Shabbos Elevator vs Shabbos Subway

Question

If a Shabbos elevator is permissible [by some learned rabbis] what is the problem with riding a subway when the passenger does not have to pay to enter and is not making or breaking any electrical circuit?

10 months

Answers

  1. There is a Teshuva written by Rav Uziel, the Rishon LeTziyon – Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel regarding the possibility of using the public tram system in Bombay, India, on Shabbat. According to Rav Uziel it is forbidden. His psak is based on the fact that even if it were feasible to set up a system that does not use more fuel each time another person gets on it, and that there was a way of circumventing the problem of payment, and the additional problem of the tram stopping only for you, there is still the issue of Marit Ayin.
    Marit Ayin is an action that, even though permitted, may look to others as if it is forbidden. A classic example is an Orthodox Jew walking into a store on Shabbat to ask the time – someone else might see him and assume that he had gone in to the store to buy something. Therefore, the whole time that the majority of transportation systems are run on the normal basis, the issue of Marit Ayin will always exist.
    It is interesting to note that it took a long time for Shabbat elevators to become an accepted norm, for exactly this reason.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team