Inviting a non-religious guest for Shabbos meal/prayer if he will drive


May one invite a non-religious guest for Shabbos if he will desecrate Shabbos in order to come to you?[1]

Some Poskim[2] rule it is forbidden to invite guests to one’s home for the Shabbos meal if this will cause him to desecrate Shabbos, such as to drive, in order to arrive there.[3] If, however, the home is close by and it is possible that the guest will choose to walk over rather than drive, it is permitted to invite him even though one does not know for certain whether he will arrive by foot or will drive.[4] Other Poskim[5] however rule it is permitted to invite the guest even if one knows that he will drive.[6] Nevertheless, those that are lenient are to abide by the following three conditions: 

  1. Invite him for the entire Shabbos, beginning with Mincha of Erev Shabbos so a) He can arrive before Shabbos and b) He can stay until after Shabbos.[7] A good advice is to make the meal time earlier, before Shabbos, so he can arrive beforehand.[8] [One does not have to wait for the guest to verify this invitation, but simply must let him know. He is certainly not to tell the guest that he may drive if he chooses, and is not to affirm such a question.]
  2. Let the person know that it is forbidden to drive on Shabbos.[9]
  3. Some Poskim[10] do not require the above, although rule that one must ask them not to park near your house if they do decide to come by car.


[1] See Ratz Katzevi 8/28 for a through discussion on this matter; See Hearos Ubiurim 1037/137 and 1039 p. 81; See Hiskashrus 929/15 that when the Rebbe was addressed this question by Shluchim he forwarded the person to Rav Dworkin

[2] Igros Moshe 1/99 regarding prohibition to invite to Shul; Mishneh Halachos 16/31 regarding inviting to house; Shevet Halevi 8/165-6; 8/256-2 [regarding inviting to Simcha]; Chishukei Chemed of Rav Zilbirshtram, in name of Rav Elyashiv; Rav A.L. Cohen, Rav of Beitar, in response to the authors question

[3] The reason: This is forbidden due to Lifnei Iver, or due to the prohibition of helping another do a sin [Misayeia], or due to the prohibition of Meisis. [Igros Moshe ibid; Shevet Halevi ibid; See Ratz Katzevi 28 chapter 1-2] Or due to it being a Chilul Hashem. [Shevet Halevi ibid]

[4] See Admur 347/4; M”A 347/4;  Igros Moshe ibid

[5] Rav SZ”A in Minchas Shlomo 2/4-10; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 1/358; Rav Weiss in Ratz Katzevi ibid; See response of Rav Dworkin, brought ion Hiskashrus ibid

[6] The reason:

  1. a) As Lifnei Iver only applies when the person would not be able to transgress without the help of the other person, and thus here, since the Jew would drive his car even without the invitation, it is therefore not forbidden due to Lifnei Iver. [Rav Asher Weiss based on Avoda Zara 6b; See Ratz Katzevi 28 chapter 1; See Admur 347/2-3]
  2. b) It likewise does not involve the Rabbinical prohibition of helping others due a sin, as this prohibition does not apply to a Mumar [See Shach 151/6; Rav Weiss in Ratz Katzevi 28/3] or because it only applies when one gives assistance to the actual prohibition. [Maharsham; See Rav SZ”A in Minchas Shlomo 2/90 for a similar ruling regarding renting houses to Michalilei Shabbos] or because it does not apply when done to save the person from a prohibition. [Rav Akiva Eiger Y.D. 181/6] In other words, when done for Kiruv purposes, he is not helping him do an Aveira but rather a Mitzvah. [Minchas Shlomo 1/35 regarding giving food to a non-religious person even though he may not wash or say a blessing; Teshuvos Vehanhagos ibid; Ratz Katzevi 28/4-5]
  3. c) It is permitted to desecrate Shabbos for the sake of saving a Jew from heresy. [See Admur 306/29; See Ratz Katzevi 28 chapter 4; See Shevet Halevi 6/36 that in certain cases we say “sin in order to benefit your friend”; This response was given regarding a person traveling for Shabbos for Kiruv purposes to a Yishuv that may not have a Minyan, and hence the questioner asked whether he should miss a Minyan for Kiruv purposes, and on this the Shevet Halevi answered that we learn from 306/? That one may desecrate Shabbos to help save a soul from Shemad. Thus, perhaps here too, although here one is causing his friend to stumble and transgress Shabbos, which transgresses Lifnei Iver, nevertheless this is all being done for the sake of being Mikaeiv him. However, see Shevet Halevi 8/165-6; 8/256-2 who in conclusion rules stringently regarding this question.]

[7] Rav SZ”A, brought in Rat Katzevi 28/5 in length; Directive of Rav Dworkin, brought in Hiskashrus 929/15

[8] Rav Zalman Nechmia Goldberg in letter printed in Ratz Katzevi p. 516

[9] See Igros Kodesh 14 p. 98 regarding inviting people to Hakafos if they will drive on Shabbos/Yom Tov.

[10] Teshuvos Vehanhagos ibid

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