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Is it permissible to pay someone for services rendered on Shabbat?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg


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You cannot pay someone for services rendered on Shabbat. However, you can pay for something that was done before or after the Shabbat and "included" in the fee is the work that was done on Shabbat.

In other words, when we pay a chazan, we tell him that we are actually paying him for the preparation and rehearsal which he did before Shabbat.

When we pay a Chazan, we tell him that we are paying him for the preparation and rehearsal which he did before Shabbat
When paying a babysitter after the Shabbat (because on Shabbat we anyways are not allowed to handle money), you should ask him or her to wash a dish for you, and then you are paying for that service which is done after Shabbat – and you have every right to pay $25 for a washed dish!

This rule applies even if the employee isn't Jewish.


Please email me when new comments are posted (you must be  logged in).


Paying someone for service done on Shabbat

Posted by: Amanda, Eching, Bayern, Germany on Jun 27, 2005

Isn't this hypocritical? Everyone will know that in fact you are not paying the babysitter for the one dish. So shouldn't be the choice not to have jobs done on shabbat?

Editor's Comment

The prohibition against paying for services rendered on Shabbat is of rabbinic origin. The same rabbis who imposed this prohibition also decided that it should only imply if it is expressly stated that the payment is for the labor which was performed on Shabbat. If this had been a Biblical prohibition, we wuld not be able to employ such a "trick."

Adding to what editor said

Posted by: Michael Makovi on Mar 20, 2006

According to Rabbi Ribiat in 39 Melachos, it is forbidden for one to hire a service and demand that it be done on Shabbat. For example, you cannot drop you car off at the shop on Friday afternoon and ask for it to be fixed by Sunday morning, because then the mechanic is required to fix it on Shabbat, and you are therefore requesting that a hired, for-pay service be done on Shabbat.

But you can drop you car off on Friday afternoon and ask for it to be done by Monday morning. If the mechanic did it on Shabbat, it was his choice, because he just as easily could have done it on Sunday (assuming that fixing the car was a one-day job). Therefore, even if he fixed it on Shabbat, you can pay him expressly for the service rendered.


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.
A cantor, or any individual who leads the congregation in prayer.