This is continuation of the series of shiurim, which were given by Rabbi Nachum Scheiner, Rosh Kollel of Beis Midrash Ohr Chaim, on the topic of “Rules and Regulations for Early Shabbos.”
We have thus far established that if one davened early and accepted Shabbos, one can no longer do any melacha, themselves. However, one can ask others – a non-Jew, or even a fellow Jew who was not yet mekabel Shabbos – to do melacha for him.
There are two basic reasons given for this allowance. The Taz explains that since for him it is not Shabbos, one is allowed to ask him to do melacha, even if it is being done for someone who already accepted Shabbos. However, the Magen Avraham explains with a different justification. Since this time period is not part of Shabbos per se, and it was the person’s decision to accept Shabbos, there is no prohibition to ask others to do melachah. Since the person had the option not to accept Shabbos, he can still ask others to do melacha.
To understand this properly, we must step back and look at the source for this heter. The Gemara states that, if one lives far away from his field and cannot watch the field over Shabbos, he may ask his friend to watch the fruits, for him. Although the owner cannot go there himself on Shabbos, since it is out of the Techum – the distance that one may walk on Shabbos – he is allowed to ask his friend to do so for him.
The Rashba says that we can apply the same for one who makes an early Shabbos. Although the person himself cannot do the melacha, since for him it is Shabbos, he is allowed to ask his friend to do it for him.
The Ran, however, takes issue with this ruling and asks: what is the comparison? In the aforementioned case of the fruits, there is a possibility to get there, by building small huts along the way, thereby extending the city limits. But in the case of early Shabbos, once one accepted Shabbos, he can no longer do melacha.
The Beis Yosef affirms that the comparison is, indeed, valid. In the case of the fruits, there were no huts built, but the mere possibility to build huts along the way, is sufficient. So, too, in the case of early Shabbos, one did not have to accept Shabbos.
The Acharonim ask that there is still no comparison. In the case of the fruits, there remains a remote possibility that a non-Jew can build small huts, rendering the trip permissible, but in the case of early Shabbos, it is too late.
Therefore, the Taz posits that the real reason is not because of the possibility to extend the city limits, but rather the reason that it is allowed is because one may ask another Yid to do something for him, as long as for him there is no prohibition involved. That being the case, says the Taz, the same would apply to early Shabbos: since for the person making late Shabbos, there is nothing wrong with doing melacha, he can even do it for someone who already made Shabbos. However, the Magen Avraham concurs with the Beis Yosef and maintains that the allowance is due to the fact that one did not have to accept Shabbos at this time.
The Machatzis Hashekel points out a beautiful nafka mina (practical difference), if one did not accept Shabbos on his own volition, but rather because his kehillah was mekabel Shabbos. This is based on the regulation discussed elsewhere, that when one’s kehilah is melabel Shabbos, one is required to join. Thus, it was not his voluntary decision; it was a requirement to accept Shabbos. Consequently, according to the Magen Avraham, since one had no choice in the matter, one would no longer be allowed to ask someone else to do melach for him. However, according to the Taz, the allowance is based on the fact that this is allowed for the person doing it, and it would, indeed, be allowed.
In summary, we have a fundamental machlokes as to what is the reason for allowing a fellow Jew to do melacha for someone who was mekabel Shabbos. According to the Magen Avraham, it is because he did not have to accept Shabbos at this time and according to the Taz it is because the one doing the melacha has no issur.
By Rabbi Nachum Scheiner
Rabbi Nachum Scheiner of Bais Medrash Ohr Chaim has been raising the bar of Torah learning with great success throughout the Monsey community. Rabbi Scheiner heads the Kollel Boker, the Evening Kollel, the Sunday morning Halacha Chabura, Yeshivas Bein Hazmanim, Yarchei Kallahs on legal Holidays, and the Friday morning Shovavim Learning.