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May a Non-Jew Carry from the Synagogue on Shabbat to a House for a Seuda?

A question arose regarding instructing a non-Jew to carry on Shabbat. The custom is to have a special Seudah on the Shabbat Hatan. All of the rabbis and guests come to the house of the family for the meal and sing the special Pizmonim in honor of the Hatan. What is the Halacha if the father of the Hatan forgot to bring the Pizmonim booklets to his home before Shabbat? Most of the guests don’t know the songs by heart, and a Seudat Hatan without the Pizmonim significantly detracts from the Simcha.

The problem is that the books are in the synagogue, and the route to the house transverses a major thoroughfare, which most probably constitutes a Reshut HaRabim (public domain). Thus, carrying the booklets would seem to be an Issur D’oraita (Torah prohibition). Even though using a non-Jew to carry reduces the prohibition to a D’rabanan (rabbinic) level, the Halacha does not permit this, even for the sake of a Misva.

Nevertheless, upon closer analysis, it is possible that the route via the Reshut HaRabim is not an Issur D’oraita, after all. In this case, the non-Jew would begin in a Reshut HaYahid (private domain), the synagogue, and end in a Reshut HaYahid, the house of the Hatan. He is only passing through the Reshut HaRabim, without stopping. Although Tosafot (Shabbat 96) hold that even this is an Issur D’oraita, the Rashba, Ritva and Ran argue and hold that passing through a Reshut HaRabim, without stopping, is only a D’rabanan. The Taz and Hazon Ish hold this to be Halacha.

Accordingly, instructing the non-Jew to carry the books would constitute a lenient case of Shevut D’shvut (double rabbinic prohibition). First, instructing the non-Jew is always D’rabanan; second the act he is being asked to do is also only a rabbinic violation. Therefore, in a case of L’sorech Misva, especially for the sake of a Hatan, the Halacha is lenient.

Moreover, the status of our busy streets, such as Ocean Parkway, as Reshut HaRabim is questionable. Maran, in one place, implies that today such a thoroughfare does not even exist. However, even if it is a Reshut HaRabim, the non-Jew may bring the books, based on the Taz and Hazon Ish, as long as he is instructed not to stop in the Reshut HaRabim. In the event he does stop, it is not a problem, since he did it of his own accord. Also, effort should be made to explain to questioning bystanders the reason for this leniency.


It is permissible to instruct a non-Jew on Shabbat to bring books from one private domain to another, via a public domain, for the sake of a Misva and to honor a Hatan.