Questions About Shabbos - Part 1

Q. I was under the assumption that walking a certain distance was prohibited on Shabbat. Are there extenuating circumstances for emergencies? Does that mean someone cannot walk/run a certain distance or is exercising okay because it promotes good health?

A. Thanks for your question. There are indeed exemptions for emergencies, by which we mean life-saving circumstances. In fact, all Torah prohibitions can be suspended in order to save a human life except for murder, idolatry and illicit sexual relations (like incest and adultery).

One is allowed to walk for pleasure on the Sabbath, but one is not permitted to exert oneself, such as through power walking, running or lifting weights. These activities may "promote health" but one would not be endangered by skipping a day. In fact, one is supposed to have a "rest day!"


Q. If a woman fell asleep and missed candle lighting, what to do next week and so on?

A. Thanks for your question. If someone misses candle lighting (which, in this case, she did), the practice is to add a "penalty candle" every week going forward. For example, if she normally lights two candles, she should light three from now on; if she lit five, she should now light six, etc. If the cost of the extra candle presents a financial difficulty, an authority should be consulted.


Q. Can a person shower on the Sabbath according to the Holy Bible?

A. Thanks for your question. We don't shower on Shabbos but showering itself is not Biblically prohibited. Showering is rabbinically prohibited because many of the things that showering involves necessitate Biblical prohibitions, such as heating the water.


Q. If it is not allowed to drive on Shabbat, how people can go to the shul?

A. We walk!

Orthodox Jews generally live within walking distance of their synagogues. If they can't walk, they can daven at home. (Going to shul is nice to do, and recommended under most circumstances, but driving on Shabbos violates a Biblical prohibition.)

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