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Chapter 90:17
Non-Melacha Prohibitions

17. When an activity on Shabbos does not involve the performance of a melacha (Biblically prohibited activity) and is forbidden only as "shvus" (1), it is permissible to instruct a Gentile to do it, as long as the activity is required for the performance of a mitzvah, or it involves tending to a person who is [even] slightly ill.

Accordingly, it has become customary (2) to send a Gentile to bring beer or other things necessary for Shabbos, even where there is no "eiruv" (3). This should be permitted only when one has nothing to drink, but not merely for one's general pleasure. It is forbidden to have a Gentile bring anything from beyond the "techum." (4) [If he did,] even after the fact it is forbidden to use what he brought (5).

There are opinions that allow a person to instruct a Gentile on Shabbos to carry in items that would be destroyed by the rain (6). One may rely on this opinion in cases where a substantial loss is involved.


(1) This includes a whole range of activities which are not considred "melacha" (Biblically prohibited creative activity) but which nevertheless were prohibited by the Sages either because they are similar to a particular melacha or because they might lead to the inadvertent performance of a melacha.

(2) This refers to Europe in the late 19th Century, when the "Kitzur Shulchan Aruch" was written.

(3) This is true only in an area where carrying would be a violation of a rabbinical, but not a Biblical, prohibition.

(4) The "techum" refers to the point beyond the city borders up to which one is allowed to walk on Shabbos.

(5) Only the people it was brought for are not allowed to use it. Therefore, since others may use the item, it is not considered muktzeh even for the people who may not benefit from it.

(6) This is true only if the act involves a rabbinical, not a Biblical, prohibition. For cases in which the Gentile would have to perform an act which constitutes a Biblical prohibition, see HY 90:16.

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