Hogwarts Shabbos II

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I retract my conclusion from this post. As was pointed out to me, the problem is that the delivery is on behalf of the sender. When a Jew sends a package, the mailman is acting on his behalf. If the package arrives on Shabbos, then the mailman is delivering it on Shabbos on behalf of a Jew, which is prohibited. But if a non-Jew sends it, then the delivery is permissible in itself.

However, when a Jew orders something to be delivered specifically on Shabbos, then the delivery is also on behalf of the orderer and is forbidden. That might be the case here. However, the majority of orderers are not Jewish, so perhaps the deliveries are on behalf of a group that is mostly not Jewish.

So my revised conclusion is that I’m not sure whether it is permissible to open the packages of Harry Potter. Ask your rabbi.

ANOTHER POINT: I neglected to mention that you are not allowed to take a package directly from the hand of a mail carrier. Ask him to put it down. From experience, I can say that mail carriers in Brooklyn are used to this and don’t think twice about it.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and as Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

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