If a baby’s crib is outside and the sun is disturbing him am I
permitted to cover the crib with a blanket?
Covering a crib with a blanket or shade involves the prohibition of
tent erecting, which is a part of the melacha of Boneh –
Construction. Even if one were to erect the shade temporarily it would
involve a rabbinical prohibition.
The same would apply to covering a pram or stroller in order to block
out the sun and one has to be aware of the halachos involved.
What is the correct method for covering a crib?
There are quite a few ways with which to correctly shield a crib etc.
Was covered a
The halacha says that if an area was covered at least
a tefach before Shabbos one may complete the covering on
Shabbos. Therefore the first suggestion is to place a
sheet/blanket/canopy on the crib before Shabbos in a way that it
covers a tefach and on Shabbos continue and cover according to
The same applies to a baby carriage or stroller.
Two items, which
are within 3 tefachim of each other and the gap between the
two cover an area of at least a tefach, constitute a tent and
permit covering the remainder of the area.
The Mechaber presents this halacha in the form
of beams covering a boat deck where for this reason one is permitted
to cover the entire deck. This option is more presentable in the case
of a crib then a carriage, where one may position two beams or poles
above the crib before Shabbos in the required manner mentioned, and
cover the entire crib on Shabbos.
This case applies itself to a porch covered with a pergola
where there is less than three tefachim between each beam.
Often these beams may already be a tefach wide which would
sanction covering the porch even if the beams were more than a three
tefachim apart from each other.
A canopy was
attached to the crib or carriage before Shabbos.
The Rama in Hilchos Succah
says that one is permitted to open and shut hinged flaps
that are used for covering the succah when raining. The Chazon
learned from here that this would likewise apply to a canopy
connected to a baby carriage. Since the canopy is attached to the baby
carriage before Shabbos, it has the same status of being open a
tefach before Shabbos and one is permitted to fully open the
canopy on Shabbos. The same would apply to a canopy covering a porch
or balcony and accordingly one is permitted to extend such an awning
There are poskim
however who do not agree to this analogy and in order to
permit the extending of a carriage’s canopy on Shabbos they require
the canopy open a tefach before Shabbos. As usual one should
therefore ask one’s rav as to how to conduct oneself on Shabbos. Rav
Sternbuch Shlita said that the custom is to be lenient.
I want to prepare a tarpaulin to cover my succah to prevent rain
from entering, how is it done?
One is permitted to cover an already existing “tent” even though the
new covering will protect against things the first covering did not.
For example, a sunshade, as its name suggests, protects against the
sun but does little to protect against rain. Nevertheless, since the
particular area is already covered by a “tent” one may cover the
sunshade with a tarpaulin protection against the rain.
Therefore one may spread a tarpaulin over the schach of the
succah even though it will now prevent rain from entering the succah,
which the schach did not prevent.
precaution must be taken that the tarpaulin lies within a tefach
of the schach and not above that, because if a tefach is
formed between the tarpaulin and the schach it constitutes a
new “tent” and is forbidden.