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Renting Hotel Rooms to non-Jews for Shabbat

The Shulhan Aruch (246:1) rules that it is permitted to rent utensils to a non-Jew on Friday, even if he will do melacha with them on Shabbat. This leniency is based on the principle "En Shvitat Kelim B’Shabbat"-a Jew is not required to ensure that his utensils desist from working on Shabbat. The accepted interpretation of this ruling is that it is permissible to rent to a non-Jew even for the day of Shabbat alone. All the more so if it was done "B'havla'ah,"-where it's done for Friday and part of Saturday night, where the Shabbat rental is encompassed within the weekday period.

One important application of this Halacha is a Jew renting hotel rooms to non-Jews for Shabbat. The issue of the non-Jew using hotel amenities, such as lights and hot water, is not a problem because "En Shvitat Kelim B’Shabbat." There is also no issue of profiting from the Shabbat, since part of Friday and Mosei Shabbat are also included in the rental term. This constitutes "Havla’ah" and would solve the problem of earning profit on Shabbat, even according to the stricter opinions.

The same principle is also the basis for permitting the rental of cars and telephones over Shabbat. Hacham David permits this even if the client is paying per mile or minute.

It is permitted to rent hotel rooms, cars or cellular phones to non-Jews on Friday.


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