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How far am I allowed to walk on Shabbat?

How far am I allowed to walk on Shabbat?

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Because driving, biking, blading, skateboarding or other device-driven means of transportation are prohibited on Shabbat, we walk rather than commute to synagogue. However, even walking on Shabbat has its limits.

Jewish law sets the maximum walking range from one’s city to 2,000 cubits (3,049.5 feet, 0.596 miles (960 meters). [However, this measurement starts 70 2/3 cubits (112.24 ft.) from the city limits.] Practically speaking, this means that you may not walk a straight line more than .598 miles (3161.74 ft.) in any direction in the wilds outside your city limits.

"City limits" are not defined by the map you carry in your glove compartment.

According to halachah, unless there is more than 70 2/3 cubits between one house and the next, all contiguous housing is considered to be part of the same city. Therefore at times it would be permitted to walk even from one city to the next, as long as the whole way is populated. This can be complex, and a rabbi should be consulted before planning a long trek on Shabbat.

Written by Mendy Hecht of Brooklyn, New York
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Vera BC Canada June 27, 2017

Where in the Holy Scripture can I find this? I know I've read it before about distance allowed to travel on the Sabbath. Reply

Non Jewish guy Dothan, AL January 6, 2018
in response to Vera :

I believe it is a compilation of both Joshua 3:4 & Exodus 16:29

"Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it [the Ark], in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.”-- Joshua 3:4

And

"See! The LORD has given you the Sabbath; therefore on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Remain each of you in his place; let no one go out of his place on the seventh day.”-- Exodus 16:29

I am guessing that the part in Joshua that says, "in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before” is used to define the way you shall go on Shabbat (to the synagogue for a holy convocation), and to tell you the forbidden journey outside your place (the way that you have not passed before). And the part in Exodus in which states, "let no one go out of his place on the seventh day” is correctly used to define the town in which one is residing as "your place." Reply

Simcha Bart for Chabad.org June 4, 2017

Do not be discouraged. G-d is happy to hear your prayers wherever you are. The beauty of Judaism is that it is portable - you can pray anywhere and anytime, as G-d doesn't live only in the synagogue - He listens to your prayers wherever you are. You can connect with G-d at home or anywhere else and at any time. This also means that Shabbat is not the only time you can or should visit your local Chabad - you can attend services and classes during the week as well when distance is not an issue. Reply

John Illinois June 5, 2017
in response to Simcha Bart for Chabad.org :

Thank you Reply

John Illinois June 2, 2017

I live 1.8 miles from the nearest Chabad. I am very discouraged about participating because of the distance. Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for Chabad.org January 27, 2017

Central Park is within city limits and therefore poses to issue for techum. Reply

Anonymous Far rockaway January 24, 2017

Is crossing central park a tchum issue? Reply

Simcha Bart for Chabad.org September 11, 2016

Hiking and Backpack In addition to the 2,000 cubit limit in the article above - which would limit your hiking to a bit over half a mile (not much of a hike I would imagine) - one may not carry any item outside an enclosed area on Shabbat - see here about this. This would include not carrying a backpack and water on a hike on Shabbat. In short, you would not be able to hike over a half mile, and even on that short distance, you may not carry anything with you. Reply

Anonymous Brooklyn, NY September 11, 2016

Hiking Is hiking while carrying a small backpack containing water allowed on Shabbat, such as hiking in the Vermont mountains? Reply

Ike Brklyn September 10, 2016

Is hiking All!owed on shabat? I was hoping to hike in the mountains of vermont? Reply

chevion June 24, 2016

it would take me 2 hours to walk to synagogue and 2 hours back, I live in a town that is a 2o min drive from the city where my synagogue is... what should I do ? How can I get their for Shabbat? Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for Chabad.org November 12, 2013

To Yochanan from London The 2,000 cubit limit is the total distance outside the city. Within that limit, you may walk back and forth as many times as you'd like. Walking to shul within city limits shouldn't ever be a problem.

Riding a bus, however, is a problem, even if you aren't paying for the ride. Several reasons for this, but most importantly it is simply not in the spirit of Shabbat. Reply

yochanan London November 12, 2013

how far can I walk on shabbat? London is a big city (like NY)! Does this mean that as long as I stay within the 'city' boroughs of London, I could technically walk to a synagogues over the other side of the city (even though I'd probably need to set off Friday night - only joking).

Seriously; the limit of 2000 cubits, is that in either direction to and from shul or do you mean a 1000 cubits each way? Also does getting on a bus with a free bass/tube pass to go to shul constitute a violation of Shabbat as I am not transacting any business?
Reply

lishmor laasot new york September 14, 2013

heres a practical way of looking at it.... Don't go outside your cities limits ever no matter how big or small the city is, don't overly exert your body or legs on shabbat. Remember it to keep it holy. Do no task on that day to remember it. Just be a rest. An athlete can keep heart rate lower and more at rest on a brisk walk then a non athlete, but he must stay in city limits. A non athlete has different card, makes sense right? If the cup is dirty on the outside or on inside or both outside and inside, just clean the whole cup and make sure it's very clean on inside and out. Reply

Baruch Davidson Brooklyn May 10, 2013

Re: Walking in the City Within the city you may walk as far as you'd like, so walking to the Shul in your case, would be fine. Reply

Anonymous UK May 10, 2013

Help? I don't understand - it is ok to walk over 0.59 miles within the city? My synagogue is 1 mile away from my house, only a 20 minute walk. Reply

justin west orange, nj June 17, 2011

walking off a cruise ship to the port city assuming one is not carrying anything, what is issue with walking off a cruise ship on shabbat to the port city Reply

Yaakov August 25, 2009

Mr / Mrs Anon People associate mikvah with woman only, but all across the globe, many men have the custom (no obligation at all) to visit men's mikvahs each morning in preparation for a heightened morning prayer service.
Those who follow this custom daily may do so on Shabbat also.
It was so important to the early chassidim in Eastern Europe, that outstandingly pious individuals would break the ice on frozen lakes (not on Shabbat, of course) at the crack of dawn for this dip, and then spend hours in deep meditative prayer. If Russian winters could not deter these men, certainly a walk wouldn't. I have dipped in secluded lakes on Shabbat in rural areas for this purpose, as have a number of acquaintances (watch out for beavers...!). Reply

Anonymous Austin, TX August 24, 2009

Anon... is a woman. :) Why would it be that important for a man to go to mikvah on Shabbat? Otherwise, you are correct, Yaakov. I am aware of the practical difference between rabbinic and d'oraita (biblical), but not everyone is, for sure. The 2000 cubits starting from the house in question bit was helpful, though. Reply

Yaakov August 24, 2009

Source of prohibition Correcting a technicality is certainly important, but the difference between Biblical and Rabbinical is completely lost on the average reader and seems to make no practical difference to their need to know what to actually do - to walk or not to walk. Unless of course, you wish to specify where practical differences apply.
Far more important is clearly addressing Anon's practical question of how to walk on Shabbat, keeping within the "limit"...(see his list of Q.s.) Reply

Yehuda Shurpin Brooklyn, NY March 11, 2009

"this Mitzvah is usually not practicable!?" 2) The Author writes “Therefore, this Mitzvah is usually not practicable if you live in the suburbs…”I’m not sure what made him say this. The author himself wrote earlier: “[However, this measurement starts 70 2/3 cubits (112.24 ft.) from the city limits.].” It is in fact quite common in the suburbs, even in places like upstate New York, to find houses more than 112.24 feet apart. In fact, many people’s properties especially in the suburbs are larger than that.

And in answer to the previous commenter’s question about his walking to the “Mikvah,” this would mean that you start counting your 2000 cubits from your own house if there are more than 70 2/3 cubits distance between your house and the next. Reply

Yehuda Shurpin Brooklyn, NY March 11, 2009

2000 cubits is only RABBINICLY prohibited 1) The author writes: “Negative Mitzvah #321 sets the maximum walking range from one’s city to 2,000 cubits…” While Maimonides does indeed write this in his Sefer HaMitzvot, in his Code of Jewish Law, Laws of Sabbath 27:1 he “changed his mind” and writes that 2,000 cubits is only rabbinicly prohibited and that the BIBLICAL prohibition is 12 Mil (1 “Mil’ = 2000 amah\cubits). See also the Shulchan Aruch Harav Siman 396:1, where he explains at length that the 2,000 cubits limit is only RABBINICLY prohibited. Reply

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