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Thought for the Day: Benefiting from Work Done by Goy on Shabbos

A Jew, of course, is not allowed to do malacha on Shabbos; in fact, it is a capital crime for him to do so.  A goy, of course, is forbidden to refrain from all malachos on Shabbos; in fact, it is a capital crime for him to do so.  Normally, this sounds like a recipe for a beautiful symbiotic relationship.  Just hire a goy to work for you on Shabbos.  The Jew benefits, the goy benefits; what could be wrong with that?

A lot, it turns out.  Chazal were very nervous both about doing business at all on Shabbos, and also about asking (as a favor or for pay) a goy to do malacha for you on Shabbos.  The problem with doing business (masa u'matan) on Shabbos is the danger of coming to the issur d'oraisah of writing.  Regarding asking a goy to to malacha (amira l'akum), there are different reasons given in the rishonim.  I believe the main problem is that one could make Shabbos just like a week day, which would be a horrible tragedy.

Chazal therefore put ordinances in place to protect us.  There details (as usual) are not trivial, but the lynch pin is that the goy does malacha on Shabbos, it should be "a'daita d'nafshei k'avid" -- he should be working for his own self interest.  As discussed in Arisus, S'chirus, Kablanus (Oh my!), hiring a day worker (s'chirus) is not allowed, while both arisus (profit sharing) and kablanus (contract labor) are allowed by the self-interest rule.  On the face of it though, even a day worker working for his own interest; he is getting paid, after all, and the if he works harder he is more likely to get hired again.  So what takes a day laborer out of the "a'daita d'nafshei k'avid" category?

The Shulchan Aruch HaRav (as brought by the Dirshu Mishna Brura) says that an aris or kablan have their minds on doing the job, because that is what is generating their income.  Working on Shabbos to get there work done is simply a convenience for them.  Either they get paid earlier or they can take a day off to go to the Super Bowl; it's all about their time and convenience.  A day worker, on the other hand, is focussed on the day itself.  He is not getting paid for the work per se, but for the hours put worked.  So the "a'daita d'nafshei k'avid" concerns specifically how he chooses to use his time.  A kablan and aris can work or not, work today or tomorrow, and still maintain their income level.  A day worker, on the other hand, does not have that freedom.  Perhaps he could get the work done on Sunday just as well as Shabbos, but that decision has been taken away from him.  His level of involvement has been changed from when he will do the work for which he is being paid, to whether or not he will be paid at all.  Not much freedom to do what you want when you have a family to feed, and apparently not enough.


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