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Gift card bought on Shabbat



I was told the following is ok but was not able to obtain the reason. Could you help?

A nonobservant parent bought gift cards on Shabbat and then bought me something using them. I did not know and was told it is ok to continue using them.
I was also told that even if I know (so I am at the store–obviously not on shabbat– and ask for something and the person uses the card I know they bought on Shabbat). So, why is it ok to benefit?



Thank you for your question.

What you are referring to with your question is the halacha that if a person did melacha on Shabbos, that we may not benefit from that melacha, -called “maaseh Shabbos”. You want to know why this rule will not apply to your non- religious mother purchasing the gift card and the item for you. While understandably we don’t buy or sell on Shabbos, however in retrospect the item is permitted to use. There are ש reasons for this. The first one is because, the melacha that was done, wasn’t done in a way that made any real change to the gift card. According to some poskim, we are only prohibited from benefitting from the outcome of a melacha if the melacha formed or created the item that we have now. For example, when food is cooked on Shabbos the melacha changed it to its present form, and eating the food is benefiting from the melacha created. However, if the melacha done didn’t change the item, (it was carried from one domain to the other, then according to some opinions we may benefit from it after Shabbos, especially if the action was only an issur d’rabonon.

Another possible reason might be (depending on the circumstances) because there are poskim who say that we may benefit from the act, if the melacha was an issur d’rabonon (from a rabbinical injunction), that was violated mistakenly, (b’shogeg). Often a non-religious person doesn’t realize or know that what they are doing is not permitted on Shabbos, and if what was done would only be a d’rabonon, such as purchasing things on Shabbos, then it would be permitted to benefit from the purchased item.


ביה”ל ס’ שי”ח סע’ א’, ד”ה אחת: וז”ל “כתב בחיי אדם (כלל ט’ סעי’ י”א) דווקא בדבר שנעשה מעשה בגוף הדבר וכו’ אבל המוציא מרשות לרשות שלא נשתנה הדבר מכמות שהיה, אם בשוגג מותר אפילו לו ובו ביום, ואם במזיד אסור אפילו לאחרים עד מוצ”ש, ומ”מ יש להחמיר בכל איסורי תורה כמו במבשל”.

וכן ע’ משנה ברורה סימן שיח ס”ק ג “אחת משאר מלאכות – ואם היא מלאכה דרבנן עיין בביאור הגר”א שהאריך להוכיח דלכו”ע אם עשה אותה בשוגג אין לאסור בדיעבד ליהנות ממנה ועיין בבה”ל”.:

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