skip to Main Content

Can The Problem of Renting to a House of Avodah Zara be Avoided by Having a Non-Jewish Partner?

Rav Yosef Kushner

Question: We’ve discussed many scenarios where a Jew is not allowed to do business with a church. Regarding many other prohibitions, there exists a solution of finding a non-Jewish partner. Would it be possible to use this solution in cases involving houses of avodah zara?

Answer: We can explain this better by using a specific example:

If a Jew is looking into buying a nursing home that has a church renting space inside it in the manner that we previously explained would be forbidden for him to rent to, he has an option of finding a non-Jewish partner to purchase the property with him. If he buys the nursing home together with a non-Jewish partner, they can stipulate the partnership in such a way that the room housing the church belongs to the non-Jew and he is the only one renting to them.

However, this can only be done before the building is purchased. If a Jew purchased such a nursing home on his own and then realizes that the on-site church presents a problem, he cannot avoid the issue by subsequently finding a non-Jewish partner and giving him over the rights to the room occupied by the church. As we explained, the reason it is forbidden to rent a room to a church is because of lifnei iver, enabling them to sin. If a Jew fully owns the room and then gives it to a non-Jewish partner, he is still enabling the house of avodah zara to worship their idol. Therefore, the partnership would have to be made before the sale so that the Jewish partner never becomes the owner of the room that houses the church.  

NEW Yorucha Program >