Saturday, December 3, 2011

A housekeeper washing dishes on Shabbos


May my non-Jewish housekeeper wash my dishes on Shabbos, beyond those needed for that day?

One may ask a non-Jew to wash the dishes without violating a melachah of Shabbos [for example, without a sponge and without heating water]. The only prohibition against a Jew doing the washing himself would be that of undue strain on Shabbos, and one may ask a non-Jew to engage in strenuous activity which does not involve prohibited melachah.

Permitting a non-Jew to wash in a way which violates a melachah of Shabbos – heating water on Shabbat, for example - is problematic. We are concerned for marit ayin – onlookers may not realize that the non-Jew is doing this on his own. This is subject to debate among recent halachic authorities.

(Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 307:21; Tzemach Tzedek Orach Chaim 32-33; Mishneh Berurah 244:30; Shemirat Shabbat k'Hilchatah 30:31-32; Teshuvos v'Hanhagos 1:Orach Chaim 223)

Have a great day,

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