Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried
Chapter 90 : Laws Concerning Doing Your Needs Where No Melachah is Involved Melachah Done Through a Non-Jew
Some things are forbidden [to do] on Shabbos, although they are [in no way] similar to a melachah, nor [is there a chance] that they will cause a melachah. Then, why were they forbidden? Because it is said "If you will refrain from walking on Shabbos [or from] doing your needs on My holy day," and [the verse goes on to] say: "and you will honor it [the day] by not doing your own needs [literally: "your ways"], or from pursuing your needs, or from speaking anything. From the words: "And you will honor it by not doing your own ways," our Sages, of blessed memory, inferred that your walking on Shabbos [should be different] from the weekdays. Therefore, it is forbidden to run on Shabbos. However, for the purpose of a mitzvah it is permitted to run. ([This is inferred] because it states "your ways"; which implies that your own ways [or needs] are prohibited, but the needs of Heaven are permitted) and for them it is your duty to run.
And from the expression: "From pursuing your needs" our Sages, of blessed memory, inferred that your own needs are [sometimes] prohibited, even if no melachah is required. For instance, if you take stock of your belongings to see what their needs might be for tomorrow, this, too, is forbidden. Similarly, it is forbidden to stroll in the city for the purpose of finding a horse, or a ship, or a [transport] coach, to hire after Shabbos, if it is obvious that you are walking for this purpose.? However, [to walk] for the purpose of guarding your own or your friends' possessions, is permitted.
It is forbidden "to darken near the techum," that is, to walk on Shabbos to the end of the techum or less, and to remain there until dark, in order to complete your journey sooner by traveling from there onward. Since you will travel from there onward at the close of Shabbos, it is obvious that your main reason for walking there was for this purpose. [This is forbidden] only when you "darken" there in order to go and do something that cannot, under any circumstance, be done on Shabbos; for example, to hire workers, or to pluck fruit, or to bring back fruit that are muktzeh, since there is no way to permit doing these things on Shabbos. But, you may "darken on the techum" in order to bring back your animal, since, had there been houses until there within seventy amos of each other, you would have been permitted to bring them back on Shabbos. Similarly it is permitted to bring back fruit [that was already] plucked which is not muktzeh, since, had there been partitions surrounding your entire route, it would have been permitted even on Shabbos. [This applies to] any similar situation. Similarly, you may walk within the techum on Shabbos, to a garden, to pluck fruit there after the close of Shabbos, since it is not obvious that you walked for this purpose, but, rather, people will say that you went for a stroll, or to search for a lost animal, and once, having been there, you decided to remain until nightfall in order to pluck your fruit.
From the expression "From speaking anything" our Sages, of blessed memory, inferred that your manner of speaking during Shabbos should not be the same as during the week. Therefore, it is forbidden to say: "I will do a certain thing tomorrow" or, "I will buy a particular item tomorrow. It is forbidden only regarding things that are impossible to do today in any manner. However, something that had any possibility of being done today [Shabbos], even if at this moment this possibility no longer exists, is permitted (as I wrote in paragraph 3). Therefore, you may say: "I will go there tomorrow" provided you do not express yourself in a way that implies that you will travel by car; also, do not discuss it excessively. Even excessive idle-talk is forbidden. It is forbidden to relate anything that causes pain (or sadness) on Shabbos. It is forbidden to make verbal business calculations on Shabbos, whether they are calculations for future transactions, or calculations concerning past transactions which are still relevant [at present]. Therefore it is forbidden to say: "I have spent such an amount for workers' salaries on that building," and you still owe them a certain amount of wages for which you must know the calculation. However, calculations. that have no relevancy, you may calculate, provided you do not do so excessively, because you may not overindulge in idle talk on Shabbos.
From the expression "Your needs" our Sages, of blessed memory, learned that only the needs of man are forbidden, but [his] spiritual needs are permitted. Therefore, you may "darken near the techum" in order to fulfill a mitzvah. Similarly, you may oversee communal affairs on Shabbos — for instance, to visit the authorities or ministries, to intercede for the people, because communal needs are equivalent to spiritual needs. Similarly, you may speak with a teacher regarding your child, [asking him] if he will accept him as a [Torah] student or even [to teach him] a trade, which is also a mitzvah, for if he will have no trade with which to support himself he will [ultimately] resort to robbery. But it is forbidden to actually hire a teacher on Shabbos, because hiring is an unqualified prohibition d'rabanan and is not permitted even for the sake of a mitzvah. Only that which is forbidden based on [the verse] "mimtzo cheftzecha vedabeir davar" is permitted for the sake of a mitzvah. It is permitted to announce [the finding] of a lost object because returning a lost object is a mitzvah.
From the expression "And speaking words" our Sages, of blessed memory, learned that only speaking [of prohibited subjects] is forbidden but thinking [about them] is permitted. Therefore, thinking about business affairs is permitted. Nevertheless, for the sake of the mitzvah of Oneg Shabbos it is a mitzvah not to think about business at all, and you should view it as if all your work has been completed. And this is [the intent of what is] written:" "Six days will you labor and do all your work." But man cannot complete all his work in the course of one week! Thus, [we deduce] that man should consider every Shabbos as if his work is concluded. You cannot experience a greater pleasure. Certainly, you should not think about anything that causes you concern or anxiety.
You may say to a worker: "Do you think you can join me this evening?" though he thereby understands that you intend to hire him for work that evening, because only a direct proposal is forbidden. However, you may not say to him: "Be prepared this evening," because that is comparable to saying explicitly that you wish to hire him.
If you hire a worker to safeguard something for you, the worker is forbidden to receive wages specifically for Shabbos. But, if he was hired by the week or month, he may include his Shabbos wages with his weekday wages.
It is forbidden to give your friend a gift unless he has a need for it on Shabbos. Similarly, it is forbidden to give collateral to your friend, unless it is required to fulfill a mitzvah or for Shabbos purposes. [However,] do not say: "Here is your collateral," but simply give it to him without comment.
Common documents such as promissory notes, bills, or letters of greeting are forbidden to be glanced at even without articulating [their contents]. Though you only think of their contents it is nevertheless forbidden, for the Sages permitted thinking of business, etc. only when it is not obvious that you are thinking of forbidden subjects. But, in this case, where it is obvious to all that you are thinking of prohibited subjects, it is in the category of the prohibition "mimtzo cheftzecho." If you receive a letter and do not know wliat is written in it, you are permitted to look at it because it may contain something of vital personal need.'" But, the letter should not be read aloud. If you know that the letter relates only to business matters, it is forbidden even to look at it. It is also forbidden to handle it because it is muktzeh.
If a wall or tablet contains drawings or portraits which are captioned: "This is a picture of such" or "this is a portrait of such," it is forbidden to read this caption on Shabbos. Even to look at it without reading is forbidden. Similarly, books about wars, and history books dealing with worldly kingdoms [and governments], as well as mundane parables and anecdotes such as the Book of Emanuel, and certainly love stories, are forbidden to be read on Shabbos. Even to look at them, without uttering words [is forbidden]. Even during the weekdays it is forbidden because [of the prohibition against joining] frivolous company. [This is true] even if they are written in Hebrew." Love stories have an additional prohibition, because they entice the :yetzer hora." However, those history books from which ethical lessons and fear of God [can be learned], such as the Book of Josephus and the like, even if written in the vernacular, may be read even on Shabbos. Nevertheless, it is not proper to read too much of them.
It is forbidden to measure anything on Shabbos if there is a need for it, unless it is essential for the fulfillment of a mitzvah.
Where a [substantial] loss is involved, it is permitted to discuss your business with a Jew or a non-Jew.
You may not tell a non-Jew anything that is forbidden for a Jew to do, because telling a non-Jew is a shvuss. Even to indirectly suggest that he do it, is forbidden. It is also forbidden to tell him before Shabbos to do it on Shabbos. Similarly, it is forbidden to tell a non-Jew on Shabbos to do it after Shabbos. [However,] this is not due to a shvuss, since the melachah is to be done at a time when it is permitted, but, rather, it is forbidden because of "mimtzo cheftzecha" and is therefore permitted for the sake of a mitzvah.
Even if the non-Jew came on his own to do any melachah for you, you must protest. Therefore, if a non-Jew wishes to remove the charred tips from your candles so that they burn better, it is necessary to protest.
If you see that you are threatened with a loss; for example, if your wine barrel has weakened or anything similar, you may send for a non-Jew, notwithstanding that you know that the non-Jew is certain to repair it, even by doing an absolute melachah. This is permitted provided that you are careful not to [even] indirectly suggest any instruction concerning repairing [the barrel]. However, you may state in his presence, "Whoever prevents this loss will not lose his reward." The [above method] should not be done unless there is potential for substantial loss.
Anything that is not truly a melachah and is only prohibited as a shvuss, if it is needed to fulfill a mitzvah, or for someone who is even slightly ill, you may tell a non-Jew to do it. As a result, it became common practice to send a non-Jew on Shabbos to bring beer or other Shabbos needs, even where no eiruv has been established. However, this is permitted only where there is great necessity [such as when] there is nothing [else] to drink, but, just for the sake of pleasure this should not be permitted. It is forbidden to tell a non-Jew to bring [something] from outside the techum. And even that which he has already brought is forbidden to be used on Shabbos. Some [poskim] say that this applies also where you face a loss; [therefore] carrying [in] merchandise that is being ruined by rain, is permitted through a non-Jew You may rely on this opinion where a substantial loss is involved.
When it is cold you may tell a non-Jew to light the oven, because everyone [is considered] ill in regard to cold. However, when it is not essential, this should not be done. It is also forbidden to permit a non-Jew to light the oven on Shabbos, during the afternoon, so that it will be warm at night.
It is forbidden to send a non-Jew out of the techum to summon the relatives of the deceased, or someone to eulogize him.
[If] a non-Jew delivers grain to a Jew as payment of a debt and the Jew gives him the key to his warehouse, the non-Jew is permitted to measure and count there, because the non-Jew is occupied with his own work, since the grain is not considered the Jew's until after the measuring [is completed]." The Jew is allowed to stand there to be certain that he is not cheated, provided he does not discuss anything dealing with their business. However, if they [the non-Jews] delivered the Jew's own grain, he is forbidden to tell them to unload it from the wagons into his warehouse. Even should they want to unload it on their initiative, he must express his disapproval to them.
When a non-Jew manufactures cheese from his own milk on Shabbos, a Jew is permitted to observe the milking and the cheese-making, in order that it be "Kosher" so that he can buy it after Shabbos. Even though the non-Jew's intention is for the purpose of selling it to the Jew, [nevertheless,] it is permitted, since the cheese is still the non-Jew's who makes it for his own benefit. The Jew is even permitted to tell him to make [the cheese] even on Shabbos, because it is permitted to say to a non-Jew, "Do your work," even where the Jew benefits from it.
A non-Jew who bought goods from a Jew and came on Shabbos to take delivery, if possible, he should be prevented [from doing so].
One whose yahrzeit falls on Shabbos, and he forgot to light a memorial candle, may ask a non-Jew, at twilight, to light it, but not on Shabbos.