Sunday, March 18, 2012

Use of a tree-swing on Shabbat


May I sit on a tree-swing on Shabbos?

There is a biblical prohibition against severing any part of a tree. To prevent accidental violation, the Sages prohibited any use of the body of a tree, although one may touch the trunk of a sturdy tree so long as one does not shift it in the process.

"Use" includes placing items into, attaching items to, or removing items from a tree. The prohibition also includes use of items which are attached to the tree, such as swings or treehouses. Therefore, a frisbee which lands in a treehouse may not be removed, even if one could do so while standing on the ground.

One may use items which are attached to other entities which are then attached to a tree. Therefore, one may lie in a hammock or sit on a swing which hangs from a peg which is, in turn, attached to a tree. However, this use is prohibited if it would shake or shift the tree.

(Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 336:13; Magen Avraham 336:2, 15; Aruch haShulchan Orach Chaim 336:16, 339:2-3; Mishneh Berurah 336:63; Shemirat Shabbat k'Hilchatah 26:11-17)

Have a great day,

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