Pidyon Kaparot Now

Renting a Holiday Cottage that is owned by the Church of England

Question:

We would like to rent a holiday cottage that is listed on a regular cottage website.
On looking into it further, it appears that the cottage is owned by the Church of England.
Are we allowed to stay there?

Answer:

It is hard to answer you on this because there are a few unknown points. Here are the variables. According to the Shulchan Aruch (Y:D 143-3) and the Sefardi minhag it would not be permitted to rent the cottage, because whether the profits go to the church itself  or to the priests, it is not permitted to cause benefit to avoda zara. Therefore, if you are Sefardi, you shouldn’t stay there. According to the Rema and the Ashkenazi minhag it would be permitted only if the money doesn’t go to the church and its activities, but only to the priests. Therefore, staying there would depend on who is the one benefitting from the rental, the church or the priests. An additionally factor that needs clarification is that according to some authorities (Taz Y:D 143-7) even if the profit goes to the priests it is still not permitted, but only if the hotel room would have been rented out regardless if the Jew would rent it out, (meaning that they would otherwise have full occcupancy). Then if the money going to the priests, and they themselves aren’t really benefitting from the Jews renting it, because they would have rented it out regardless, only then would it be permitted.  All in all the best thing would be to find a different cottage to rent.

Best wishes

Sources:

Shevet Halevi 2-60, MInchas Yitzchok 4-68(5),

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