, on Friday if it has one-day shipping?

This would force someone to do the work of mailing/transporting the object on Shabbat. A Shabbat goy can do work for you without being directly asked. If you are placing the order, you are, seemingly, effectively telling them to do work for you.

  • Possible duplicate judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/3125/…
    – Orion
    Sep 9, 2018 at 13:09
  • Excellent question! Thank you for asking it here. You might want to check out our tour for more information about how the site works. Thank you for your intriguing question and I hope to see you around!
    – DonielF
    Sep 9, 2018 at 17:54
  • Your question is based on a wrong premise that someone is working for you. They work for Amazon. You're not the employer, so you did not cause anybody to work. You order it online and you don't care how they are going to do that. But employing Goyim is not a problem at all - employing Jews is a more serious one, but my comment addresses it too.
    – Al Berko
    Sep 11, 2018 at 22:10
  • 3
    It is forbidden to benefit from a forbidden action that a non-Jew did specifically on behalf of a Jew. Sep 12, 2018 at 18:57
  • @chacham but here they didn't know it was a jew. Would that make a difference? Additionally are you benefiting from this? Could they have quickly done all assur activities before shabbos, put it in a crate on Friday, and then shipped it to you (the box inside a truck/plane would especially not be carrying for you since there are other boxes with it).
    – Orion
    Oct 12, 2018 at 4:11

1 Answer 1


Halachic decisors prohibit ordering something which is guaranteed to be delivered on Shabbat in normal circumstances (see the last paragraph for exceptions).

R Doniel Neustadt explains the general principle (here)

Amirah l’akum, giving instructions to a non-Jew to do an action which would be forbidden for a Jew to do on Shabbos, is prohibited. It makes no difference whether the Jew’s command is given on Shabbos or before Shabbos. Accordingly, it should be forbidden to instruct a non-Jew to deliver an overnight package on Shabbos, since there are several prohibitions involved in delivering mail on Shabbos.

R Yehuda Shurpin at chabad.org (here) explicitly prohibits in your case

Placing a guaranteed overnight delivery on Friday to arrive on Shabbat is problematic. Unlike the previous scenario, to fulfill the terms of your order, the company needs to do work on Shabbat [...] it goes without saying that one cannot make an Instacart or Prime Now order that is set to be delivered on Shabbat, since in this scenario you are essentially asking the non-Jew to do work for you on Shabbat.

Same for R Tsvi Heber at COR (here)

Amazon consumers are advised to avoid choosing a delivery option that specifies that the product should be delivered on Shabbos or Yom Tov

Same for Yoel Lieberman at yeshiva.co (here)

So when you're requesting for the package to be delivered on Shabbat or there is no choice other than they work on Shabbat it is forbidden to do so

Same for OU Kosher

One may not place an order if the delivery will definitely take place on Shabbos. For example, one cannot send a package with UPS or FedEx on Friday and select “next day delivery”.

In exceptional cases, in case of great loss or great need (e.g., urgent medication), there is room to permit based on indirect amirah l'akum or because the non-Jew delivering the mail doesn't know he's working for a Jew. R Doniel Neustads explains these leniencies at length.

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