Transportation on Shabbat
This is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.
|This article is good.|
- If a person is caught on Friday afternoon because of traffic or the like and can't reach one's destination before sunset, according to some poskim, it is permissible to ask a non-Jew to drive them during Ben Hashemashot (13.5 halachic minutes) even if it means going beyond the techum.
Electric Subway and Train
- It is forbidden to travel in an electric train which will make scheduled stops whether it's a intercity or within the city train. 
- If one needs to travel for a mitzvah (such as a doctor to the hospital, or a Mohel to a Brit) it is permissible to take an electric subway, where the driver is non-Jewish, majority of the passengers are non-Jewish, and it only travels within the city, as long as one pays before Shabbat and is let on without giving money or a card. Additionally, as much as possible a person should do this in private. 
- One may not travel by airplane over Shabbat whether or not the plane departs before Shabbat. However, if the plane arrives after Shabbat there is some opinion which is lenient, but in any case one should consult one's Orthodox Rabbi. 
- If an airplane arrived on Shabbat, one shouldn't get off the plane until after Shabbat, however, if one is unable to do so one should stay in the airport.
Traveling in a dangerous area
- If by traveling in a caravan in the desert and one will certainly come to violate Shabbat because of a Pikuach Nefesh (life threatening) situation, according to Sephardim one may begin the trip during the first three days of the week. However, according to Ashkenazim one should not begin should that trip any day of the week. 
Taking a Cruise
- Chazon Ovadia Shabbat v. 1 p. 282, Shevet Halevi 7:45. See, however, Rabbi Heber in Kosher Kurrents (Winter 2013) based on Rabbi Heinemann writes that after sunset one may not get in a taxi that will exit the techum. For the purposes of bein hashemashot he approximate it to be 30 minutes.
- Or Letzion (vol 2, chap 42, note 1), Sh"t Yabia Omer 10:54(12), Yalkut Yosef (Shabbat, vol 5, pg 56). The Ben Ish Chai in Rav Pealim 1:25 permits it but some say that later on he retracted from that ruling. (Sh"t Yechave Daat 2:48). Rabbi Mansour on dailyhalacha.com discusses and clarifies that Rav Ovadyah Yosef's opinion on this topic is that it is not proper to ride bikes on Shabbat.
- Ashkenazi Poskim: Tzitz Eliezer (7:30:1)- Riding a bike on Shabbat is an issue of Uvda DeChol.
- Rav Azriel Hildesheimer (siman 49) - Riding a bike on Shabbat is an issue of Choresh.
- Rav Yitzchak Schmelkish (Tshuvos Beis Yitzchak)- the gezerah against riding an animal was a broad gezerah against all transportation on shabbos.
- Chasam Sofer (6:97) - Riding a train is a violation of “shabbason.”
- Sephardi Poskim: The Ben Ish Chai (Rav Poalim 1:25) says it's muttar.
- Kaf HaChaim (5:404:8) quotes the Ben Ish Chai, but then he says the minhag is not to ride bikes and he brings many reasons why (it might break and he’ll come to fix it, he might ride outside the techum, he might get to a hill where he’ll need to get off and carry the bike.)
- The Yaskil Avdi (OC 3:12:5:4) says it's assur because it might break and you might come to fix it like musical instruments. And he claims the Ben ish chai was chozer. There is a big discussion as to what the Ben ish chai actually held.
- Rav Ovadiah Yosef (Yabia Omer 10 OC 54:12, and 55:2) doesn't think Ben Ish Chai changed his mind and he argues with yaskil avdi because we can't invent gzeiros nowadays. But he concludes that it’s proper to be stringent not to ride a bike on shabbos. Rav Matzliach Mazuz (Sh"t Ish Matzliach OC 1:35) agrees that it should not be permitted to ride a bike on Shabbat or Yom Tov, even in a place with an eruv.
- Yalkut Yosef (vol 1, pg 55)ת VaDaber Davar (Rabbi Shmuel Pinchasi, 1:21), Sh"t Tzitz Eliezer 1:21
- Chazon Ovadyah (Shabbat vol 1 pg 130)
- Yalkut Yosef (vol 1, pg 52). See also VeDaber Davar (Rav Shmuel Pinchasi 1:26) and Chut Sheni (Rav Nassim Karlitz, vol 1, pg 72) seem to forbid whether or not the plane arrives on Shabbat. Sh"t Rivevot Ephraim 3:161:2 writes that one shouldn't board an airplane if one knows that it will continue to fly on Shabbat. He quotes Sh"t Tzitz Eliezer 1:21, Mishev Shalom 76, and Minchat Elazar 2:106 who agree to this.
- Yalkut Yosef (vol 1, pg 53)
- The Rivash 1:17-8 originates based on the Baal HaMoer’s concept that it would be permissible to travel with a caravan into a desert as long as one leaves during the first three days of the week even though it will certainly come to a violation of Shabbat because of a life threatening situation. Shulchan Aruch 248:4 codifies the Rivash as halacha that even when there’s certain violation of Shabbat it’s permitted if one begins in the first three days of the week. [Mishna Brurah 248:26 quotes the Radvaz who argues that if there’s certain violation of Shabbat even for Pikuach Nefesh it’s forbidden to begin any day of the week and the Mishna Brurah seems to side with the Radvaz. However, the Menuchat Ahava (vol 1, 1:5) and Sh”t Yabia Omer YD 5:23(1) rule like Shulchan Aruch.]