DailyHalacha.com for Mobile Devices Now Available

Select Halacha by date:

Or by subject:

Or by keyword:
Search titles and keywords only
Search All    

Weekly Perasha Insights
Shabbat Morning Derasha on the Parasha
Register To Receive The Daily Halacha By Email / Unsubscribe
Daily Parasha Insights via Live Teleconference
Syrian Sephardic Wedding Guide
Download Special Tefilot
A Glossary Of Terms Frequently Referred To In The Daily Halachot
About The Sources Frequently Quoted In The Halachot
About Rabbi Eli Mansour
Purchase Passover Haggadah with In Depth Insights by Rabbi Eli Mansour and Rabbi David Sutton
About DailyHalacha.Com
Contact us
Useful Links
Refund/Privacy Policy
Back to Home Page

Click Here to Sponsor Daily Halacha
"Delivered to Over 6000 Registered Recipients Each Day"

(File size: 1.13 MB)
May One Ask a Non-Jew to Turn Off a Light on Shabbat?

If somebody forgot to turn off the light in his bedroom on Shabbat, and keeping the light on would cause him considerable discomfort, as he would be unable to sleep properly, is it permissible for him to ask a non-Jew to turn off the light?

Turning off a light is forbidden on Shabbat only Mi’de’rabbanan (by force of Rabbinic enactment). The Torah prohibition of extinguishing on Shabbat refers only to extinguishing a flame in order to produce a coal. If one extinguishes a fire because he does not want the fire burning, but not to produce a coal, then this constitutes a "Melacha She’enah Tzericha Le’gufah" – a Melacha performed for a different purpose. According to Rabbi Shimon – and Halacha follows his opinion – performing a "Melacha She’enah Tzericha Le’gufah" on Shabbat is forbidden only Mi’de’rabbanan, and not on the level of Torah law. Moreover, when the object that is kindled is incapable of becoming a coal, such as a metal object, then extinguishing the flame is forbidden only Mi’de’rabbanan according to all opinions. The filament inside a light bulb clearly cannot be made into a coal, and thus turning off electric lights is forbidden only Mi’de’rabbanan, and not on the level of Torah prohibition.

As such, when it comes to asking a non-Jew to turn off a light, we may employ the rule of "Shebut Di’shbut Bi’mkom Saar" – it is permissible to ask a non-Jew on Shabbat to perform an act that if forbidden Mi’derabbanan, if this is necessary to avoid discomfort. Accordingly, Hacham Ovadia Yosef rules (in Hazon Ovadia, vol. 1, p. 256; listen to audio recording for precise citation) that if a person will experience considerable discomfort if the light remains on, such as if he does not feel well – even if he is not actually sick, but experiences some pain – then one may ask a non-Jew, such as a housekeeper, to turn off the light. However, Hacham Ovadia’s son, Hacham David Yosef, writes (Amira Le’akum, vol. 1, p. 201) that it is preferable in such a case to ask the non-Jew indirectly, rather than explicitly ask that he or she turn off the light.

Summary: If a light was left on in a bedroom before Shabbat, and leaving it on would cause a person discomfort, then he may ask a non-Jew to turn it off, but he should preferably ask indirectly.


Recent Daily Halachot...
Minors Eating Before Kiddush on Friday Night; Eating During Ben Ha’shemashot
Eating and Drinking Before Shaharit, and Before Kiddush on Shabbat
Reciting Kiddush Along With Somebody Else
A Woman’s Obligation of Kiddush
During Which Shabbat Meal Should One Eat His Favorite Food?
Must the Friday Night Meal Take Place Near the Shabbat Candles?
May One Wear a Surgical Mask on Shabbat in a Public Domain?
Is it Permissible to Use a Water Filter on Shabbat?
Covering the Bread on the Table for Kiddush and Habdala
If a Candle Falls on the Table During Shabbat
May One Ask a Non-Jew to Light the Shabbat Candles After Shabbat Has Started?
Using Olive Oil and Wax Candles for the Shabbat Candle Lighting
Making a Verbal Declaration When Preparing for Shabbat
Covering the Bread on the Table on Shabbat and Yom Tob
Must One Eat Bread at Seudah Shlishit?
Page of 237
3542 Halachot found