Sunday, December 7, 2014

Help with heat on Shabbos


The weather became very cold on Shabbos; may I ask a non-Jew to turn on my heat?

There are two potential Shabbat prohibitions in this situation:
·         One may not ask a non-Jew to perform tasks which are prohibited for Jews. Hinting is also not allowed.
·         One may not benefit from prohibited tasks performed by non-Jews for the exclusive benefit of Jews.

On the other hand, we view exposure to great cold as equivalent to illness. Therefore, one who has no usable warm space in his home may hint to a non-Jew to turn on the heat. Ideally, the hint should not involve direct instruction, and should not describe the desired action; one should only describe his discomfort. However, where necessary one may instruct explicitly.

If small children are present, one may ask a non-Jew to turn on the heat for the children even when the cold is not great.

(Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 276:5; Mishneh Berurah 276:39; Aruch haShulchan Orach Chaim 276:3, 276:12; Igrot Moshe Orach Chaim 3:42; Shemirat Shabbat k'Hilchatah 23:24)

Have a great day,

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