Opening a Business on Shabbos

Question

Hi. How can a religious jew have an online business which has customer service available on Shabbos?

From what I’ve read online, one can start the company together with a non-jewish partner who will take an eighth of the profits, but it seems that one must be careful that it should be a ‘real partnership’ – not sure what that means. Does this include decision-making?

What if I outsource the basic level of customer service? Would that work?

Thanks for any pointers on this.

 

2 months

Answers

  1. As you write, there are certain conditions that need to be fulfilled to allow a Jew to “own” a business that operates on Shabbos. The owner of the business must go to an Orthodox Rabbi and ask him to write up a contract between himself and a non-Jew (preferably someone he knows and trusts), stating that he is to become a partner in the business. The partnership does not need to involve giving him 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 the business’ name.

    In any event, it is important that the owner of the business discuss his options with a Rabbi, as there might be other issues that will need to be sorted out.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team