Reader-submitted: A Very Troubling Trend

reader submitted I would like to bring to the Oilam’s attention a new trend that is very troubling and that others might not realize is 100% Chillul Shabbos.

My wife was recently browsing her friend’s Instagram page and noticed that she had posted a beautiful photo of her recent Kiddush that displayed all the wonderful foods and beautiful tables that she worked hard to set up. She looked at it a couple of times and remembered that she was at that Kiddush last Shabbos, and it seemed odd to her that her friend would have photos of the event, since of course it was on Shabbos.

So, she called her and casually asked how she got those photos from Shabbos, and her friend said that she asked the goyishe help to take them for her, so that she could later post them online, since this is what everyone does now. My wife asked her whether she knew that it was Ossur to ask a goy to take pictures for you on Shabbos, and she replied that she thought it was OK as long as she asked them to do this before Shabbos.

I am writing to educate those who may not know that Amirah L’Akum (asking a goy to do Melacha for you on Shabbos) is Ossur whether you ask them to do it on Shabbos, or whether you ask them to do it for you before Shabbos – it makes no difference. It is a Chillul Shabbos to have any goy do Melacha for you on Shabbos, regardless of when you ask them to – unless it is for a permitted purpose, i.e. for a sick or elderly person, etc.

This issue of Amira L’Akum is also very much misunderstood when it comes to having goyishe help on Shabbos, but that is for another discussion. The bottom line for those who may not know is that there is NO circumstance under which having pictures taken of your Simcha on Shabbos is permitted, even by the way, if you had not asked for pictures to be taken at all. Anything a goy does for you (whether you ask or not) is forbidden of Shabbos.

I hope by pointing this out publicly, that others will not be misled into doing the same thing. I am afraid that posting these types of pictures could start a trend of Chillul Shabbos, as many try to “:outdo” their neighbor with photos of their affairs.

Concerned Yungerman

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  1. This reminds me of my aunts story! Many years ago she made a bar mitzvah/kiddush and asked her housekeeper to take pictures with a disposable camera throughout shabbos… when they developed them, none of those pictures came out, only the ones from right before and after shabbos came out. NOW THAT IS A SIGN FROM GOD!!!

  2. Actually Instagram is full of pages that have Shabbos Kiddush and Simcha setups posted on them that were taken on Shabbos. I told my husband about this a few weeks ago and he was shocked. People think they can ask their help to do anything they want for them on Shabbos.

  3. Thanks for posting.
    I did not know this and although I’m not sure if I’d ever do it if asked I would probably have assumed its not an issue!
    Thank you!

  4. “I am writing to educate those who may not know that Amirah L’Akum (asking a goy to do Melacha for you on Shabbos) is Ossur whether you ask them to do it on Shabbos, or whether you ask them to do it for you before Shabbos – it makes no difference. It is a Chillul Shabbos to have any goy do Melacha for you on Shabbos, regardless of when you ask them to”

    While this is in fact the normative halach, I will point out that the Chavios Yair was of the opinion that there is no propblem with Amira L’Akum BEFORE shabbos, and Poskim are metzaref this to other snifim

  5. What about turning the stove on? I’ve been asked by many of my Jewish neighbors if I could do that for them on occasions when the electricity went out and back on. Just wondering.

  6. עבירה גוררת עבירה.
    It starts with social media, continues with איסורי שבת, & will continue to shell you down & down & down . . .

  7. The goyish help are doing it for themselves, to showh their own friends the elegant affairs they are waitering.
    Once the goy did it for his own benefit entirely, than a yid can post the pictures without a problem. See Mishna Berurah.

  8. 2 other chillul Shabbos that I-as a Kitchen Mashgiach bochur-have seen done hundreds of times in heimeshe Lakewood homes (a torah town which every family should know that its ossur)

    1)washing cherry tomatoes in their containers which is pure borer on Shabbos (to do borer on Shabbos a person must keep ALL 3 CONDITIONS of borer….)

    2)sweeping your floor with a straw broom on Shabbos is chillul Shabbos for the same reason its ossur to comb your hair on Shabbos, cause it might cause hair to be pulled out although its unintentional.
    a straw broom the strings get pulled out versus the large school broom kind-which they make in small-is muttar on Shabbos cause the short black strings are locked in.

    May we all learn from our mistakes & may I never see it done again in a frum torah home.

  9. Ashley – there are certain laws about things that will ruin the Sabbath – like not having any food, or air conditioning – these fall under different rules, and these rules are complex . Thank you for being kind in helping your neighbors

  10. The story was about someone asking the help to take the pictures. And there is no reasonable expectation that the wait staff has any interest in taking pictures to show their friends. This is Chillul Shabbos we are talking about!

  11. Thank you very much for this well written and important post. It was very nicely done, without too much negativity (one has to be careful when reproaching to do so in an objective manner, which you’ve done).

  12. Dov Chaim, are you sure of your information? As I understand, I can ask my non-Jewish help to do anything that can be done without transgressing Shabbos. E.g. I could wash dishes with cold water and no sponge. If she chooses to use hot water and a sponge because that is easier for her, it is permitted. Likewise, since it’s possible to sweep a floor or rinse vegetables in a permitted way, I don’t have to stop a non-Jew from doing it in a way that is easier for them.

  13. Thank you for your article,well written. Let’s hope with this information people will stop doing this,on Shabbos
    Hopefully we should enjoy our simchos.

  14. Bubbie

    I am talking about seeing YIDDEN doing these chillul Shabbos. hundreds of times through the years of working in peoples homes
    not working goyim as waiters or cleaning help

    everyone should learn the COMPLETE sefer of Hilchos Shabbos deeply with Rabbi Ribiats sefer. the sefer is over 1400 English pages (not artscroll of only 700 Hebrew & 700 English) & when I completed it the first time it only took me 2 weeks to realize I need to review it. a person cant remember 1400 pages by heart the first time he learns it.

  15. Seems to be a mistake in the article. If a goy does something for you on shabbos and you did not ask them to do it, you (often) did nothing wrong, and it is generally permitted after shabbos is over.

  16. Ask a rav! The general rule of thumb is that it’s assur for a non-jew to do something for you if it’s forbidden to do it yourself. (Usually, even if you didn’t ask him to do it.) Any heter is an exception.

  17. great post. Copncerned Yungerman is 100% right, of course. Reminnds me of the time Yankee playoff tickets were going on sale on Fri night. A friend of mine asked his father’s goyishe secratary to buy them for him. She did . He went. Yrs later we were learning and he said, oops ! I probaly wasnt allowed to do that. True that, bubalah !!

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