The Eruv is Down! Now What?
CARRYING (HOTZA’A) AND DOMAINS
Transferring Object from Domain to Domain
On Shabbos (or Yom Kippur), you may not transfer an object between and among domains unless there is a city eruv (which allows carrying within the borders of the eruv).
NOTE: Domains may be of three types:
- Private Domain (reshus ha’yachid),
- Public Domain (reshus ha’rabim), and
Moving Items in Legal Public Area (Reshus HaRabim)
In a halachically public area (reshus ha’rabim) with no eruv, on Shabbos you may move a stationary object up to 4 amos (6’9 1/2″, or about 2 meters) from the place where you find it. If you are already transporting the object when you realize it, do whichever one of the following applies:
SITUATION: You are walking on Shabbos in a public domain (reshus ha’rabim) that does not have an eruv and find something in your pocket.
WHAT TO DO: If you were walking and are still walking, go back to the most recent private domain and leave the item there. (If you cannot reasonably get back to where that was, continue to your destination and drop the item inside the first private domain you reach.)
If you have already stopped walking, drop the item where you are.
If you had stopped walking and then resumed walking, drop the item where you are.
The prohibition of carrying does not apply to what one is wearing. A garment for wearing is called a garment if it has the form of a garment and one wears it in the way that people normally wear it, or, even if it does not have the form of a garment, but one wears it for the purpose that a garment is worn, that is, one does with it a garment-type of usage, then it is included in the category of “garment” which when worn does not constitute carrying. Example, if it is worn to protect the person from the heat or the cold or the rain or for any other protection from discomfort and the like, then this is called a garment-type of usage.
Protecting one’s clothes from the rain or from any kind of soiling, etc, is not called a garment-type of usage, and therefore, is not called wearing according to halacha. The item must be worn to protect the person, not the clothing.
Therefore, it is forbidden to go out without an eruv, with a cloth or plastic bag covering one’s hat to protect it from the rain. A plastic rain bonnet commonly worn by women is permitted to be worn without an eruv. Rubbers over shoes are permitted for both men and women.
It is likewise permitted to wear a bandage outside on Shabbos without an eruv, as it is a garment-type of usage, protecting the person.
Carrying a Key on Shabbos
Although it is forbidden to carry in public on Shabbat, a person is obviously allowed to wear his clothes out of doors. Walking about wearing clothes is not “carrying” since the clothes are considered a part of the person. This extends to items which are clearly subordinate to one’s clothes – such as a belt, suspenders, safety pin, shoelaces. Even though you are not exactly “wearing” such things, they are helping your clothes stay on properly and so are considered a part of them.
This would extend to a key as well if you “wear” it. How does one wear a key?
There are two common methods. One is to fashion a tie clip out of a key, in which the top part of the clip is actually a key. Note that this would only work if your tie would be loose otherwise. If you are wearing a sweater or vest which holds down your tie, the clip would be serving no purpose and could not be considered a part of your clothes (The Shabbos Home, p. 130).
The second common method is to use your key as a belt buckle. This would involve removing the tongue of your belt and attaching your key in its place. Other similar methods might be replacing the buckle with a key, attaching a string to the other side, and threading the string through the hole at the top of the key to fasten your belt. As you can see, such methods require some ingenuity.
Note that such contraptions will typically have to be fashioned before Shabbat, since creating them may involve other forms of Shabbat labor – such as gluing or tying.
Note also that these methods will generally only work for a single key. I have seen people carry a ring with several keys attached to it in which one of the keys was holding their tie down. This is not correct. The entire addition to your clothes must be functioning as a part of them.
Make sure you are already “wearing” your key before leaving your house, and while entering it since it is forbidden to carry from a private to a public area. (You will then take the key off for a moment to lock/unlock your door, and then re-attach it before continuing.)
Wheelchairs, Canes & Crutches
Wheelchair – if you can’t walk on your feet, you are allowed to use a wheelchair. With an Eruv – anyone can push you. No Eruv – a Jew is not allowed to push you. Cane and crutches – if you can walk without them they can’t be carried without an Eruv, if you can’t walk without them – you can take them with you outside the Eruv.
Carrying in the Mouth on Shabbos
You may not carry items in your mouth outside a private domain or an eruv on Shabbos.
Outside a private domain or an eruv, you may not carry food in your mouth that you were eating when you left your house.
You may not chew gum in a public area without an eruv.
Carrying Children on Shabbos outside Eruv
You may not carry children on Shabbos in a public domain without an eruv.
SITUATION: An eruv breaks or is down on Shabbos.
WHAT TO DO: Do not tell someone who is carrying a child, pushing a stroller, or in a similar situation that the eruv is down.
NOTE: If a person is not carrying a child, pushing a stroller, etc., tell him or her that the eruv is down.
Wearing Watch with No Eruv
You may not wear a non-decorative watch on Shabbos where there is no eruv or if you have the custom of not relying on eruvs. If you would wear your watch as a piece of decorative jewelry even if it did not work, you may wear it on Shabbos even without an eruv.
Wearing Collar Stays with No Eruv
You may wear collar stays on Shabbos even where there is no eruv.
If You Do Not Use the Eruv
If you do not normally carry on Shabbos even in an area with an eruv, you may not ask another Jew to carry something for you. But if the other Jew does carry an item, you may use it.