Kenneth Cohen

Interesting Shabbat Law

One of the prohibitions related to Shabbat laws, is that it is forbidden to carry an object from a private domain to a public domain, or vice versa.

In addition to this law, one may not carry an object 4 cubits, or around six feet in a public domain. This is learned under the category of Halacha Le’Moshe Misinai, taught orally by Moshe on Mount Sinai.

The Mishna explains that in order to have completed this violation, one must pick up, known as עקירה, in one domain, and putting down, or הנחה in the other domain. The question asked was whether the prohibition of carrying four Amot, in a public domain, also included Akira and Hanacha. And if it does, where is this Akira and Hanacha?

Let’s say, for example, someone is standing in a public domain, and he notices that he has an object in his pocket. He is not allowed to carry that object for six feet. But where is the picking up and putting down?

The answer is simple but not very well known. The act of walking with the object, is equivalent to עקירה, picking it up. And stopping to walk with the object is equivalent to הנחה, putting it down.

Technically, if one doesn’t stop walking until the end of Shabbat, he has not transgressed this commandment. This is a very interesting Halacha, that needed some clarification.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at