Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Arisus, S'chirus, Kablanus (Oh my!)

I have tried once again to understand how it works to permissibly partner with a goy to make money with your stuff on Shabbos.  I am writing it down quickly before that understanding all leaks out of my brain (again).  (I feel like Bones in the Star Trek episode "Spock's Brain", who went from "Even a child could do it!" to "It's impossible!" in 10 short minutes.  If you don't know what I am talking about... oh well.)  All of this is taken from the Mishna Brura's hakdama to siman 243; see there for elucidation and, of course, lots more details.

I find there are two main sources of confusion in that siman.  First, the word "s'chirus" (renting/leasing/etc) sometimes means the topic in general of partnering with a goy to use your stuff on Shabbos to make money, and sometimes means on the the three ways in which that can happen.  Second, there are two external issues (maris ayin and havla'a) that implicitly affect the halacha l'ma'aseh, but aren't stated explicitly.  We also don't really have good English words that capture all the shades of meaning, so I am going to use the terms Chazal did; it's better to use an unfamiliar word that is clear than a familiar words that comes with all sorts of confusing baggage.

One of those external issues comes up right away.  For any partnering to be permissible, some of the partnering must be done outside of Shabbos.  That way the money made on Shabbos is said to be "nivla" (absorbed/swallowed) into the money made during the week.  How and why that works is a whole topic in and of itself; maybe we'll take that up later.  For now it is just a requirement; part of the EULA.

What are the three ways of partnering?  The first way just uses the money made to create the partnership; the profit is split.  The split doesn't have to be 50:50, just that no external money is involved and the profit is shared.  That is called "arisus" and is permissible because the goy is working for his own benefit.  The other two ways involve a fixed sum of external money that has nothing to do with the profits.  When that fee goes to the Jew it is called "s'chirus".  Basically the goy is paying the Jew a fee in consideration of which the goy is allowed to use the Jew's stuff.  The goy is clearly working for himself in that case and it is permitted.  When that fee goes to the goy it is called "kablanus".  Here the goy doesn't make more money if he works harder (the fee is fixed), so he is considered and agent of the Jew and so is forbidden.

Arrangements of arisus (and even sometimes s'chirus) may be forbidden in certain situations because of maris ayin (I told you it would play a factor).  That is, if the arrangement looks like kablanus, then that particular arrangement often becomes forbidden because onlookers will suspect that the goy is acting as an agent of the Jew and not for his own benefit.

You've seen the pictures of the earth taken from the moon?  You can tell the earth has seas, land masses, and clouds; not much more.  That's about the level of detail here.  At least now when you go learn siman 243 you'll have a basic idea of the players.  Enjoy!


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Sometimes a Food Loses Its Identity When It Loses Its Bracha; Sometimes It Doesn't

Let's start with a question: Why are We Allowed to Drink Coffee and Whiskey Made by Non-Jews?  Before you ask,"Why would I think that I shouldn't be able to drink whiskey and coffee made by non-Jews?", I'll tell you. Simple, we all know that Chazal made a decree -- known as בישול עכו''ם/bishul akim -- that particular foods cooked by non-Jews are forbidden.  There are basically two criteria that determines if a dish falls into this category:
Is not consumed raw.Fit for a royal banquet. Cooked carrots, therefore, are not a problem since they can be eaten raw (I actually prefer them that way).  Baked beans are find because the are not prestigious enough.  (For great synopsis of the laws, see the article on the Star-K site, FOOD FIT FOR A KING, by Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, shlita.)  There are lots of cool questions and details (baked potatoes are prestigious, does that make even potato chips and issue?) which are for another time.  Clearly, though, both coffee an…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…