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Driving To The Hospital On Shabbat Part 2

The Daily Halacha Moment - Driving To The Hospital On Shabbat Part 2

״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)

“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


What are some halachot if one needs to drive to the hospital on Shabbat?


When driving to the hospital via a Jew or by themselves by car one should be aware of the following halachot:

a. The shortest possible route to the hospital must be checked and planned. One does not have to go to the closest hospital if the more distant hospital is superior.[1]

b. Exact change for any possible tolls should be prepared and placed in the car from before Shabbat.

c. The car which will be driven must be parked on erev Shabbat in a place where it will not be blocked by other cars or other obstructions.[2]

d. Before Shabbat one should set the car that the lights should not go on when opening the door, if this is an option.[3]

e. The car should have a full tank of gasoline.[4]

f. One should use the car that is the most energy efficient.[5]

g. The air conditioner and radio should be on the “off ” position before Shabbat or before turning on the car.[6]

h. Driver’s license, registration, and other documents that are required for driving or that will be needed at the hospital should be placed in the car before Shabbat.

i. One should turn the car on with a shinuy, such as holding the key in an awkward manner (such as using the other hand to turn the key).[7]

j. One should bring a cell phone along in case of emergency.[8]

k. One should buckle his seatbelt before turning on the car to avoid turning off the “fasten seatbelt” light once the car has been turned on.[9]

l. Where there is no eruv, clothing, food, and other items that will be needed at the hospital should be placed in the car before Shabbat. Upon arriving at the hospital, one should try to find a non-Jew to transport all of one’s belonging to the hospital from the car.[10]

m. If the hospital is out of the techum of the city or if there is no eruv, one should remove any belongings in the car that are not necessary for the woman before Shabbat (including items in the trunk and glove compartment.[11]

n. One is obligated to drive according to all the laws of the country that one is in. Therefore, one must stop at stop signs, red lights, and cross walks. Similarly, one should turn on his headlights to see properly when driving.[12]

o. Once one arrives at the hospital emergency room, the car may be parked, but the ignition and the lights may not be turned off. One may also not close the door after opening the car. One may ask a non-Jew to take the car, park it in a safer spot if needed, and return the keys after Shabbat or place them in a safe place. (See Igrot Moshe Y.D. 4:45.) [13]

Adapted From R' Yonatan Nacsons "Laws Of Shabbat"


[1]. Kaf HaChayim 330:4; Tzitz Eliezer 13:55; Shevet HaLevi, vol. 8, 88:3; Orchot Shabbat, vol. 2, 20:29. See also Igrot Moshe, E.H. vol. 4, siman 73; Yad LaYoledet, p. 45. Shemirat Shab bat KeHilchatah 33:8 and Torat HaYoledet, pp. 73, 75 who state that one may not drive to a further hospital on Shabbat only because of financial or religious concerns (such as kashrut of the food).

[2]. Torat HaYoledet, p. 34.

[3]. Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, vol. 4, p. 294.

[4]. Torat HaYoledet, p. 34.

[5]. Torat HaYoledet, p. 104.

[6]. Torat HaYoledet, p. 35.

[7]. Yad LaYoledet, p. 45.

[8]. Torat HaYoledet, p. 125

[9]. Torat HaYoledet, p. 38.

[10]. Yad LaYoledet, p. 41; Torat HaYoledet, p. 142.

[11]. Torat HaYoledet, p. 36.

[12]. Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 3, p. 321. See in Nishmat Avraham, vol. 5, p. 176 and Shul chan Shlomo, Refuah, vol. 1, p. 191 who state in the name of Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach that when driving one should not attempt to use any sort of shinuy, since by doing so one may be putting himself and others in the car in danger since one will not be able to concentrate properly on the road. See also Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchatah 40:61.

[13]. Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 3, p. 320-321. Regarding shutting off the lights of the car, it is preferable to ask a non-Jew to ask another non-Jew to shut off the lights if possible, since it is preferable to minimize the melachah to a shevut d’shevut.

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