Friday, April 26, 2013

SHABBAT: Wearing vs. Carrying

Last Friday we explained that carrying an object  is a melakha, i.e., an activity forbidden on Shabbat. That includes transferring an item from one domain to another and carrying an object in the public domain. 

In a public domain (without 'erub) it is forbidden to carry anything even in our pockets. However,  wearing something it is not considered carrying.   Therefore it is permitted to wear any clothes, even when one does not have the intention or need to use that garment. Illustration: It would be permitted to wear two sweaters or two scarfs, etc. even when one's intention is to bring one of the scarfs to somebody else.  Again, in this case it is the nature of the action (carrying vs. wearing) what counts regardless of the intent.   

Also, any accessories to the garment we are wearing, even though we are not using those accessories, are considered part of that garment and therefore we can wear them in the public domain. For example: One can wear a raincoat with a belt or with a detachable hood even when there is no need or no intention to use those items. 

The Rabbis have noted that sometimes the line between wearing and carrying is blurry. One example:  a coat or a jacket that is worn on one's shoulders, is that considered wearing the coat or is it perceived as carrying the coat (nir-a kemasoi)? Should we determined that according to the local custom, i..e., if in that specific place people regularly wear a jacket on their shoulders, etc.?  In the case, for instance,  Rabbi Obadia Yosef suggest to be stricter, particularly when there is no 'erub. However, if one is wearing a Talit on his shoulders it is fine, because that is the normal way to wear the Talit.   

One can wear something for protection against the rain, for example, a poncho.  But it is forbidden to carry an umbrella on Shabbat. 


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