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.
(To be continued)Rabbi Yaakov Klass
About the Author: 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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