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Weekly Shabbos Halacha Series
Halachos Series on Hilchos Shabbos

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Published by
Pirchei Shoshanim

A Project of
The Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Written by

Rabbi Dovid
Ostroff, shlita


These Halachos were shown by Rabbi Ostroff to
HaGaon HaRav Moshe Sternbuch, shlita



Questions for the Week of Eikev


               May a chazzan or shofar blower receive money for his mitzvos?

            The difference between a chazzan and a babysitter is that the chazzan is performing a mitzvah. The Beis Yosef brings a machlokes Rishonim as to whether one may receive schar Shabbos [1] for performing a mitzvah. The reason for approval is because receiving schar Shabbos is only an issur drabanan and when involving a mitzvah Chazal did not prohibit it. The reason for non-approval is because, after all, one is receiving schar Shabbos.

            What is the halacha?

            The Mechaber writes [2] that one may not receive schar Shabbos for performing a mitzvah and then adds that there is an opinion who permits it. The rule when learning the Mechaber is that , which means that when he writes the first opinion without mentioning who says it and then writes an opinion saying that there are those the halacha is in accordance with the first opinion, which would mean it is forbidden.

The Rama adds that when the chazzan is hired for the entire year there is no problem because he is paid globally for chazzanus performed during the week as well. If he only officiates on Shabbos and Yom Tov it will not help that he is hired for the entire year.

The Mishna Berura however writes [3] that the custom was to hire the chazzan for the Shabboses of the year.

As mentioned, since there is a viable solution to pay him for work done during the week, it is preferable to do so.

The same would apply to a shofar blower. Although he only blows on Rosh Hashana, nevertheless it is advisable to have him blow occasionally during Ellul and pay him globally.

It is noteworthy that even according to the lenient opinion one does not merit a sign of bracha from money received from Shabbos work (unless paid globally). [4]

            Is a doctor permitted to receive money for making a house call?

            The Mishna Berura writes [5] that a midwife may surely take schar Shabbos for answering a call on Shabbos because it is payment for the sake of saving a life. [6] A doctor and a nurse are in the same category and they may also take schar Shabbos for making a house call.

            Does a doctor see a siman bracha in pay for work done on Shabbos?

            It would seem from the Mishna Berura [7] that payment received for healing a Jew is not part of the machlokes of schar Shabbos and therefore one would see a bracha in the payment. However, Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank says that receiving payment for healing and for performing a mitzvah are on par with each other and even if one is permitted to receive schar Shabbos for healing, one will not see a siman bracha. [8]

According to Rav Chaim Brisker (mentioned in the previous sheet) it is permitted, but as mentioned it is a machlokes haposkim.

            Am I permitted to donate money on Shabbos to the shul etc?

            First we must understand the nature of the prohibitions that are involved with donating money to shul on Shabbos and then see whether they can be overcome.

The first problem would seem to be mentioning money on Shabbos.

The Mechaber says [9] that it is permitted to discuss heavenly matters on Shabbos, which includes donating money to charity. Not only may one discuss on Shabbos whether certain poor people are in need of money and how much, one may even state the amount one intends to give them. All this is under the umbrella of heavenly matters, which one may deal with on Shabbos.

            But is there not a problem of donating an item to a shul etc?

            The Mechaber writes [10] that one may not dedicate an item to the Beis Hamikdash on Shabbos, [11] and the MB explains that the issur involved is that it is similar to buying and selling. This is because dedicating () an item to the Beis Hamikdash automatically activates the transaction and the dedicated item becomes the property of the Beis Hamikdash.

            The same would apply to donating an item to a shul then, would it not?

            Yes and no.  The Magen Avraham [12] says that (according to the Beis Yosef) it is prohibited to donate a specific item to a shul on Shabbos because it is similar to dedicating an item to the Beis Hamikdash.

He continues however that the Kol Bo says that one may donate an item to shul, and the Magan Avraham explains the difference between donating to the Beis Hamikdash and to shul saying that an item belonging to the Beis Hamikdash belongs only to the Beis Hamikdash and therefore dedicating an item to hekdesh (the property of the Beis Hamikdash) involves a complete transaction, whereas an item belonging to a shul belongs to the public as well and therefore when dedicating an item to a shul one has not accomplished a complete transaction being that the donor still owns a share in the item (together with the rest of Am Yisroel).

            Which opinion is the halacha?

            The Shulchan Aruch HaRav [13] writes that people do dedicate items to shul, but he concludes that one should dedicate it before Shabbos and bring it (where there is an eiruv) to shul on Shabbos or declare on Shabbos that it has been donated to the shul. The Mishna Berura reiterates this psak. [14]

            This would not be a problem with money would it?

            This problem does not exist with money or with non-specific items, i.e one may say on Shabbos that he will dedicate a paroches to the shul because one is not dedicating a specific ready-made article. The same applies with money. One may say that one intends donating $100 to the shul because no transaction takes place and mentioning the money is not a problem, as stated, because it is for a tzedakah. [15]

[1] Pay for work done on Shabbos, as explained in the previous shiur.

[2] Simon 306:5

[3] Simon 306:24.

[4] MB 306:23.

[5] Simon 306:24.

[6] PMG MisZ 4.

[7] Who cites the Elya Raba who quotes the Kneses HaGdolah.

[8] See the SSK 28 footnote 147.

[9] Simon 306:6.

[10] Simon 339:4.

[11] The Mechaber says ( ), but I find it hard to translate that word.

[12] Simon 306:11.

[13] Simon 306:14.

[14] MB simon 306:27

[15] MB simon 306:27.



Orchos Chaim LaRosh 

, . It is interesting to note that in the second paragraph of Shemone Esre we say , Hashem heals the sick, and in the middle section of Shemone Esre we ask Hashem for refuah, what is the main difference between the berachos? Besides the obvious that the first one is praise and the second a request, there is a major difference how they are expressed. The first one is with joy and relief that one has found the best and most efficient doctor in the world, the second is with a cry please help!!

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Note:  The purpose of this series is intended solely for the clarification of the topics discussed and not to render halachic decisions. It is intended to heighten everyone's awareness of important practical questions which do arise on this topic.  One must consult with a proper halachic authority in order to receive p'sak.