The question of deriving benefit (hana’ah) from Shabbat desecration (chilul Shabbat) arises in both routine cases as well as in uncommon situations. Are we permitted to benefit from a light that was turned on either unintentionally (bishogeg) or intentionally (bimaizid)? May we watch video footage that was filmed on Shabbat? Obviously, with respect to the latter question, we must differentiate between Israeli television, with its Jewish employees, and another network which employs only non-Jews.
The Mishna in Masechet Trumot (2:3) states:
“One who cooks on Shabbat – [If he did it] unintentionally (shogeg), he may eat. [If he did it] intentionally (maizid), he may not eat.”
It would seem from this Mishna that one may only benefit from an action that was performed bishogeg on Shabbat but not from an action that was performed bimaizid.
A braitah which details the Tanaim’s opinions about an action that was performed on Shabbat (ma’aseh Shabbat) appears in several places in the Talmud:
“One who cooks on Shabbat, bishogeg – he may eat. [But] bimaizid, he may not eat. This is the opinion of R’ Meir.
“R’ Yehuda says: Bishogeg – he may eat after Shabbat (Motzaei Shabbat). Bimaizid – he may never eat.
“R’ Yochanan HaSandlar says: Bishogeg – he may feed others on Motzaei Shabbat but not himself. Bimaizid – he may never feed himself or others.” (Chulin 15a)
R’ Meir’s opinion is identical to the Mishna in Trumot. Rashi explains that R’ Meir prohibits hana’ah michilul Shabbat on Shabbat itself, because it involves deriving benefit from a prohibition: a transgression (aveirah) that was performed deliberately. However, one may derive benefit on Motzaei Shabbat, since the melachah could have been performed after Shabbat.
R’ Yehuda differentiates between hana’ah michilul Shabbat on Shabbat itself and hana’ah on Motzaei Shabbat. He even forbids one to benefit from chilul Shabbat bishogeg only on Shabbat itself, but when the desecration is bimaizid, he asserts that one may never benefit.
Thus, neither R’ Meir nor R’ Yehuda distinguish between the Shabbat desecrator himself benefiting and others benefiting. The difference between the two Tanaim is that R’ Yehuda adds a prohibition against benefiting from an aveirah bishogeg.
R’ Yochanan HaSandlar only permits others to benefit from a ma’aseh Shabbat on Motzaei Shabbat, and his opinion is that no one may ever benefit from a maizid case. An explanation for R’ Yochanan HaSandlar’s view can be found in the Gemara (Kituvot 34a):
“’You shall observe the Shabbat, for it is holy (kodesh) to you.’
“Just as kodesh (lit., sanctified items) may not be eaten, so too ma’aseh Shabbat may not be eaten. Just as kodesh may never be eaten, so too ma’aseh Shabbat that was performed bimaizid may never be eaten.”
According to the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 318:1), the halachah is as follows:
“One who cooks on Shabbat (or performs one of the other melachot) bimaizid, it is forbidden to him but others may benefit on Motzaei Shabbat immediately. Bishogeg, it is forbidden also to others on that day, but in the evening, it is also permitted to him immediately.”
Based on this ruling, benefit from chilul Shabbat performed by a Jew bimaizid is permissible on Motzaei Shabbat but not on Shabbat itself.
The Gra concurred with the Tosafot who ruled according to R’ Meir. This opinion states that bimaizid, everyone (including the perpetrator himself) may benefit on Motzaei Shabbat, and bishogeg, one can benefit even on Shabbat itself. The Mishnah Brurah maintains that one can rely on this view for a shogeg case when necessary.