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What is the uvdin d’chol? Responsa Keren David cites a Rashi that it appears as if he will be walking or carried far. Uvdin d’chol, however, should not apply to baby carriages since they are not meant for distant transport. Responsa Keren David, therefore, writes that wheeling baby carriages “simply cannot be compared to a blind person going out with a stick.”

We must digress now, for we find many G-d-fearing individuals who walk outside with canes on Shabbat. From the Mechaber (Orach Chayim 522:1), it seems that doing so is prohibited (he cites the above Gemara). Yet, the Machtzit Hashekel (Orach Chayim 522:1) cites numerous authorities who permit using a cane if there is concern that a person will fall without it (such as in a hilly area or when it’s raining or icy outside). For frail people, this concern presumably applies no matter the area or the weather conditions.

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(To be continued)

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Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.

3 COMMENTS

  1. The wheelchair should be prohibited as it might. however slight, break down and the crippled person would be left with no way to move. Concerning the bicycle, if it breaks down, a rider is able to leave it until after Shabat and walk to his destination. A man and wife rode their bicycle for two from Maine to Florida with flat tires as their only breakdown; so the bicycle's mechanical parts are very reliable.

  2. It is very hard to see how using a motorized wheelchair can be likened to riding a shuttle driven by a gentile driver for the obvious reason that the former is directly controlled by the person while the latter is not. Also, it would seem that the benefits of using the shuttle to get to the synagogue would outweigh the possible violations associated with the ride.

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