Sunday, May 3, 2009

Plastic Go-Carts and windmills on Shabbos

Over the past few weeks more and more kids in my area have started playing with these plastic go-carts on Shabbos. We live in a religious neighbourhood which is supposed to be free of cars on Shabbos (that’s another blog post perhaps). The community is on a hill that begins at the top with buildings and a single road that go all the way down to the bottom. The kids have just caught on to the fact that the road is perfect for go-carts.

A month ago there were two kids on go-carts on Shabbos. Today there are 8 or so kids. Who knows next month? The kids play on these things from morning until evening. They don’t seem to realise and the parents don’t seem to care that these contraptions make a noise like a motorbike with a broken exhaust as they roar down the road, echoing from every hill. The kids speed down the hill, pick the go-cart up and walk back up to the top. Then off they go again.

Our Shabbos afternoon shloof has all but disappeared with these roaring monsters racing past our bedroom window every few seconds. I’m sure that there is a halachic issue here as well? Chaza”l banned bicycles but not kid’s tricycles. There is a machlokes regarding scooters (korkinets) but none of these things make much noise. Unlike these go-carts!

See Orach Chaim 252:5 where the Rama writes that preferably a Jew should not allow his windmill - or any other noisy machine - to be operated on Shabbos because of zilzul Shabbos, degradation of the Shabbos. I’d prefer a windmill to these go-carts any Shabbos!

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