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Mama Deb
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December 2010
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Mama Deb [userpic]

My husband just asked me if I wanted to buy the comic shop.

"What am I? Michael?"

(For those who don't know, Michael Novotsky on Queer as Folk, a long time comic book fan, purchased a comic shop for reasons I have forgotten.)

We decided that it would not be the right thing for me and I know that the business wasn't going well because, well, they told me. Comics aren't selling these days.

But the thought did cross my mind for five minutes yesterday. I mean, a female superhero fan running a comic shop? Be cool. But being closed on Shabbos would be *bad*, and Ashkenazi rabbis don't give permission to have a non-Jew run it for you. And I have no idea about how to run a business.


I didn't know that (Ashkenazi) rabbis wouldn't let any Jewishly-owned business open on Shabbat if run by non-Jews; I'd thought it tended to come into play for restaurants only (and other businesses catering exclusively to frum Jews wouldn't try to open then, anyway, being pointless).

Apparently so - I think they're afraid you might come to check on how it's doing or to make sure the non-Jew running things is honest or something, and then find yourself doing business yourself. And that will, of course, lead to writing, and thus to a Torah violation of Shabbat.

In this case, the comic book store is a good thirty minutes away from me by bus, but they just don't give heterim for this.

Ah, fencing fences.

If you really did want to have a comic book store, could you find a non-Jewish partner who knows the business-running end of things? I mean, I assume that if you're not the majority owner, then it's not the same issues.

I'd assume that even if I were 50% owner, that would work.

But not going to happen.

I don't think that's quite right. You can, in fact, sell the business for Shabbat, with the buyer either keeping all the profit actually made on Shabbat, or a fixed percentage which represents an estimate of how much profit is made then. The big problem is that this can only be done for a business that is not publicly known to be Jewish-owned, or is in a place where there are no Jews within walking distance. My uncle used to have a heter mechira for a factory in Geelong, on this basis.

I'm not aware of a difference between Ashkenazi and Sefardi rulings on this matter.

It's what Eli B. told us when he opened his shop on 7th Ave - and that he had to find a Sephardi rabbi to do it. Of course, he *is* Sephardi.