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May I Refuse a Friday Delivery To Save My Money For My Shabbos Needs?

Rav Eliezer Cohen

Question: As I head out to the store on Erev Shabbos, the cleaners delivery pulls up. I do not have enough money to pay for both the cleaners and my groceries for Shabbos; can I refuse the delivery for today, and go pick up my items from the cleaners at a later date?


Answer: This question is actually discussed in the Biur Halacha, at the beginning of Hilchos Shabbos.

The background for the question is that the prohibition of ba’al salin, not paying a worker on time, usually does not apply to a kablan, a worker hired for the job, as opposed to a worker hired  by the day or hour. According to this reasoning, one does not have to pick up his suit from the cleaners on the same day that the suit is ready. If, however, the suit is delivered to one’s house, and he accepts it, he does have an obligation to pay that day. 

The Biur Halacha discusses the case similar to ours where a cleaner delivers one’s laundered clothes to his home on Erev Shabbos, and the man only has enough money to either purchase respectable Shabbos food or pay for the laundering. He says that although paying an employee takes precedence over kavod Shabbos, the individual can tell  the cleaner that he does not want to accept the clothing now, and since he isn’t taking the clothing, he does not have an obligation to pay for them yet. In this manner he will  be able to use his money instead for his Shabbos food.  

The Aruch Hashulchan disagrees and rules that if the laundry is delivered to one’s house, he is required to accept it and to pay for it on that day. He says that if one does not do so, he transgresses the prohibition of ba’al talin.  





This month’s shiur has been sponsored by Mr. and Mrs. Avigdor Fried, in memory of שלמה בן אביגדור משה ז”ל, מלכה בת משה ע”ה, יצחק יעקב בן אליהו ז”ל, רבקה בת גבריאל חיים ע”ה

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