Can one get paid to do “work” on Shabbos, such as a Rabbi or Chazzan?
Question submitted to “Ask the Rabbi” by:
Name: Shevi Lebovics
Profession: Social Programme Coordinator
“This is not a wishy woshy question, its just a simple Halachic question:
I work in a care home and I run the programme for the elderly. Part of my job requires me to find someone to lien on Shabbos for the homes shul.
Some people do it voluntarily for free, however some ask for payment.
I faintly remember learning that there is a problem to pay someone for a job that they do on shabbos.
Is that true? If yes, is there a way to go about it?”
Rabbi Tully Bryks responds:
You are correct that Jewish law prohibits earning money on Shabbos (the Sababth). So what happens in your case when you need someone to Lein (read the Torah) or many other jobs that observant Jews accept such as a Synagogue rabbi or Chazzan (cantor)?
As long as the job requires work PRIOR to the onset of Shabbos, which all of these jobs do (preparing the Torah portion, preparing a sermon or preparing the Prayer tunes), then it can be done. The ideal would be to stipulate that you are specifically paying the person for the efforts which they exert prior to Shabbos, but are not paying them for anything they do on Shabbos itself.
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