web analytics
October 24, 2014 / 30 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Q & A: Shabbat Shuttle? (Part II)

QuestionsandAnswers-logo

Question: Is it permitted on the Sabbath or holidays to take a shuttle to synagogue? My 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)

Summary of our response up to this point: My uncle, Rabbi Sholom Klass, zt”l, discussed this matter many years ago based on a responsum of the Chatam Sofer who addressed a query from a Jewish physician who found himself in the position of having to travel on Shabbat to deliver a gentile baby. The Chatam Sofer noted that we are prohibited from riding an animal or in a coach on Shabbat since we must rest our animals on Shabbat (Exodus 20:10). Furthermore, if we ride an animal on Shabbat, we may unthinkingly tear off a branch to use it as a whip. Another factor is techum Shabbat, the prohibition against traveling more than 2,000 amot (approximately 4,000 feet) on Shabbat.

These prohibitions, however, don’t apply to the doctor’s case because the animals belonged to a gentile, the doctor wasn’t driving the wagon, and the wagon was higher than 10 tefachim (and at that height, the air is considered a makom petur), thus rendering the techum Shabbat prohibition inapplicable. Techum Shabbat also may not apply because the coach (measuring more than 4×4 amot) was perhaps a reshut bifnei atzmah.

We are the prohibited from telling a non-Jew to violate Shabbat. However, in this case the gentile was calling for the doctor; the doctor wasn’t telling the gentile anything. The Chatam Sofer further said that the admonition of not violating Shabbat for a non-Jew does not apply in our times when we dwell amongst the gentiles as neighbors. Because of darkei sholom, keeping the peace and friendship of our neighbors, we must do everything to help them as we would our own. Thus, the Chatam Sofer ruled that the doctor may ride out of town to help deliver the baby on Shabbat.

Is this scenario analogous to your situation, where you wish to take a free shuttle to shul on Shabbat?

* * * * *

You argue that riding a shuttle on Shabbat should be allowed just liked being pushed in a wheelchair is. Is this a valid comparison? Let us cite from the comprehensive work of Rabbi Yehoshua Yeshaya Neuwirth, Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchatah (vol. 1 34:27), in which he discusses people who cannot walk and wish to be pushed in wheelchairs on Shabbat. He writes that if there is an eruv, they may wheel themselves or be pushed by others.

However, if there is an eruv, what’s the issue? Isn’t it obvious that being pushed in a wheelchair would be permitted? The answer is that with wheelchairs we are dealing with at least two other possible Shabbat prohibitions. The first is “uvdin d’chol.” Our poskim (Mechaber, Orach Chayim 335:5, see Aruch Hashulchan ad loc., sk9) tend to prohibit activities on Shabbat that resemble weekday activities and it would seem that according to some, using a wheelchair might be an example of that category.

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.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

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

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Do you know where your vegetables grow?
Not So Kosher Shemittah L’Mehadrin
Latest Judaism Stories
Greenbaum-102414

Noach was the lonely man of faith living in a depraved world, full of wickedness.

Parsha-Perspectives-logo

Avraham became a great man during the 175 years of his life, while his predecessors became increasingly wicked, despite staggering knowledge, during their lifetimes of hundreds of years.

Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

Shem realized that he owed his existence to his father who brought him into the world.

Daf-Yomi-logo

Law-Abiding Citizen
‘That Which Is Crooked Cannot Be Made Straight…’
(Yevamos 22a-b)

The flood was not sent to destroy, but to restore the positive potential of the world.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Why is there is no mention of dinosaurs, and other prehistoric animals, in the Torah?

Strict din demands perfection. There is no room for shortcomings and no place for excuses; you are responsible.

Surprisingly, my husband and one son arrived home over half-an-hour earlier than usual. I excitedly shared my perfect-timing story, but my better half one upped me easily.

Noach felt a tug, and then heard a rip. His jacket had been caught on the nail, and the beautiful suit had a tear.

Boundaries must be set in every home. Parents and children are not pals. They are not equals.

Noah and his wife could not fathom living together as husband and wife and continuing the human race

The Babel story is the 2nd in a 4-act drama that’s unmistakably a connecting thread of Bereishit

Our intentions are critical in raising children because they mimic everything we parents do & think

A humble person who achieves a position of prominence will utilize the standing to benefit others.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
Questions-Answers-logo

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-shabbat-shuttle-part-ii/2014/01/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: