What if a wallet is found on one’s person when in the street on
In the previous
shiur we cited the Mishna Berura
saying that if one finds money or a purse in one’s pocket when
indoors it should be disposed of immediately. If however a loss
might be incurred, there are precedents to rely on and one may
continue with the valuables to a safe room and dispose of it there.
When this scenario
transpires outdoors, if there is no eiruv, additional
rules apply when it is discovered that one is carrying outdoors
without an eiruv:
do not continue walking.
If moving, do
not stop, continue walking.
What are the reasons for this?
There are two types
of ‘carrying’ – carrying from a reshus hayachid (private
domain) into a reshus harabim (public domain) and vice versa
and carrying more than 4 amos
in a reshus harabim. In this context, a carmelis
and a reshus harabim share similar rules.
Carrying as per
above is not considered a complete violation unless a further
circumstance is realized, identified as akira and hanacha.
Akira means to lift or begin transporting and hanacha
means to set down.
is accomplished either by raising an item from the ground or if it
is already on one’s person, to walk with it.
is brought about either by placing the item on the floor or ground
or by standing still, when the item is already on one’s person.
A violation of
carrying incorporates akira of an item from a reshus
hayachid, transferring it to a reshus harabim or
carmelis and doing hanacha therein.
So if I’m stationary?
If, when outdoors,
one realizes that one is carrying something in a pocket and one is
stationary, if the item is insignificant like a tissue or a
candy, it must be discarded within 4 amos.
Walking with it in one’s pocket risks a violation of a biblical
prohibition and is forbidden.
If the item is
valuable or significant, one may walk and stop every ‘less than four
amos’. The Mishna Berura
cites an opinion who holds that standing motionless every 'less than
four amos' is insufficient; rather one should either sit down
or place the item on the floor. By doing so one is not transferring
the item four amos at once in a reshus harabim and a
biblical prohibition is avoided.
that it is very risky to do so, as one is on the verge of violating
a severe prohibition, Chazal were not in favor of this method
unless one would incur a loss by leaving it in the street.
But what must I do when I reach my house?
It is indeed a
problem, because transferring the item from the reshus harabim
to the reshus hayachid involves an issur. Seeing
that a loss is involved, Chazal permitted the transfer by
throwing it with a shinui (a backhanded action) into one’s
private domain or any other safe place. A shinui would be
turning around and throwing it over one's shoulder.
Another way out is to place the item between one's shirt and body or
in one's shoe or beneath one's hat and carry it into the reshus
These are all methods of carrying b'shinui.
But why would Chazal permit an issur?
masters of human nature and appreciated that if one was prohibited
from safeguarding possessions, one would violate the Shabbos
They therefore devised a method by which it could be done with a
minimum violation. Consequently, when the loss is minute it should
be avoided altogether.
What if while I was in motion I realized I
was carrying an item?
Don't stop!! By
stopping dead in your tracks, an instinct born when realizing that
one is carrying b'issur, one is putting hanacha into
effect. Continue walking and plan the next move.
If the item is
insignificant and can be discarded, one should do so with a
shinui (as above) in order to do hanacha b'shinui. If
the item is in one's hand it should be dropped, not placed. If
in a pocket, the pocket should be turned out.
If the item is
valuable and one does not want to discard it, one should
continue (as above) until one reaches a safe place and throw it
b'shinui into the designated place or placed beneath
one's hat, as above. The Mechaber
states that one runs towards one's house in order to remember
that hanacha and akira is forbidden.
One should not
stop before one's house, as that is hanacha, rather while
in motion one throws it into a safe place.
mentions other options, such as handing the item to a gentile or
child or using two people to change every 'less than four amos',
but in the scope of this shiur, justice cannot be done to the