Oct 14, 2009

Chumra of the Month

Someone told me about this chumra that was used during this past chol hamoed of sukkos...

It is prohibited to use a taxi (in Israel where the taxi drivers are jewish - maybe a solution would be to use an Arab taxi driver) for transportation during chol hamoed. A bus is allowed, because that is public transportation and tzorchei tzibbur is ok, but a taxi is private and therefore not allowed. It is not allowed because you are forcing the driver to work on chol hamoed, which is not allowed.

To me, this chumra makes no sense.
  1. the taxi driver is allowed to work because of davar aveid. the prohibition of working on chol hamoed is not definite, as it is on shabbos, and he has enough hetterim to work that it should not be considered that you are forcing him to do something wrong.
  2. For him to drive you somewhere on chol hamoed is almost always going to be tzorchei moed, and therefore allowed.
  3. if it were so, it would not be allowed to walk into any store to buy anything or perform any melachos, which is not the case.
I only heard about it after the fact, but I am told that the person who suggested it was hesitant to actually use a taxi because she was worried about the possible issur she was causing. I don't know if she was convinced otherwise or not...


  1. How about the "Ban Against Texting" "those who possess cell phones with text messaging capability, stating that such individuals should not daven in his bais medrash." there is alway room for meaningless chumros and charamim see http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/coffeeroom/topic/ban-against-texting

  2. Taxis are צרכי רבים according to R Shlomo Zalman.

  3. legally they are also defined as public transportation, even though it is only an individual (or a family) who uses it at any given time

  4. if driving a taxi is a maase uman then tzorchei hamoed doesn't allow it only davar haaved. Then it would only be permitted if the driver (not usually) or the passenger (more common) has a davar haaved. If it is maase hedyot then letzorech hamoed it is also ok.
    Since the distinction btw maase uman and maase hedyot is not so clear, it isn't so surprising that someone would suggest that it is maase uman. Not everyone knows how to drive and it does require special training. On the other hand plenty of people drive unprofessionally. (Driving a large truck or an airplane would be more likely to be considered maase uman).
    I assume it is maase hedyot, vechein ama dabar.

    However, if you are machmir not to go in a taxi for tzorech hamoed then you can't go in any car letzorech hamoed!
    Having a goy doesn't usually help, because you also can't ask a goy to do melacha asura for you on the moed.

    The other possible problem with taxis if you use the tzorech hamoed hetter is that the shu"a paskens that tzorech hamoed is only muttar when it is for free not for payment. But the mishna berura mentions the opinion that the restriction is only when it is possible for free, but if he can't do it himself and the workers will only do it for pay then he can pay.

    In shu"a siman 539, rema says that a merchant not working is davar haaved b/c he will never make up for lost business on that day. Magen Avraham says that is even for a storekeeper.
    See Biur halacha there, that this is only for masa umattan not melacha. For melacha it isn't considered aveid. So, that wouldn't make a davar haaved for the driver. But, let's say that he is in debt and if he doesn't pay back or his debt grows then he has more interest to pay, then it is a davar haaved (biur halacha ibid.), so he would be permitted to work. In Israel that is probably a high percentage of drivers and any other workers for that matter.

    Re tzorchei rabim, that is an interesting point, each taxi can be for anyone. If no taxis, then nobody gets around. This can be proven from digging wells in the gemara, even though each cup of water is for a different person it is still tzorche rabim. However, there the digging of the well benefits everyone, here this actual trip only benefits the specific passenger.
    Acc, to this sevara, any uman should be able to make himself available for the moed, because many people may need him, and if no umanim worked on the moed then all of the people would have him e.g. mechanics etc. doing things which aren't davar haaved.

    Where is this RSZA opinion printed?

  5. I think that this restriction is appropriate for Sukkot, since we read Kohelet, which includes the line "והכסיל בחשך הולך".

  6. 1) This is def not a case of davar haaved. Davar haaved means that a person will lose NON-chol hamoed business. All the taxi driver loses by not working is the money from chol hamoed. That is not davar haaved - that is always what happens when you dont work.

    Davar haaved means he will lose long t erm clients, or he will get fired, or something of the sort.

    2) Its not comparable to working in a store in which there is no melacha being done. Mekach U'Memkar is not "as" assur as the melacha of driving. Mu"M is not a deoraissa even on shabbos, where as driving is.

    3) Does tzorchei rabbim enable the driver to take money for his work? Maybe he is allowed to do the melacha, but who said you are allowed to pay him? Is he a po'el she'ein lo ma le'echol?

    I had a similar shaila with my buildings cleaning guy. Hes Russian so I was hoping that he just wasnt Jewish, and I am not asking that he works for me on CH.

    4) Another thing to consider is if you can ask for a receipt, which requires that he prints something up. If you lose bc of it, its one thing, but just stam, are you allowed?

  7. anon -

    1. it can still be a davar aveid - a driver who will lose his regular clients because he is not available for them that week and they find other drivers, for example.

    2. I am assuming, as is more often the case, that melacha is being done in a store. lights being turned on, writing, computers being used, money being transferred (kinyan? muktze? etc.) and other forms of melacha. But you are right that it is possible to open the store and do business without necessarily doing melacha.

    3. if he would be allowed to work, why wouldn't he be allowed to take the money?

    4. printing out of a computer is muttar as far as I know and is not comparable to writing. maybe some hold otherwise, but I have heard this a number of times from various rabbonim

  8. Rafi G -

    1) So teh driver can drive JUST his regular clients. Not any Berel who is going on a tiyul

    2) Once I am in the store, its tzorchei moed to turn on the lights. Same as if I am at home.

    Kinyan is not a melacha and most poskim say that there is no issue Muktze on CH

    3) There are 2 problems, one is doing melacha, and one is hiring a worker. Just because you can do melacha, doesnt mean that you are allowed to pay for a service , ie hire a worker.

    4) Printing is not so pashut. I have heard the opposite, in fact. Typing is OK, since its not a kiyum, but printing is a problem - like writing is.

  9. OK guys - get a grip. If this is the case then we should fill are cars up with gas because even if we use self serve, the delivery truck comes 1-3 times a week (especially during peak travel times like chol hamoed). so by our filling up, we are causing the tanker driver to have to work and I'm sure there are tons of other cases.
    Beside that, Taxis are indeed public transportation here in Israel and in every city in the world - they fill the gap that buses can't fill for those people without PRIVATE cars. That's why taxis are regulated. Private would be to rent your own car.

    I'm still waiting for the chumras to love your fellow jew more.

  10. Hey daf -

    Heres one - the Vilna Gaon paskens that you should give a CHOMESH (2 maasers) of your money to poor people.

  11. Looking for rich wifeOctober 15, 2009 10:18 AM

    I thought it was asur to work the whole year, not just on chol hamoed and shabbat?

  12. Looking - "work" is a four-letter word

  13. Just One Segula and We'll All Be FreeOctober 18, 2009 8:31 AM

    I heard that if you put a coin into the Kupat Hair or Vaad Artzi kupa inside his taxi then it will br muttar to kol hadaios.

  14. How about the following chumra: It's forbidden to ride any taxi or bus with a secular Jewish driver, any time of year, during the first half of the week (motzash-Tuesday). Because the driver has presumably not said havdalah and you are making him violate his "tosefet shabbat".

    Of course, I only mentioned this to show that if you really want to live according to all the chumras, your live will very quickly become absurd.


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