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Asking a Gentile on Shabbat to Bring Something From One's Car

Is it permissible on Shabbat to ask a gentile to bring for him an item that he had forgotten in his car? For example, if a person forgot his Tallit in the car, or if he purchased some food or drinks for Shabbat and forgot to bring them inside before Shabbat began, may he ask a non-Jew to go into his car and bring the items inside for him? The Jew, of course, may not open the car door or trunk because this will turn on the light in the car. But may he ask a gentile to bring the items inside for him?

Rav Shemuel Pinchasi, in his recent work on Hilchot Shabbat, rules that in an area enclosed by a proper Eruv, it is permissible to ask a gentile to bring items from one's car on Shabbat. In such a case, the Jew requests only that the gentile open the door; he does not request that the light be turned on. And although the light will inevitably be kindled as a result of the gentile's opening the door, the rule of "Pesik Reishei," which forbids performing an action on Shabbat that will inevitably result in a forbidden action, does not apply with regard to gentiles. Therefore, one may ask a gentile to open the car door even if this will cause the light to be turned on. Rav Pinchasi notes that there is even greater room for leniency on Shabbat day, when the light is not even necessary for finding the item in the car.

Summary: If a person left in his car an item that he needs for Shabbat, he may ask a gentile to bring the item from the car, even though opening the door will cause the light in the car to be turned on.


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2707 Halachot found