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Can I be a partner in a business which operates on Shabbat?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg


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If the other partners are Jewish, then it is (obviously) forbidden to be part of such a business.

If the other partners are non-Jews, then it must be arranged that all profits from Shabbat go to them. The Jew can take the profits from another day of the week instead. A contract must be written to officialize such a deal, and a qualified rabbi should be consulted for all the necessary details.

If you own a share in Macy's, can you go into a store and take a pair of pants? Obviously not because you have no involvement in the day-to-day operation of the store
There is no problem with owning shares in a company that operates on Shabbat.

Although there wasn't a stock market in Talmudic times, there was the concept of people investing money in other people's business ventures. The Talmud is replete with Halachot which regulate this practice.

If you own a share in Macy's, can you go into a store and take a pair of pants? Obviously not. This shows that you have no part in the day-to-day management of the stores. It is, therefore, not considered as if you "own" a business establishment that operates on Shabbat.

If you owned a majority of the shares of the company, that would change the Halachah.

A Jew can have shares in a non-Kosher enterprise for the same reason mentioned earlier concerning an establishment which does business on Shabbat.


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Why is it wrong to be a partner in the enterprise

Posted by: Ronny, London, United Kingdom on Dec 03, 2004

Why is it wrong to be a partner of the enterprise if you yourself don't actually work on shabbat? Of course you work on other days of the week to help make a revenue on shabbat but that is not different from a housewife preparing meals for shabbat in advance. On the other hand, if it is a small business where you have manage things yourself you don't get profits on shabbat you wouldn't need to worry about them on shabbat. But I still don't understand.

Editor's Comment

It is forbidden to profit from business done for your sake on Shabbat. There are several reasons for this rule:

1) If work is done for a Jew on Shabbat, the Jew might eventually be enticed into doing the work himself.

2) According to Jewish law, any action performed by proxy is considered as if it was done by the sender.


Shabbat » Forbidden Activities

(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Usually referring to the Babylonian edition, it is a compilation of Rabbinic law, commentary and analysis compiled over a 600 year period (200 BCE - 427 CE). Talmudic verse serves as the bedrock of all classic and modern-day Torah-Jewish literature.
Jewish Law. All halachah which is applicable today is found in the Code of Jewish Law.
Literally means "fit." Commonly used to describe foods which are permitted by Jewish dietary laws, but is also used to describe religious articles (such as a Torah scroll or Sukkah) which meet the requirements of Jewish law.
Laws governing the Jewish way of life.