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One of the 39 Melachot which one is prohibited to do on Shabbat is Hotzah, carrying from one domain to another. In general, one may not carry from a public domain to a private one, or visa versa. Additionally, one may not carry 4 amot in a public domain. The definition of these domains and the exceptions under which a person may carry are described below. For a broader perspective about carrying on Shabbat and the modern Eruv, see our Introduction to the Modern Eruv. Regarding wearing a protective mask outside without an Eruv see Halachot_Related_to_Coronavirus#Eruv_Tavshilin_and_Eruv_Chatzerot.
- The source of Meleches Hotzah is a major machlokes Rishonim.
Definition of the 4 domains
- There are 4 categories of domains on Shabbat: the Reshut HaRabim (public domain), Reshut HaYachid (private domain), intermediate area (Karmelit), and exempt area (Makom Patur).
- A Reshut HaYachid is defined as an area of at least 4 Tefachim by 4 Tefachim surrounded by walls of at least 10 Tefachim. This includes a pit which is 4x4 Tefachim with walls of 10 Tefachim.
- A Reshut HaRabim is defined as a street which is 16 amot wide. Some say that if there's not 600,000 people passing through it daily it's not a Reshut HaRabim.
- A Karmelit is defined as an area of 4 Tefachim by 4 Tefachim with walls which are less than 10 Tefachim in height. It also includes areas where the public doesn't walk and doesn't have proper fencing such as fields, or rivers which are 10 Tefachim deep.
- A Makom Patur is a place which is less than 4 Tefachim by 4 Tefachim but is of at least 3 Tefachim in height. They are only a Makom Patur when placed in a Reshut HaRabim, but in a Karmelit they are considered like a Karmelit.
Where is it forbidden to carry?
- It is forbidden to carry, pass, or throw an object in a Reshut HaRabim or Karmelit.
- It is forbidden to carry from Reshut HaYachid to Reshut HaRabim or a Karmelit, from a Reshut HaRabim or Karmelit to a Reshut HaYachid, from Reshut HaRabim to a Karmelit, or from a Karmelit to a Reshut HaRabim. It is permissible to carry from a Makom Patur to a Reshut HaYchid, Reshut HaRabim, or Karmelit and from these areas to a Makom Patur as long as one doesn't carry 4 amot in a Reshut HaRabim or Karmelit.
- Because there are a lot of detailed and complicated halachot in defining these 4 domains, in a city where there's no Eruv, someone who isn't an expert shouldn't carry into another domain unless one knows for certain that it's permissible.
- It is permitted to carry from a private or public domain to an exempt area or from an exempt area to a private or public domain. However, one may not carry from a private domain to a public domain through an exempt area or visa versa. Similarly, one may not stand in an exempt area and transfer an item from a private domain to a public domain via the exempt area or visa versa.
- There is a dispute whether it is permitted to stand in an exempt area and transfer an item from a private domain to a Karmelit or visa versa. Similarly, there is a dispute whether it is permitted to carry from a private domain to a Karmelit or Karmelit to a private domain via an exempt area. Many poskim write that one should be strict about this case.
Modern Day Eruv
- Many poskim hold that it is permissible to carry on Shabbat within an eruv. However, some poskim disagree and wouldn't allow carrying in any eruv. Sephardim are initially strict not to carry in an eruv when possible but have what to rely upon to be lenient if there is a serious need to carry within the eruv.
Defining the act of carrying
- Picking up an object is called Akirah and putting it down is called Hanacha. Both of these actions are forbidden. Therefore, one may not give an object to a non-Jew who will carry from a Reshut HaYachid to a Reshut HaRabim or Karmelit because in that case the Jew will have done the Akirah, rather the non-Jew should pick up the object himself. Similarly, if a non-Jew brings something from one domain to another, the Jew shouldn't take it from his hand because if he did the Jew will have violated Hanacha, rather the non-Jew should put it down.
- It is forbidden to bring something into the public domain if it isn't a clothing or jewelry. Even within the category of jewelry certain things are rabbinically forbidden to wear in the public domain, however, the minhag is to be lenient for all jewelry, yet a Yarei Shamayim should be strict upon himself.
- If it is normal to wear two pairs of clothing, one on top of the other even during the week, then one may wear one pair of clothes on top of another on Shabbat in the public domain even if one doesn't need it but is bringing it for one's friend or the like.
- If it is raining, one may wearing a coat in order to protect oneself from rain since the coat is worn as a regular clothing. However, it is forbidden to carry a clothing on top of one's hat in order to protect the hat from rain because it isn't considered wearing the clothing in a regular way.
- It is permitted to wear a Tallit in the public domain on Shabbat as long as one wears it regularly; however, one may not put it around one's neck in a place where it is abnormal to wear it that way.
Carrying a child
- It is forbidden to carry a baby or child even if he is able to walk even in a Karmalit. However, one shouldn't tell people who do this because certainly they will not listen and its better that they do so unintentionally rather than violate Shabbat intentionally.
What is considered a garment?
- Plastic bags worn over one's shoes are not considered garments and should not be worn outside of an Eruv.
- On Shabbat, some posking permit one to walk outside an eruv with a coat worn over his shoulders, without his arms in the sleeves, where that is a normal mode of wearing a coat. This is considered "wearing" it, not carrying it. There is an additoinal concern that it might fall off and then you might carry it.
- One may put a shoe insert into a shoe and wear it outside of the eruv on Shabbat to make the shoe wearable since it is considered part of the shoe.
Wearing a Key
- For Sephardim it is problematic to wear a belt with a key since it appears that one is carrying to use the key.
Wearing a Watch
- It is permitted to wear a watch which a person wouldn't remove if it stopped working, such as a gold watch, because then the watch is considered a jewelry. However, if one is not in an eruv, a person shouldn't wear a regular watch which a person would remove from their hand if it stopped working, but those who are lenient have what to rely on.
- One may not go out of an eruv with a pocket watch on Shabbat.
- A person who regularly wears glasses may wear them in a public domain on Shabbat. He must wear them on his nose, and may not carry them in his pocket or wear them on his forehead or around his neck.
- A person who does not regularly wear glasses but wears, for example, reading glasses for reading only and otherwise carries them in his pocket, may not wear the reading glasses in a public domain. Bifocals which may be worn for both reading and regular use may be worn in a public domain on Shabbat.
- Someone who attaches a string worn around his neck to his glasses may wear the glasses with the string attached in a public domain on Shabbat, as long as he wears the glasses on his nose and not around his neck or on his forehead.
- Contact lenses may be worn in a public domain on Shabbat by someone who regularly wears them. However, a person who has not yet adjusted to contact lenses may not wear them in a public domain on shabbat, lest he take them out and carry them in his hand.
- Photocromatic lenses, i.e. lenses that change from clear to dark in sunlight, may be worn on Shabbat as long as they are worn for regular use.
- According to some, sunglasses worn only to protect one's eyes from the sun's rays may be worn in a public domain on Shabbat. Others are strict  This includes sunglasses worn over regular glasses. Those who are lenient have what to rely on, especially in a place with an eruv.
- Sunglasses that are worn at all times for eyesight problems are considered like regular glasses, and may be worn in a public domain on Shabbat.
- Sunglasses that are connected by a hinge to a regular pair of glasses that are regularly worn may be worn in a public domain on Shabbat as long as the person doesn't remove the sunglasses totally when in the shade, rather flips up the sunglasses while they are still attached. It is best to stringent, however.
- Sunglasses worn on doctor's orders and are not removed even when one is in his house are judged like regular glasses, and may be worn in a public domain on Shabbat.
- A person who is hard of hearing may wear a hearing-aid on Shabbat, even in a public domain without an eruv. One need not be concerned with considerations of electricity or carrying as long as the hearing-aid is securely in his ear, and he turned it on before Shabbat and leaves it on until after Shabbat.
Cane and Wheelchair
- Someone who can't walk without a cane may walk in a public domain with the cane. If the person walks at home without a cane and only uses a cane outside he may not walk with it in a public domain on Shabbat. Someone who could walk without a cane but because it is icy outside he is afraid of slipping, it is forbidden to walk out with a cane unless there is an eruv.
- Within an eruv it is permitted to walk with a cane either to help one walk or to for the appearance, however, it is forbidden for no purpose at all.
- A wheelchair is different from a cane and even if a person can't walk without a wheelchair he may not go out with a wheelchair on Shabbat to a public domain.
- The first Mishna in Maseches Shabbos explains that there is an issur deoraisa for a person to take an object from a reshus hayachid on Shabbos and place the object into a reshus harabim or vise versa. One who does so has violated Hotzah. There is also a rabbinic prohibition to do half of the melacha, by either picking up the object (akira) in order to transfer it or to place it done (hanacha) after it has been transferred. The Gemara (Shabbos 4a) indicates that akira and hanacha are only prohibited if the object is placed or removed from a platform of four by four tefachim. Interestingly, the Gemara (5a) states that a person’s hand is treated as if it is four by four tefachim.
- Rashi Mishna 2a states that the source for Hotzah is “Vayichale ha’am me’havee” (Shemot 36:6) in which Moshe Rabbeinu commands Klal Yisroel to stop bringing donations for the Mishkan. However, the Ri (Eruvin 17b, Shabbos 2a) states that the source for Hotzah is “Al yaytzay ish mimkomo” (Shemot 16:29) which states that one may not leave one’s domain while carrying. It is imperative to point out that while most melachos are learned from the construction of the mishkan, Hotzah requires pesukim be established as a melacha. Tosfot and Ramban on 2a both address this inconsistency and explain that since Meleches Hotzah is inferior, or garuah, in nature (See their respective explanations what exactly the deficiency is, see also Ohr Zarua’s siman 82) it requires pesukim to clarify that it still is considered one of the 39 melachos and was also done in the Mishkan.(See Tos 96b)
This concept of Melacha Garua has a considerable amount of practical applications. For instance, the Chayei Adam (Shabbos 9:11) states that an object that has been illicitly carried on Shabbos may still be used, in contrast to other melakhot which, when violated, taint the object with a rabbinical prohibition preventing one from using the object. Furthermore, some rishonim understand that the reason the Talmud says that eiruvin is not required on Yom Tov is because Hotzah falls short of the status of a complete melakhah. See also Afikei Yam, II, 4:8.The fact that Hotzah is a Melacha Garua has ramifications also on the source of the toldos. Usually, the toldos of a melacha merely consist of actions resembling the avos logically. However, some Rishonim (See Tos 96b) learn that the toldos of Hotzah must be both similar in svara to the avos from which they are derived and practiced in the mishkan—a characteristic not found in any other melacha. The toldos of Hotzah are haavara (carrying daled amos in reshus harabim), throwing an item from reshus hayachid to reshus harabim and vice versa, throwing an item four amos in reshus harabim, and hoshata (transferring a chefetz from reshus hayachid to an adjacent reshus hayachid through a makom ptur). (Listed in the first Mishna in Perek Hazorek (96a)) It is a discussion amongst the Rishonim whether hachnasa, transferring something from a reshus harabim to a reshus hayachid, is an av or a toldah. (See Ramban 2b, Rambam Hil Shabbos)
- Shulchan Aruch 345:1, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 81:1
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 81:2
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 81:3
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 81:4
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 81:5
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 82:1. The derabbanan prohibitions of Hotzah include doing an akira without a hanacha (3a), a hanacha without an akira (3a), and Hotzah from reshus hayachid/reshus harabim to a karmelis (3b).
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 82:2
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 82:2
- Shulchan Aruch 346:1
- Shulchan Aruch 346:1 quotes two opinions on the matter. Birkei Yosef 346:1 explains that Shulchan Aruch rules like the lenient opinion. The Rama 372:6 is strict on the matter. Kaf Hachaim 346:17 writes that one should be strict in order to satisfy both opinions quoted in Shulchan Aruch, but that if the item was placed down in the exempt area before being transferred there is room to be lenient.
- Yalkut Yosef 345:4. For background see Introduction to the Modern Eruv.
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 82:3
- See Tosfot Shabbat 64b
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 84:1-2
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 84:12
- Shulchan Aruch 301:14, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 84:4, Mishna Brurah 301:52-3
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 84:16
- Biur Halacha 308:41 s.v. shelo forbids it as does Igrot Moshe OC 2:33. See Rabbi Akiva Eiger 1:28.
- Mishna Brurah 308:154, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 82:10
- Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen (The Shabbos Home, v. 1, p. 121) in the name of Rav Moshe Feinstein
- Rivivot Ephraim 1:223:14
- Or Letzion 2:23:7
- Sh"t Rivivot Ephraim 1:225
- Shulchan Aruch O.C. 301:11
- Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 18:27
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 84:2, Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 18:28
- Yalkut Yosef 301:31 and Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 18:16. Rav Mordechai Eliyahu (comments on Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 84:6) writes that one may wear glasses in the public domain, however, one who usually takes them off in the street shouldn't go out with them without an eruv.
- Yalkut Yosef 301:32, Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata 18:17.
- Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata perek 18 halacha 17
- Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata perek 18 halacha 16, Sh"t Rivivot Ephraim 1:227
- Yalkut Yosef siman 301 seif 33, Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata perek 18 halacha 17
- Yalkut Yosef siman 301 seif 34, Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata perek 18 halacha 18
- Halichot Olam Chelek 4: pg. 283
- Yalkut Yosef siman 301 seif 35, Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata perek 18 halacha 18
- Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata perek 18 halacha 18
- Yalkut Yosef siman 301 seif 35.
- Yalkut Yosef siman 301 seif 34, Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata perek 18 halacha 18
- Yalkut Yosef siman 301 seif 36, shmirat shabbat perek 18 halacha 18
- Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchata perek 18 halacha 18
- Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata (perek 18 halacha 14), Yalkut Yosef (siman 328 seif 328 and siman 301 seif 38). See footnote 39 there where he quotes Hacham Ovadiah, Rav Shlomoh Zalman Auerbach, Rav Henkin, and the Tzitz Eliezer who ruled leniently as well.
- Tosfot (Shabbat 65b s.v. hakiteya) even writes that on Shabbat it is permitted for someone who needs a cane to walk to go out with it to a public domain on Shabbat since it is like shoes for him. Rashba (Beitzah 25b s.v. ein) and Ran (Beitzah 14a s.v. gemara tanu) agree with Tosfot. The Shitah Mikubeset (Beitzah 25b s.v. vekatav mori) quotes the Radvaz who argues with Tosfot but concludes that he doesn't feel confident to reject the ruling of Rabbenu Tam that it is permitted. Shulchan Aruch OC 301:17 accepts the opinion of Tosfot.
- Mishna Brurah 301:64
- Mishna Brurah 301:65. Birkei Yosef 301:3 writes that if it is muddy out and one wants to use a cane not to slip one may not use a cane except in a private domain.
- Mishna Brurah 301:66 writes that it is forbidden to walk with a cane in an eruv if there's no purpose for the cane because it is a desecration of Yom Tov (see Beitzah 25b).
- Rav Paalim 1:25, Minchat Yitzchak 2:114, Shemirat Shabbat Khilchata (ch. 34 fnt. 101)