A self wash car wash or a vending machine owned by a jew, can be open on Shabbat?

Question: Is it permissible to place a vending machine for the sale of sweets and drinks and the like on Shabbat evening in a non-Jew neighborhood, even though it is known that the residents of the place insert a coin into the machine on Shabbat, in order to purchase various products, or is this prohibited?

Answer: Here we have already explained that from the point of view of the mere operation of the machine on the eve of Shabbat there is certainly no prohibition at all, even though it continues its operation on Shabbat, since on Shabbat itself the Jew does not do any forbidden work. And according to this it would seem that it should also be made easier to operate a vending machine on Shabbat, even though on Shabbat non-Jew people (who are not commanded to observe Shabbat) will come to buy products from it.

However, the matter of such a machine must be discussed from the perspective of a different prohibition, that actually on Shabbat the owner of the machine does a forbidden action. Because it is explained in the Shalan Aruch in the section Hoshan Mishpat (C. R. 33), “A person’s utensils, wherever a person has permission to put them, are bought for him, and anyone who entered into his utensils bought finished property.” of a person in a place where he has permission to put his tools there, immediately becomes that object belongs to the owner of the tool, because a person’s tools are like his hands in this matter that he will buy with them what comes to him. On the street, according to the government license that gives permission to the owner of the machine, then any coin that is inserted into the machine on Shabbat, immediately belongs to the owner of the machine, and there is a state prohibition against buying and selling on Shabbat, since it is forbidden to buy and sell on Shabbat.

However, even on this side, Maran Rabbi Ovadia Yosef ztzel wrote that there should be no sense of the prohibition of buying and selling at all, since the owner of the machine does nothing, and the prohibition of buying and selling does not belong in such a thing. He only wrote that it should be made easier precisely in a way that is not known to the person who owns the machine, that if Everyone knows that it belongs to a Jew, it should not be taken lightly. And he brought up that this is what Maharam Shik wrote in Shu’at, about a Jew who participates in a tender on Shabbat evening, and the non-Jew judges often sit and decide on the Sabbath who is the winner of the tender, and sometimes the results will be that the Jew won the tender Maharam Shik wrote, in my humble opinion it seems that this is simply permissible, since all Torah crafts a person may begin on the evening of Shabbat, in such a way that a craft ends automatically (as we explained). And if so, it is the case for our discussion, that it is permissible to leave such a machine running on Shabbat, in order for the non-Jews to buy from it on the actual Shabbat day. And in any case, the person who wants to comply with the words of those who forbid this, should make a condition that he does not wish to buy what the mekhah applies, but only on Shabbat night, since a person’s tools are not bought for him at his own expense, and since it is a gift that he does not want to win the mekhah except on Shabbat night, in any case the mekhah will not apply except At the end of Shabbat, then surely there is no prohibition.

And it seems to be the same for websites that sell products on Shabbat, where it is not known who owns the site, and also the users are non-Jews, who are allowed to assume that they work on Shabbat, since the Jew does not do any forbidden work on Shabbat. (And in any case, you should not tap from here in every case, because there are many differences in this, and a wise question must be asked about each case).

To conclude: it is permissible from the principle of law to set up an automatic machine to sell products on Shabbat, in a place where most of the people are non-Jews, in such a way that it is not known to the public who owns the machine. And the one who wants to make it worse, will make a condition in the interpretation, that he does not want to win the lottery except on Shabbat evening. And the same is true for websites that sell products on Shabbat, and it is not known who owns the site, nor is there any need to operate it on Shabbat, and its surfers are non-Jews, and there is no obligation to stop its operation on Shabbat evening.

Rav Chalom Amar


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