Wednesday, January 28, 2015

When a child refuses to walk, on Shabbos


What may one do, when a young child stops on the way somewhere on Shabbat, and refuses to walk any further, and there is no eruv to license carrying?

[Note: This responsum assumes there is no immediate danger to life; the child is not in the street, the weather is not dangerously cold, etc.]

Because our communities tend to be private domains by biblical standards, so that transport is a rabbinic prohibition rather than a biblical one, there are leniencies one may use where the child does not respond to coaxing.

Ideally, one would arrange with a non-Jew to carry the child. Where that is not an option, one could carry the child distances of fewer than four cubits [7 feet] at a time, picking up and setting down the child each time. Alternatively, one person could pick up the child and transport him, and hand him off to another person in the air, without pausing; this way, one carrier would perform the act of picking up the child, and the other would perform the act of setting down the child, so that each would be performing an incomplete act of transport. In either of these cases, one should avoid transporting the child directly into the house or enclosed yard, where possible; the transition from public area to private area carries special liability.

(Rivivot Ephraim 1:233)

Have a great day,

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