The seriously ill patient

119. A Jew may turn on an electric heater for a seriously ill patient who feels cold (if a non-Jew is not available to do so), if covering him with extra blankets is not sufficient[174]. It is preferable to turn on an electric rather than light a gas or kerosene heater (see paragraph 96 above). Similarly, if a non-Jew is not available to do so, a Jew may turn on a fan, ventilator or air-conditioner for a seriously ill patient who is uncomfortable in the heat[175]. If the heat from a heater or the cold air from a fan or ventilator is uncomfortable for the patient or may harm him, a non-Jew may be asked to turn it off. If a non-Jew is unavailable and the heater or fan cannot be moved away from the patient, or the patient cannot be moved to another room, it may be turned down; if this is insufficient it may be turned off[176]. Where possible this should be done in an unusual fashion (see paragraph 108 above; see also paragraph 5 above)[177].

The non-seriously ill patient

120. In countries where the cold is severe enough to cause suffering, it is permissible to ask a non-Jew to turn on the heating. If small children or a non-seriously ill person is present, the non-Jew may be asked to turn on the heating although it is not cold enough to bother a healthy adult[178]. The same rules apply with regard to turning on an electric fan or air-conditioner during the hot summer days[179].


[174] Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 32:83.

[175] Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 32:86.

[176] Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 32:85-86.

[177] ibid.

[178] Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 38:8.

[179] Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 38:9.