The Laws of Running on Shabbat
The verse in Yeshaya (Chapter 58) states: “If you shall turn away your foot because of the Shabbat, pursuing your business on My holy day and call the Shabbat a delight, to the Holy [day] of Hashem, honored; and you shall honor it by not making your ways, nor pursuing your business or speaking of it.”
Based on the text, “And you shall honor it by not making your ways,” our Sages in Masechet Shabbat (113a) expounded, “Your mode of walking on Shabbat should not be like your mode of walking during the weekdays.” (Some say that our Sages learned this from the beginning of the verse, “If you shall turn away your foot because of the Shabbat.”) Thus, one should not run on Shabbat, whether it is a light jog or a fast sprint. The Rif, Rosh, Tur, and Maran HaShulchan Aruch all rule likewise, as we have mentioned in the previous Halacha.
The Sefer Minchat Chinuch writes that when our Sages said “Your mode of walking on Shabbat should not be like your mode of walking during the weekdays,” they meant that one’s mode of walking and behavior on Shabbat should be different from that of the rest of the week as the Sefer Shenei Luchot HaBerit writes that one must be more meticulous about his actions on Shabbat than during the rest of the week and one should also be more alert and fearful not to transgress any prohibitions on Shabbat. One must understand the great sanctity of Shabbat, for the reward for every Mitzvah performed on Shabbat is double and triple than the reward for those performed during the rest of the week. The opposite holds true as well: The punishment for every sin performed on Shabbat is double and triple than the punishment for those performed during the rest of the week.
Running to Perform a Mitzvah
The Gemara in Masechet Berachot (6b) states: “Rabbi Zera said: Originally, when I would see Torah scholars running to learn Torah in the Bet Midrash on Shabbat, I would say that they were desecrating the Shabbat until I heard Rabbi Tanchum saying in the name of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, ‘One should always run to a Halacha matter, even on Shabbat, as the verse states (Hoshe’a, 11), “After Hashem they go, like a lion does He roar.’” We see that one may run on Shabbat to perform a Mitzvah. However, with regards to riding a bicycle, we have already mentioned in the previous Halacha that Maran zt”l rules that one should act stringently in this regard, even if one is going to perform a Mitzvah.
In the following Halacha, we shall discuss some detailed laws regarding this topic.