web analytics
April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Q & A: Shabbat Shuttle? (Part I)

QuestionsandAnswers-logo

Share Button

Question: Is it permitted on the Sabbath or holidays to take a shuttle to synagogue? The neighborhood shuttle runs from 9-5 daily, is driven by a gentile, has a designated stop schedule, and is free of charge.

In my case, it would be very helpful as I have major difficulties walking the almost one-mile distance from my apartment to shul due to a medical condition known as peripheral artery disease. I am close to 80 years old.

I live in the Bal Harbor area of Miami Beach, FL and I know that many Orthodox Jews who live in high-rises use a Sabbath elevator or take regular elevators and allow someone else to press the button. Several people sit in wheelchairs (including a local Orthodox rabbi who is ill and cannot walk) and are wheeled to shul.

I fail to see why taking the shuttle bedi’eved is different than taking a Sabbath elevator or being pushed in a wheelchair. Although I know I should ask my shul rabbi, I would appreciate hearing your opinion.

Hershele L
(Via E-Mail)

Answer: My uncle, Rabbi Sholom Klass, zt”l, discussed this matter many years ago and cited the Responsa Chatam Sofer (by Rabbi Moshe Sofer, zt”l, 1763-1839, vol. III, Hashmatot, ch. 194). The Chatam Sofer discusses a query by a Jewish physician who was asked by a gentile from a distant town to hop into his coach on Shabbat to attend to his wife who was about to give birth.

We present here a condensed version of the Chatam Sofer’s responsum:

“The prohibition of riding on an animal, or in a coach, on Shabbat is due to the following reasons: We are told to rest our animals on Shabbat (Exodus 20:10) and not to lead them. Also, we are not supposed to ride an animal lest we tear off a branch (to use it as a whip) or travel out of town more than 2,000 amot [approximately 4,000 feet].

“The first problem of resting one’s animals would not apply here since the animals don’t belong to a Jew but to a gentile.

“The prohibition of tearing off a branch also wouldn’t apply here for two reasons. First, the doctor is riding inside the coach, and secondly, he is not driving the wagon.

“Then we have the prohibition of telling a non-Jew to violate Shabbat. We are not permitted to order a gentile on Shabbat to do any work we are not permitted to do ourselves. However, in this case the gentile is calling for the doctor; the doctor is not telling the gentile anything.

“The question of Techum Shabbat has a few facets to it. It does not apply to anything higher than ten tefachim [around three feet] since above that height is considered avir makom pitur – the air over that height is not considered a public domain [and the prohibition thus does not apply]. Also, if the coach is four amot by four amot [approximately eight feet by eight feet], it is considered a reshut bifnei atzmah, a separate entity or a private domain, and the laws of Techum Shabbat do not apply to it.

“Then you have the admonition of not violating Shabbat for one who doesn’t observe Shabbat, especially a non-Jew. This, however, does not apply in our times when we dwell among the gentiles as neighbors and because of darkei shalom (keeping the peace and friendship of our neighbors). We must do everything to help them as we would our own. These laws were promulgated at a time when the gentiles, the heathen idol worshippers, were bitter enemies of the Jews and they lived outside of the land of Israel. Today, to show our friendship to the gentiles, we are obligated to help them put out a fire in their house even on Shabbat.”

Share Button

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 yklass@jewishpress.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Q & A: Shabbat Shuttle? (Part I)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Israeli soldiers closed off the area near where a terror attack occurred  near Hevron on Passover eve, in search of the terrorists.
Netanyahu: PA Incitement Caused Pre-Passover Terror Attack
Latest Judaism Stories

The following is President Obama’s statement on Passover (April 14, 2014). As he has in the past, the President held an official Passover Seder at the White House. Michelle and I send our warmest greetings to all those celebrating Passover in the United States, in Israel, and around the world. On Tuesday, just as we […]

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

The tendency to rely on human beings rather than G-d has been our curse throughout the centuries.

Haggadah used at the Passover Seder

“Who is wise? One who learns from each person” (Pirkei Avot 4:1)

Rabbi Sacks

In Judaism, to be without questions is a sign not of faith, but of lack of depth.

“I’ll try to help as we can,” said Mr. Goodman, “but we already made a special appeal this year. Let me see what other funds we have. I’ll be in touch with you in a day or two.”

Rashi is bothered by the expression Hashem used: “the Jews need only travel.”

Reckoning Time
‘Three Festivals, Even Out Of Order’
(Beizah 19b)

Two husbands were there to instruct us in Texas hold ‘em – and we needed them.

Question: Why do we start counting sefirat ha’omer in chutz la’aretz on the second night of Pesach when the omer in the times of the Beit Hamikdash was cut on Chol HaMoed?

M. Goldman
(Via E-Mail)

A few background principles regarding the prohibitions of chametz mixtures on Pesach may provide some shopping guidance.

According to the Rambam, the k’nas applies to any chametz on Pesach with which one could, in theory, transgress the aveirah – even if no transgression actually occurred.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Marror is the reliving of the bitter enslavement and matzah is the under-eighteen-minutes redemption.

Rabbi David Bar-Hayim argues it is time for Ashkenazim to abandon the prohibition against Kitnyot. What do you think?

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
Questions-Answers-logo

Question: Why do we start counting sefirat ha’omer in chutz la’aretz on the second night of Pesach when the omer in the times of the Beit Hamikdash was cut on Chol HaMoed?

M. Goldman
(Via E-Mail)

Question: Why do we start counting sefirat ha’omer in chutz la’aretz on the second night of Pesach when the omer in the times of the Beit Hamikdash was cut on Chol HaMoed?

M. Goldman
(Via E-Mail)

Question: Why do we start counting sefirat ha’omer in chutz la’aretz on the second night of Pesach when the omer in the times of the Beit Hamikdash was cut on Chol HaMoed?

M. Goldman
(Via E-Mail)

Why does the Jewish leap year always consist of two Adars? Why specifically Adar?

Menachem
(Via E-Mail)

Why does the Jewish leap year always consist of two Adars? Why specifically Adar?

Menachem
(Via E-Mail)

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-shabbat-shuttle-part-i/2013/12/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: