Hotel Ownership

Question

I’m thinking of buying a hotel that will be open on Shabbat and Jewish Holidays. What issues regarding Jewish Law must be dealt with?

, 2 months

Answers

  1. First of all, I wish you success in your endeavor.

    There are three main issues I can think of at the moment, but more may come up as you go along.

    Regarding Shabbat, there are certain conditions that need to be fulfilled to allow a Jew to “own” a business that operates on Shabbat. The owner of the business must make a partnership between himself and a non-Jew (preferably someone he knows and trusts), stating that the non-Jew is to become a partner in the business. This partnership contract must be written in consultation with an Orthodox Rabbi, who should write the contract according to Jewish law. The partnership does not need to involve giving the non-Jew a percentage of the profits. If he is actually involved in the running of the business he can just receive a standard wage for the hours that he is working in the business and all other profits will belong to the Jewish owner. Another condition is that the name of the Jewish owner is not an integral part of business name.

    A second issue that comes to mind is the use of technological sensors. All modern technological sensors are problematic on Shabbat and Holidays. For instance, sensors that activate the A/C when a person enters the room, puts on the lights when entering a room, electronic flushes in toilets and electronic keys etc. For a Jew to use the hotel room, these sensors and electronic devices must be deactivated before Shabbat, and a non-electronic key provided to the guest.

    A third issue is where to place mezuzahs. According to most authorities all rooms in the hotel, except for bathrooms and rooms smaller than six square feet, need a mezuzah.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team