Umbrella On Shabbat

The Daily Halacha Moment - Umbrella 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 umbrella on Shabbat?


Answer:

It is prohibited to open or use a previously opened umbrella on Shabbat. There are several issues with using an umbrella on Shabbat:

a. One is making an ohel. [1]

b. An umbrella is considered muktzeh. [2]

c. Some poskim add that it is also an issue of “uvdin de’chol” – doing an act that is not in the spirit of Shabbat. [3]

d. If there is no eruv in the city then it is also an issue of carrying without an eruv. [4]


Sources:

[1]. Michtam LeDavid, Pardo, O.C. 1, explains that this is the issue of making a temporary ohel on Shabbat, and is similar to the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch 301:40. The Biur Halachah, 315:8, “Tefach” states that those who allowed opening umbrellas on Shabbat equated umbrellas with a kind of chair mentioned by the Gemara which resembled modern-day folding chairs. The Gemara ruled that one may open such a chair on Shabbat, even though he creates a "tent" over the area underneath the chair, because the chair is a single piece that requires no assembly, and one merely pulls the seat down to open the chair. Seemingly, this rationale should apply to an umbrella, as well, since opening an umbrella entails merely extending it outward, and not any kind of assembly or construction. The Biur Halachah explains though that there is a difference between the case of a folding chair and that of umbrellas. The Gemara allowed opening a folding chair because one does not open it for the purpose of using the seat as an ohel to protect him from the rain and sun. An umbrella, by contrast, is intended for the specific purpose of protecting one from the rain or sun, and therefore indeed constitutes an ohel. This is also the ruling of the Nodah BeYehudah, Tinyana, O.C. 30. Nodeh BeYehudah also adds that it is even prohibited to have it open before Shabbat, since it is an issue of Marit Ayin, and people will think that one opened it on Shabbat. Even though the Chidah in Birkei Yosef 315:2 and others state that there is no issue of Marit ayin in things that the Chachamim did not specify as being Marit ayin, most poskim rule that it is nevertheless prohibited to open it from before Shabbat and carry it.

Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 3, p. 39 and vol. 5, p. 307; Yechaveh Daat 2:43; Halichot Olam, vol. 4, p. 3 explains that even though in general it is permitted to have an ohel that is being held up by a person, just as it is permitted to hold up a tallit on Simchat Torah over the heads of those who get an Aliyah, an umbrella is different since its main purpose is to protect one from the rain, and one is using this ohel in the regular manner in which it is designed for.

See also on this subject in Aruch HaShulchan 215:18 and 301:113.

[2]. Ben Ish Chai, Shemot, 2:8; Kaf HaChaim 315:3.

[3]. Chazon Ish 52:6. However, see in Igrot Moshe, O.C., vol. 4, 105:3 and Ohr LeTzion, vol. 2, 28:1 who state that the main issue is because of ohel.

[4]. Birkei Yosef, Shiyurei Berachah 315:1.


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