Mopping on Shabbos
It is the standard procedure that after each meal, the kitchen floor is mopped. It is however feasible to sweep after each meal and only mop once a day (i.e. after Shabbos).
- Can a caterer ask a non-Jew to mop the floor in the kitchen on Shabbos?
- If no, can he ask the non-Jew to “clean” the floor? The non-Jew could interpret the word “clean” to mean “sweep” but he is likely to understand the Jew’s true intention and mop the floor.
- Can the caterer “play dumb” and allow the non-Jew to follow the standard procedure which involves mopping? He won’t tell the non-Jew to mop but the non-Jew understands that that is what the caterer wants him to do.
Rav Belsky said that it is improper for the non-Jews to mop the floors in any of the above cases except in following circumstances:
- The non-Jew could be asked to “clean up” a spill since the Jew didn’t tell him to use a mop or how well he wanted it cleaned. If the non-Jew chooses to use a mop and do a “perfect job” then that was done ada’atah d’nafshey and we do not have to protest.
- The “mopper” is an employee of the non-Jewish hotel owner and does not work for the Jewish caterer. In this case, the non-Jew is mopping up the Jew’s mess but he is doing that to satisfy his non-Jewish boss. Thus, the non-Jewish owner is telling the non-Jewish worker to mop the floor and there is no issue of amirah l’akum.
Mopping on Shabbos involves an issur d’rabbanan of sechitah (see Shulchan Aruch 320:7 and Mishnah Berurah 320:29). One who soaks a mop in water violates an issur d’oraita of melaben (see Mishnah Berurah 302:39) and wringing out a mop involves an issur d’oraisah of melaben.
Part of a series of questions and answers about the Sabbath that have arisen within the Orthodox Union Kosher Division.