Parsha Encounters



Parshas Vayikra - Bichokosai:

Just One More Time

Rabbi Mordechai Eisenbach

[Don't forget to see the Halacha Encounters below!]

Parshas Bichukosai

If you will follow My decrees and observe My commandments and perform them, then I will provide your rains in their time.(26:3).

Rashi explains that the Pasuk contains three phrases that seem to be repetitious.  Their combined meaning is as follows: If you will follow My decrees by engaging in "intensive" Torah study, with the intention that such study will lead you to observe My commandments properly, and if you actually do perform them, you will merit the blessings given in the following verses.

The Gemora in Chagiga cites a conversation between Bar Hei Hei and Hillel. Bar Hei Hei asked Hillel, "What is the meaning of the Pasuk  "You will return and see the difference between  a righteous person and a wicked person, between one who serves Hashem and one who does not serve Hashem." (Malachi 3:18) It seems that the Pasuk is repeating itself. A righteous person is the same as one who serves Hashem. And a wicked person is one who does not serve Hashem. Hillel answered that one who serves Hashem and one who does not serve Hashem are both completely righteous, nevertheless, there is no comparison between one who recites his learning 100 times and one who recites his learning 101 times. Ben Hei Hei asked Hillel, "Because he failed to review his learning that one extra time he is called one who doesn't serve Hashem?"  Hillel answered, "Yes, go out and learn from the market of donkey drivers, where a journey of ten parsahs costs one zuz, but a journey of eleven parsahs costs two zuzim."  The Maharsha explains Hillel's cryptic answer as follows. People would hire the services of a donkey to transport their merchandise from one place to another. Ten parsahs was the standard distance covered by a donkey driver in one day. But if he were hired to travel eleven parsahs in one day, in which case he will have to go faster than usual, he would charge a disproportionate amount. So too, one who learned 100 times, has now learned all he needs to in order not to forget his learning.  However, the 101st time learning the same Gemora shows that one is learning for the sake of being an Oved Hashem (and will get more S'char). We at times have extra spare time to learn and we do not utilize this time to its utmost. Just remember, the harder it is to learn the more S'char one gets and is called an Oved Hashem.

Rabbi Eisenbach heads the Kollel's Zichron Aharon Mechanchim Night Chabura.

Halacha Encounters

Shabbos Earnings and Wages

Rabbi Avi Weinrib

Shabbos, our Rabbis teach us is not just a day where we desist from forbidden forms of work. The very essence of the day should be different, infused with spirituality and removed from mundane matters. Business matters should be absent from one's speech and preferably even from one's thoughts. Included in business matters forbidden on Shabbos is for one to accept money for work done on Shabbos, no matter when the hiring took place. This is referred to by the Poskim as Schar Shabbos and in this week's Halacha Encounters we will explore when and where does this prohibition apply.

The first point to clarify is whether it is only forbidden to accept Schar Shabbos or to pay for work done on Shabbos as well. The practical difference would be if one would be allowed to pay a gentile for work done on Shabbos. [To pay a Jew would be forbidden under the prohibition of Lifnei Iver.  One cannot place a stumbling block to cause another to sin. Being that it is forbidden for a Jew to accept Schar Shabbos it would likewise be prohibited to cause a Jew to accept it] The consensus of the Poskim is that it is only forbidden to accept payment but to pay for such work would be permitted. [See Shmiras Shabbos Kihilchoso 28-49 and footnote 112]

There are a number of situations where it is permitted to even accept payment for work done on Shabbos. One must be aware of them before getting involved in common situations such as babysitting, tutoring, waiting, or any other work performed on Shabbos. Additionally Schar Shabbos is not limited to work but also includes monies paid for renting a room, utensils or any other form of payment for services rendered on Shabbos.


Chazal only forbade accepting wages when the wages are exclusively for the work done on Shabbos. However, if the payment would be for weekday work as well this is considered Havloah [literally swallowed]. The Shabbos wages are swallowed together with the weekday wages.  It is not sufficient, though, to merely pay for both jobs at one time. This is not considered Havloah as the two payments are in no way connected. Havloah only applies where the original hiring was for both jobs. In addition it must be a situation where after hiring it is generally accepted that neither party will back out. When these conditions are fulfilled we see both the Shabbos and weekday work as one unit and the payment is not a Shabbos payment but a weekly or monthly payment. [See Mishna Berura 306-20 and Shmiras Shabbos Kihilchoso 28-58.] Based on this, if one would tutor on a weekly basis it would be permissible to accept wages for the week even though this would be in part for Shabbos. This would also explain how a hotel or rental agency could accept payment for a room, car, etc. even though the rental period includes Shabbos. Being that the rental begins somewhat before Shabbos and commences sometime after Shabbos, then the payment is not a Shabbos payment but a payment for the unit of days which includes both weekday and Shabbos.


An extension of Havloah would be if one incurs expenses for the work done on Shabbos. If this were the case then the payment is not just for the work but rather for the work performed and the expenses incurred. This is based upon the Noda B'Yehuda [Tinyan, 26] who permits a Mikvah to accept money for Shabbos services based on this rationale. Being that the Mikvah incurs expenses, [heating the water, electricity, etc.] when one pays he is paying a lump sum to cover the expenses and the use of the mikvah.


There are those who permit Schar Shabbos when the work performed is for a Mitzvah. For example, to accept payment for being a Chazan or the one who blows Shofar on Rosh Hashanah would be permissible. The Shulchan Aruch [306] brings two opinions regarding this practice.  However, even according to the opinion which permits this, he tells us that the person will not see Siman Beracha [literally a sign of blessing] from the money. This would mean that even if he thinks he has profited from the money he will suffer a loss somewhere else. However, if it is necessary to prepare during the week he can then be paid B'Havloah. However R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ZT"L [Shmiras Shabbos2 and footnote 145] raises a very important point. Havloah would only work if the weekday work would normally be paid for. However to hire a Chazan for Rosh Hashanah and a weekday Tefillah would not be a valid form of Havloah. Since no one pays a Chazan for a normal weekday Tefillah the payment cannot be considered to be going on both. However the time put in for preparation is part of what one gets paid for and this can be considered Havloah.


One can accept a present for work done on Shabbos since it is not wages. However one cannot do a job which no one would do without payment and consider the wages as only a present. Only for a job where it is accepted to be done without payment can a present be given and accepted. [See Shut Avnei Yishpa Volume 1 O.H. 75-5]

Rabbi Weinrib learns full-time in the Kollel.

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