For the week ending 19 March 2005 / 8 Adar II 5765

Paying for the "Rest"

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Question: I was part of a group that spent a Shabbat in a resort hotel. The beautiful Shabbat we expected was ruined by the unexpected spoiling of all the food, forcing us to subsist on bread and water for our meals. When we intended to leave the hotel after Shabbat without paying for our stay, the hotel owner insisted we pay for the rest we enjoyed in his hotel even if the food bill was not coming to him. What is the right thing to do in such a case?

Answer: Such a case was brought before Rabbi Yitzchak Zilberstein, rav of the Ramat Elchanan community in Bnei Brak, who ruled that the hotel owner has no claim on his disappointed guests for the rest he affirms having provided them. When a person lacks food he does not enjoy any rest.

As proof of this correlation between food and rest, the rabbi cited the ruling of the Mishneh Berurah (582:20) that when Yom Kippur is on Shabbat we delete the phrase in the prayer usually said on Shabbat which asks G-d to "willingly accept our rest". The reason is that when one cannot eat he cannot enjoy a real rest.

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