A delivery person came to the door on Friday night and my child answered the door. When he asked for the parents, I called from behind the door that I was not available to come to the door. He said, “I have a large package here, can I leave it on the porch?”. I said something like “Yes, that’s fine”.
1. Is that called accepting the package on Shabbos? Or something else that would be assur? They might have a requirement to get verbal acceptance of a package so maybe I participated in that transfer of ownership?
2. If it was a problem:
a. What should I have done in that situation?
b. Should I not open/benefit from receiving the package until the time when the company would have come back to redeliver it?
Thank you very much
What you did was just fine, you merely allowed the gentile to put in down. The reason we don’t actually take the package form him, is because it might be muktza, and also because if we take it from him and he is still moving from bringing from outside, we technically completed his act of carrying it from outside. Therefore, since you let him place it down that is what you were supposed to do.
There is another issue here, that we may not benefit from the melacha that a gentile does for us on Shabbos. Not only that but even after Shabbos we have to wait, until the action could have been done after Shabbos. We don’t have to wait the amount of time that it would take to get the package from the shippers address until your home, because the shipper was doing that for many people, including many gentiles. However, the time it took to get from the previous stop to your home you would have to wait. Therefore after Shabbos you should wait the amount of time that it would have taken the delivery truck to get from the last address that he went to, until your home. I assume that half an hour would be ample time for this. (Regarding this see Commerce and Shabbos pg. 139-139)
משנה ברורה סימן שז ס”ק נו
כתבו האחרונים נהגו שלא לקבל האגרת מיד הא”י המביא בשבת אלא אומרים לו שיניח ע”ג קרקע או ע”ג שלחן כי חוששין שמא טרם שיעמוד לפוש יטול הישראל האגרת מידו ונמצא שהישראל יעשה גמר ההוצאה מרשות לרשות שהא”י עשה עקירה וישראל הנחה