Halacha for Wednesday 23 Iyar 5781 May 5 2021

Walking a Dog on Shabbat

Question: If one has a pet dog at home, either for leisure or as a seeing-eye dog for a blind individual, may one move it on Shabbat? Similarly, may one walk the dog in the street on Shabbat?

Answer: We have explained in the previous Halacha that all animals are considered Muktzeh on Shabbat as Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch rules (Chapter 308) and it is absolutely forbidden to move them or pick them up with one’s hands on Shabbat (Responsa Yabia Omer, Volume 5, Chapter 26). It is certainly forbidden to pick up a dog or cat on Shabbat.

Nevertheless, if one is not actually lifting the dog with one’s hands and is merely taking it for a walk while it has a collar around its neck and is bound by a leash, according to the letter of the law, there is room for leniency, especially when there is a need to do so, such as regarding a blind individual who requires the assistance of a seeing-eye dog; such an individual may walk with his dog on Shabbat while holding onto the leash which the dog is attached to. Hagaon Harav Moshe Stern zt”l (in his Responsa Be’er Moshe, Volume 2) and the great Rishon Le’Zion, Hagaon Harav Yitzchak Yosef Shlit”a (in his Sefer Yalkut Yosef) rule likewise. Indeed, Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 305, Section 5) rules explicitly, as follows: “Leashed animals, such as hunting dogs or small animals which have a kind of collar around their necks with a ring attached to the collar through which a strap is inserted and the animal is pulled using the strap, may go out on Shabbat with the leash around their necks and one may pull them using the leash.”

If there is no Eruv in the area and it is thus forbidden to carry anything in a public domain, some more details apply. Although it is permissible to walk a leashed dog since the leash is meant to protect it and is considered like a garment, not a burden which may not be carried on Shabbat (and one may therefore pull the dog in any direction one wishes), nevertheless, when there is no Erev, one must hold onto specifically the end of the leash so that one Tefach (approximately 8 cm or 3 in.) of the leash does not protrude from one’s hand. One must also be sure to use only a short leash, for if one uses a long one, sometimes the dog will come close to its owner and the leash will sag to within one Tefach off the ground, which is likewise forbidden. (We cannot delve into the rationale behind these laws at this juncture.) One should therefore use a short leash and hold it at the edge. (See Chazon Ovadia- Shabbat, Volume 3, page 124 and Shemirat Shabbat Ke’Hilchata, Chapter 27, Section 8)

Summary: If one raises a dog at home, although it is forbidden to move the dog with one’s hands on Shabbat, when necessary, one may take the dog out for a walk on Shabbat while a leash is attached to it. There is especially room for leniency regarding a blind individual who requires the assistance of a seeing-eye dog. If the neighborhood does not have an Erev, see above for more pertinent details.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Washing One’s Hands with Water from the Mediterranean Sea and Water Which has been Desalinated

Question: If one is at the beach and wishes to eat bread but has no water to wash one’s hands with, may one wash one’s hands using the water of the sea or ocean? Salty Water Answer: Regarding the laws of washing one’s hands for a bread meal, the Mishnah and Gemara teach us that......

Read Halacha

Immersing One’s Hands in Sea Water

We have explained in the previous Halacha that if one is on the beach and wishes to eat bread, one may not gather some sea water in a vessel and wash one’s hands, for sea water is salty and thus invalid for Netilat Yadayim. Immersing One’s Hands in a Spring, the Sea, or a Mikveh Howe......

Read Halacha

Washing One’s Hands in the Restroom

Question: Is it permissible to wash one’s hands (Netilat Yadayim) in the restroom or shower room? Answer: Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 4) rules that one who exits the restroom requires Netilat Yadayim. Maran Ha’Chida writes that this is because of the evil spirit which rests......

Read Halacha

Listening to Music or Words of Torah in a Room Which Has a Bathtub or Shower in it

Question: May one recite holy words (words of Torah, prayer, or blessings) in a room with a bathtub or shower in it? Similarly, may one listen to holy songs or Torah lectures in such a room? Answer: There are two primary points which must be addressed: Firstly, whether or not one who is bathing a......

Read Halacha


The Eight Levels of Tzedakah

The Rambam (Chapter 10 of Hilchot Matenot Aniyim) writes that there are eight levels included in the Mitzvah of Tzedakah with each one being greater than the other. The highest level of Tzedakah is by helping to support a Jew who lacks his basic needs by providing him with money by means of a gif......

Read Halacha

The Mitzvah of Tzedakah and Donating a Tenth of One’s Earnings

By popular demand, we shall now discuss the topics of Tzedakah and donating a tenth of one’s earnings more broadly based on the words of Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch and the Poskim and based on what is written in the works of Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l on this topic. Question: ......

Read Halacha

Food Items Touched by One Who Did Not Wash One’s Hands in the Morning

In the past, we have explained the obligation for one to wash one’s hands from a vessel every morning upon awakening from his sleep. We have also explained that when one awakens from one’s sleep in the morning, an evil spirit rests on one’s hands, for sleep is considered one-six......

Read Halacha

Question: Are those who customarily donate a tenth of their monthly income to Tzedakah permitted to deduct the cost of providing for their children still living at home from the sum of this ten percent?

Answer: We have previously discussed that one must donate a certain amount of Tzedakah annually. It is a “middle” level for one to give a tenth of one’s monthly profits every month. Now let us deal with our question regarding those who donate a tenth of their monthly profits to Tze......

Read Halacha