Question:

If a picture was taken of you on Shabbat by a non-jew and he sent it to you afterwards are you allowed to benefit from this picture (e.g. print it, view it, etc.) or are you required to delete it if:
– You assisted him in taking the picture (e.g. posed or waved)
– You did not assist him in taking the picture (e.g. unaware that he took it)

Answer:

If you didn’t assist him, and he didn’t take the picture because you wanted it, then it is permitted because the gentile did it on his own. However you assisted him in taking the picture, or if it was done for you, then it will be problematic.

The reason is because chazal forbade us from benefiting from the work done by a gentile for a Jew on shabbos in order to discourage us from asking them to do work for us on shabbos. In order to ensure that we wouldn’t ask them to do melacha for us, they said that the work done by a gentile is forbidden “bkidei sheyasu”, until the time that it would take for the gentile to do this after shabbos had we not asked him. Therefore if the work took the gentile an hour to do, we may not benefit from the work until an hour after shabbos ends. The poskim however say that when the situation is such that it can not be repeated after shabbos, (such as gentile that filmed a sports event for a Jew) that it will never be permitted because the event was a one-time occurrence, and it can’t be repeated after shabbos. The poskim also say, that by the same rationale, if a gentile filmed a “shabbos scene”, which is something that can’t be filmed during the week, that it would have a similar halacha, and that we may not benefit from it.

Sources:

Orchos Shabbos 25-134, Megillas Sefer ( Shabbos) 29-2, R’ Y. Cahen, R’ Y. Berkowitz shlit”a, Poskim.

Tags: Gentile on Shabbos

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