Halacha for Wednesday 25 Tevet 5780 January 22 2020

Various Dangers- A Car on the Road

In the previous Halachot, we have discussed the positive Torah commandment for one to make a railing around one’s roof so that no one falls from there.

After explaining this Mitzvah, the Rambam (Chapter 11 of Hilchot Rotze’ach U’Shmirat Nesfesh) adds: “Similarly, it is a Mitzvah to remove any object which poses a danger to one’s life or the life of others and to be extremely cautious from it, as the verse states, ‘Watch yourself and guard your soul.’ If one does not remove this object and leaves this and other objects which pose a danger to others, one has nullified a positive commandment and transgressed the negative commandment of ‘And you shall not put blood in your home.’”

Based on the above Rambam, it is a negative Torah commandment to leave around anything which poses a danger, such as an obtrusive object in one’s yard which may cause others to trip over it and fall or leaving a faulty ladder in one’s house which may cause one who climbs on it to fall, for the Torah commands us not to place anything in our homes or property that can cause death or bodily injury. Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat, Chapter 427, Section 8) rules likewise.

Thus, the great Rishon Le’Zion, Moreinu Hagaon Harav Yitzchak Yosef Shlit”a, writes in his Yalkut Yosef, (Sova Semachot, Volume 2, page 395) that one may not leave an uncovered, live electrical wire in one’s yard, for someone may touch it and, G-d-forbid, be electrocuted. One must likewise take care not to leave a weak or faulty fence standing in one’s yard. We can derive from here that one who has an uncovered electrical outlet in one’s home (when the cover falls off) must cover it immediately so that a child does not touch it and, G-d-forbid, get electrocuted.

Along the same lines, the great Poskim Hagaon Harav Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss zt”l  and Hagaon Harav Shmuel Ha’Levi Wosner Shlit”a (quoted by the Yalkut Yosef, ibid, page 396) write that one must take great care while driving one’s car and not drive at dangerous speeds. One must also make sure that the car’s breaks and other integral systems are in working order so that one does not endanger himself or others.

One who parks his car very close to the crosswalk in a way that creates a blind spot for other drivers who will not be able to see the pedestrians crossing and thus endangers them transgresses the prohibition of “And you shall not place blood in your home”; even if no accident results, one has still nullified a positive Torah commandment.

We must point out that based on the above, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l was very much not in favor of those who ride motorcycles that reach very high speeds, for this method of riding is intrinsically dangerous; even when there was a need for one to do so, Maran zt”l would advise people against this at all costs.

Once, some Hatzalah members riding motorcycles came to visit Maran zt”l at his home. When seated at his table, they asked Maran zt”l to speak about the importance of the Mitzvah of saving lives that they were so involved in. Maran zt”l focused most of his talk on the dangers of riding a motorcycle and how important it was to avoid riding them as much as possible. He likewise warned them not to drive at high speeds so that they would not endanger themselves or others while endeavoring to save a life.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Lighting the Chanukah Candles

The Mitzvah of Lighting Chanukah Candles There is a Mitzvah to light Chanukah candles throughout all eight nights of Chanukah (beginning from next Thursday night). The Sephardic custom is to light one set of Chanukah candles per house. The Ashkenazi custom, however, is that every member of the hous......

Read Halacha

Melaveh Malka

Question: Is one obligated to eat bread on Motza’ei Shabbat for the fourth Shabbat meal which is also referred to as “Melaveh Malka” (meal escorting out the Shabbat Queen)? Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Shabbat (119b) tells us that one should always set one’s table nicely......

Read Halacha

The Customary Order of Rosh Hashanah

It is customary to eat certain symbolic foods during the two nights of Rosh Hashanah which signify good fortune for the entire upcoming year. It is therefore customary to eat black-eyed peas, pumpkin, leek, spinach, dates, pomegranates, apples dipped in honey, and meat of a sheep’s head on the......

Read Halacha

Moving an Electric Blanket or Fan on Shabbat

Question: May one use an electric blanket (heating pad) on Shabbat or is it prohibited to be moved due to the prohibition of Muktzeh? Similarly, may one turn a fan to another direction on Shabbat? Answer: In the previous Halachot we have discussed several laws of Muktzeh on Shabbat which are obje......

Read Halacha


A Tool Used for Work Prohibited on Shabbat

In the previous Halachot, we have discussed the basic laws of Muktzeh on Shabbat which is that there are certain objects our Sages prohibited moving on Shabbat. Utensils or tools which are used for types of work that are permitted on Shabbat may be moved for any purpose. Thus, one may move forks, kn......

Read Halacha

“Muktzeh Due to Monetary Loss”

In the previous Halachot, we have discussed several laws regarding Muktzeh which are certain objects that our Sages prohibited moving on Shabbat. As of yet, we have discussed three types of Muktzeh: “Utensils used for work permitted on Shabbat”, such as forks, knives, and the like, wh......

Read Halacha

Moving Books and Newspapers on Shabbat

Question: Is one permitted to move or read medical books or phonebooks on Shabbat? What is the law regarding reading newspapers on Shabbat? The Opinion of Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch Regarding Reading Books on Mundane and Forbidden Topics Answer: Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 307, S......

Read Halacha

The Blessings on Thunder and Lightning

One who sees lightning recites the blessing, “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’Olam Oseh Ma’aseh Bereshit.” One who hears thunder recites the blessing, “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melech Ha’Olam She’Kocho Ugvurato Maleh Olam.” Until When Can On......

Read Halacha