May One Use An Elevator On Shabbat?

The Daily Halacha Moment - Using An Elevator On Shabbat 🏘


״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)


Question:

May one use an elevator on Shabbat?


Answer:

In general, one should not use an elevator on Shabbat, even if the button was pressed by a non-Jew. One who needs to use an elevator on a constant basis should only use the types of elevators that are halachically approved. In cases of need, such as if one is ill or unable to walk, then one may use an elevator even without any specific halachically approved mechanisms, provided that no buttons are pressed and that the door is not held open by a Jew. [1] This is also the case when using an escalator. [2] Some customs vary, one should follow one's custom.


Sources:

[1]. Minchat Yitzchak 3:60 Chelkat Yaakov 3:137 forbid using even automatic elevators on Shabbat. The main reasoning is that the rider's additional weight in the elevator cabin causes the elevator to work harder, thereby causing its motor to draw more current.

Even though this view is disputed, and Igrot Moshe O.C. 2:80 and 2:95 who seems to agree that riding an elevator is essentially permissible. Minchat Shlomo, vol. 1, 91:10 also states that he does not see the reason to forbid using an elevator on Shabbat. The opinion of Chacham Ovadia Yosef is that one should not use an elevator without halachic approval unless one is ill and finds it difficult to walk, and ensures that no buttons are pressed. See in Yabia Omer 11:24 who permits entirely, and makes no differentiation between going up or down in an elevator, in Halichot Olam, vol. 4, p. 158 he states that one should be stringent unless one is weak or ill. Even then, he states that one should be stringent and not go down in the elevator if that is possible. Chacham Yitzchak Yosef in Teshuvot HaRishon LeTzion 1:31 and Yalkut Yosef, Yom Tov, p. 226 concurs with this view, and states that one should be stringent unless one is ill.

[2]. See Teshuvot HaRishon LeTzion, vol. 1, p. 100; Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, vol. 5, p. 195.


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