Is a Headcount Permitted?

Question

I just took a job giving tours of my hometown to tourists. I am supposed to start next week. One of my duties is to take periodic head counts to make sure no one is missing. My boss said it is necessary for safety. But Jewish law as I understand prohibits counting people by head. How do I deal with this?

2 months

Answers

  1. Firstly, please accept my blessing that you prosper in your new job!

    If the people you are guiding are not Jewish there is no problem with counting them directly. If they are Jewish (or if there are Jews and non-Jews together), then you should count them in an “indirect” way. For example, you could use letters of the alphabet instead of numbers.

    Important note: If there is even the slightest concern that someone may be missing, which would constitute a possible danger, it would be permissible to count the whole group as one normally counts people.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team