To Donate Click Here

Light sensors in the hallway of a hotel on shabbos


we are staying in prague in a building where all lights automatically come in in the hallways of building when walking – these are v useful at night as we are in upper floor
understand that on shabbat we cannot leave the apt at night – question is can we leave during the day – the lights also come on when walk past but not so useful and we can manage easily in day without lights- is there a heter that not ניחא ליה even though its a פסיק רישא and maybe not considered Grama



This is not an easy situation. Even during the daytime when it might be a פסיק רישא דלא איכפס ליה, nevertheless, it is still not permitted. What you can do, is either wait until a gentile is already in the hallway, so the light will already be on, and then you can walk out into the hallway. Alternatively, you may arrange to have a gentile to come to your room for a beer, or a cigarette when you want to leave the building. This way it is considered like the gentile is turning the lights on for his own benefit. Then when he wants to leave, he would walk out into the hallway first, so the lights turn for him, and he is doing it for himself and not for the Jew. This can all be arranged before shabbos so that you won’t get stuck in your room. Getting back into your room can be done the same way. Additionally, there might be a way to have the lights stay totally on for certain hours, (it might help if you offer to pay for the extra electricity). (There might be another option, but it might be a far shot, depending on your situation. Sometimes these sensors work by noticing something moving. Therefore you night be able to put something in the hallway that will keep moving, such as an electric fan, even if it is only set to a shabbos clock to go on when you anticipate walking in the hallway.)

You have my best wishes and prayers that things should work out well.


M:B 314-11, 334- Shar Hatzion 39, Orchs Shabbos 23-45 ftnt. 100.

Join the Conversation


  1. thankyou for the trouble to answer – the answer deals at length with posssible work arounds however the main question is dealt with in one brief line – it is not permitted – i would be happy if you could expand a bit – the work arounds are not really an option atall in this situation – re the main issue i would add that perhaps the lights are lead lights where the light might be considered Derabanan and also can one consider being kept indoors for a whole Shabbat as a CHoleh that might allow some Derabonon and also if one were to move in a strainge manner such as backwards could this be considered a Shinuy as an additional צירוף – thankyou very much

    1. The problem is also that by walking into the hallway you are activating the sensor, besides the light that is turning on. Having to stay indoors for 24hrs. is frustrating, but it is hard to hear that the person can be considered a choleh. Regarding פסיק רישא שלא ניחא ליה, from the Mishna Berura, it is not clear if it needs one or two d’rabonon’s. Regarding using a shinuy, the light is going to go on whether you make strange movements or not. This is why I tried the work arounds, because I can’t take achrayus to permit it with these sevaras.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *