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  • Shabbat and Holidays
  • Eruv and Carrying

Carrying a baby on Shabbat with no Eruv


Rabbi David Sperling

Sivan 14, 5779
Hi, We are intending on going for a holiday overseas. On Shabbat we are supposed to eat at the kosher "Beit Chabbad" but in order to get there from the hotel, we must walk in a place with no Eruv. Do me and my young baby must stay in the hotel through the Shabbat and not go to the meals? or is there any way I could join with my baby?
Shalom, Thank you for your question. You are correct in thinking that in a place with no eruv it is forbidden to carry things, and this includes children. There is a difference between a child who can walk and a baby who cannot walk. A child who can already walk by themselves may walk outside where there is no eruv. If such a child gets tired (or decides that they just will not continue walking), then an adult may carry them (as long as they are still awake). One is not allowed to arrange such a situation – and one may only take a child out for a walk if the child could be expected to walk the distance, and then if they happen to tire out they may be carried. This is based on the halachic concept that carrying someone who can walk is not a Torah prohibition, rather only a Rabbinic one (and therefor may be put aside for the special needs of the child who cannot be left to fend for themselves in the public area). Carrying a baby who cannot yet walk (or a child who is asleep) is considered as regular carrying, and is forbidden. For this reason it is not allowed to carry, or push a baby carriage, in a place that is not surrounded by an eruv. (Of course if there is a medical situation the halacha takes this into account and makes allowances for illness etc). There are perhaps certain leniences involving using a non Jew to carry a baby where there is no eruv – but these are generally employed only in special cases of need, and not for holiday situations. Because of this you will not be able to take the baby to the synagogue from the hotel or back again. You should organize to get the meals in advance to your hotel room – or see if there is a place to stay with the baby inside the Beit Chabad itself. Or, change your Shabbat plans to be a city with an eruv. May you have a great holiday – and much “naches” from your baby. Blessings.
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