Benefiting from a Violation of Shabbat

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If a Jew does a melacha on Shabbat there is a rabbinic prohibition to benefit from his actions. Some of the factors as to the ramifications of that prohibition are whether it was done intentionally, whether the violation of Shabbat was Biblical, and for whom it was done. Also, if a non-Jew does a melacha there is a prohibition to benefit from his actions. That is covered on the Amirah Lenochri page.

A Non-Observant Jew

  1. If a non-observant Jew does a melacha intentionally neither him or any other Jew may benefit from his actions on Shabbat. Others may benefit from it immediately after Shabbat but he can't benefit from it forever.[1]
  2. It is permitted to benefit from an action of a non-observant Jew on Shabbat if one doesn't get a direct benefit from the melacha.[2]
    1. If a non-observant Jew turned on a light in the room one doesn't have to leave the room but one shouldn't read by that light if one couldn't read beforehand.[3]
    2. One doesn't have to leave one's house in order not to benefit from a violation of Shabbat.[4]
    3. If it was possible to read and then a Jew turned on the lights so it is easier to read it is permitted to benefit from the light.[5]
    4. If someone mistakenly separated in a forbidden way on Shabbat (Borer) it is permitted to benefit from it since it could have been done in a permitted fashion.[6]
    5. An item that was transported through a public domain in a car or train by a Jew one can benefit from it if the melacha was done by mistake.[7]
  3. One can buy a product of a Jewish company even if it violates Shabbat since the majority of its products are made during the week and if one doesn't know when the products one is buying were made one can rely on majority. Someone who is strict will be blessed.[8]

Something that is a Dispute

  1. A Jew who does something which is a dispute whether it is permitted on Shabbat one may benefit from his actions on Shabbat.[9]
  2. If a person mistakenly heated up food on a blech without the conditions of hachzara, such as if they took food from the refrigerator Shabbat morning and put it on the blech, the food is permitted since it is a dispute if that's permitted initially.[10]

Reheating Food

  1. After the fact if a person asked a non-Jew to reheat food for him the food is permitted.[11]


  1. Shulchan Aruch OC 318:1
  2. Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 1:34:7 introduction based on Shulchan Aruch OC 257:1
  3. Hilchot Sava (Rav Zecharya Ben Shlomo 5748 p. 179)
  4. Igrot Moshe OC 1:123 writes that if a Jew turned on the heat in the apartment building in violation of Shabbat one doesn't have to leave one's apartment. His reasoning is that since benefiting from a violation of Shabbat is only rabbinic and one can't avoid it it is permitted to benefit from if there's a need that would prevent a person from avoiding it (see Pesachim 26a with Rashi s.v. ein and Tosfot s.v. vtisbara). Hilchot Sava (Rav Zecharya Ben Shlomo 5748 p. 179) agrees.
  5. Orot Hahalacha 42:11
  6. Orot Hahalacha 42:12
  7. Orot Hahalacha 42:8, Halacha Brurah (Afiya Ubishul Otzrot Yosef 2)
  8. Yalkut Yosef Haanah Memaaseh Shabbat fnt. 89-91 writes that if the majority of the products of the company are made during the week and one is buying and doesn't know when it was produced one can rely on majority. Even though some say that it isn't considered nullified if at one point a Jew, even a non-frum one, was aware of the difference between the products made on Shabbat and those that weren't (Chazon Ish YD 37:13), Rav Ovadia (Yabia Omer YD 6:24) is lenient.
  9. Mishna Brurah 318:2, Leviat Chen n. 43. Rav Ovadia Yosef in Meor Lyisrael Shabbat 38a asks why we're not strict based on the principle that dvar sheyesh lo matirin is forbidden whenever there is a safek derabbanan. He answers that the Pri Chadash 497:3 writes that we're only strict about a doubt and not if there's dispute in the poskim. Also, he cited the Mordechai beitzah ch. 3 that if there's no chazaka of isur we can be lenient about a doubt. Lastly he cited Zayit Ranan 2:5 who said that there's no dvar sheyesh lo matirin for the penalty of maaseh Shabbat which isn't as serious a regular rabbinic prohibition.
  10. Orchot Shabbat v. 3 p. 48 25:52:4, Torat Dovid 3:295
  11. Rama 253:1, Mishna Brurah 253:34. Biur Halacha 253:5 s.v. lehachem writes that in a case of need some even allow this initially. Chazon Ish 37:21 s.v. vnireh forbids.