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Rollerblades on Shabbat

Category: Shabbat // By Rabbi: הרב ירון אשכנזי // Answer date: 18.01.2021

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Question:

My good friends Bar mitzvah is happening this Shabbat. He lives across town and it is at least a three-hour walk. My neighbor is making a Shalom Zachor on Friday night so I cannot stay by my friend. I was wondering if my family can roller blade over to the Bar Mitzvah on Shabbat morning.

Answer:

No, there are many issues with rollerblading. One is that it is exercise. Another issue is that it is Uvdah D’chol, making Shabbat like a weekday, and disgraceful to Shabbat.
There are three opinions why rollerblading on Shabbat is forbidden. These reasons are given for why riding bicycles on shabbat is forbidden. The Poskim bring Gemara in Shabbat 19a:
The Sages taught: One may not set sail on a ship fewer than three days before Shabbat, to avoid appearances that the Jew is performing a prohibited labor on Shabbat. In what case is this statement said? In a case where he set sail for a voluntary matter; however, if he sailed for a matter involving a mitzva, he may well do so.
The Gemara says it is forbidden to go on a sea voyage within three days of Shabbat because you may get stuck on the boat. What is the problem with being on a boat on Shabbat? Bdieved, if one was stuck on a boat it is not forbidden, however, to plan it or to be careless and up on a boat is a problem for numerous reasons. The Mishna Berura lists a few reasons why. Some say it is because we are worried you might end up doing some Melacha. Rabbeinu Chananel said I because of a problem of Techumin, you may travel outside of Techum Shabbat. The Rif says it is because it is a problem of Oneg shabbat. The rocking and saying of the ship ruins Oneg Shabbat.
This opinion is a bit hard to understand though. It is the seasickness which takes away a person’s Oneg Shabbat. Riding a bicycle or rollerblading is fun and enjoyable, even if a bit strenuous sometimes, but doesn’t make you sick. However is another problem with cycling is that it is exercise and exercise is forbidden on Shabbat as it says in Shulchan Aruch 328:42. Although this type of exercise is not for any type of Refuah but for enjoyment. However then this would fall under the prohibition of MImtzo Cheftzecha, of not running on Shabbat. As it says in Shulchan Aruch 307: The Magen Avraham writes that where running is Oneg for the person , like by a child it is permitted. He says anything forbidden because of Mimtzo Cheftzecha is permitted if it s Oneg for them. One may rely on the Magen Avraham if needed.
Another reason given for not riding a bicycle is that he might come to fix a bicycle if it gets broken. It is normal to have to repair a bicycle whose riding. A chain can come off to the seat might need to be aligned. Rollerblades do not need to be fixed generally, so according the opinion it would be fine.
The main problem with bicycling is the fact that it would be disgraceful to Shabbat. The Ramban writes that any activity which is very weekday, meaning that makes Shabbat feel like a regular day is forbidden. Rav Nissim Karelitz, R’ Scheinberg, The Sefer Orchot Shabbat all say riding a bicycle would be a big disgrace of Shabbat and therefore it is forbidden. The Shemirat Shabbat Kihilchoto quotes R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach that skating would also be a disgrace of Shabbat. However he qualifies that if everyone in the area would roller-skate/blade it would be fine because then it is not a disgrace.
So in an emergency situation rollerblading is better than doing Melacha. Even if there was no Eiruv you wear them so you are not carrying them. However in normal situation ,going to a simcha , it a disgrace to rollerblade on Shabbat it would be treating Shabbat like a weekday.

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