Community Rabbis Ask

Umbrella on Shabbat



Umbrella on Shabbat

I was asked from someone who prays at the same synagogue in Canada whether  an older person who is not so well can walk with an umbrella on Shabbat? The person can walk himself but the concern is if he gets wet he might get sick and at his age it could be dangerous. Can he come to pray with a minyan with the umbrella on a stormy winter  Shabbat?

Green Israel



To the questioner, 

Heaven forbid. 

We must always begin to weigh a question with the foundational rule: What does Hashem want? He has prohibited us to use an umbrella on Shabbat. And so it is prohibited. 

Now the question of going to the synagogue is a separate question. But the answer is that it is not permissible to do something which is prohibited in order to pray with the  minyan. 

The person who is older and finds himself in a risk of danger if he gets sick, should realize that this means that Hashem does not want him to go to pray with a minyan under such circumstances, and every minute that he stays home, he receives reward for the pain that he has of not being able to go out and at the same time fulfilling the mitzva of “protecting one’s soul [in the body]”. It is a similar case to someone who unwillingly was just not able to pray with a minyan, that the Talmud says – because he wanted to, he receives reward as if he had actually prayed with the minyan.

He should just try and make sure to pray in his house at the same time that the minyan is praying at the synagogue, and then his prayer is included with theirs.

Best wishes  for a Good Shabbat and success.