On Shabbat, in places where there is no communal eruv (or for those who do not rely on a communal eruv), taking your house key with you when you leave your home is a problem of carrying. One workaround is the use of a key belt. This is a belt worn as clothing, in which a removable house key functions as an essential component of the belt.

If you use this workaround, what do you do when you get to your front door? Do you detach the key from the belt? Leave it attached but unbuckle the belt? After unlocking the door, can you just go in, or do you need to re-buckle the belt? In general, are there any issues to be aware of?

  • Doesn't this depend on the layout of the door? The rules are the same for any other object: don't transfer it between domains, and don't move it 4 cubits in a public domain. None of us know what your door, doorframe, overhand, hallway, yard etc. look like, so how could anyone answer this question?
    – Double AA
    May 18, 2014 at 2:35
  • @DoubleAA, people can answer thus: "If the doorway locked with the key is between different r'shuyos, then.... If it's not, then...."
    – msh210
    May 18, 2014 at 4:28

3 Answers 3


from http://doseofhalacha.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/a-key-issue.html

The Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa (18) writes that if the front door opens onto the street, one must open the door while still ’wearing the key’. R’ Yitzchak Yaakov Weiss held that if the keyhole doesn’t go all the way through to the other side of the door, one hasn’t placed the key into a Reshus Hayachid. Providing the other side (inside) of the keyhole is covered, one may remove one’s Shabbos belt and open the door.


Most front doors I'm familiar with — but certainly not all — are not the boundaries between two r'shuyos (such as a r'shus hayachid and a karm'lis). Thus, there's no problem walking in while carrying a key. Since people using the key belt as a belt normally need a belt, however, they will nonetheless want to (reattach the key if they'd detached it) and close the belt. And they must be careful to not walk between r'shuyos carrying.

In case the doorway is the boundary between two r'shuyos, it's okay to use the key anyway. However, if the keyhole passes through to the indoors, then one must use the key without removing the key from the belt or the belt from his body, as the keyhole is considered r'shus hayachid. One should also be careful not to stand in one r'shus and reach into another with the key to unlock a door.

Source for this all (except for my advice "Since people… need a belt, they will nonetheless want to… close the belt"): Sh'miras Shabas K'hlchasa 18:49.

  • There is no excuse for using key belts today. Number locks are available and cheap.
    – preferred
    May 18, 2014 at 11:10
  • 2
    @preferred Not everyone can install number locks on their doors...
    – Double AA
    May 18, 2014 at 13:20
  • msh210, are there any situations in which a door could be a boundary between two reshuyot?
    – paquda
    May 23, 2014 at 20:55
  • @paquda CYLOR, but I guess if it opens directly onto a sidewalk. I have seen such (I think. I didn't examine them carefully. Try Google Maps for the west side of Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn, just north of... Avenue X? Y? Z? somewhere around there.)
    – msh210
    May 23, 2014 at 23:47

My Posek told me that:

  • If you are not in the same Reshut as your door then you have to be careful, as you cannot carry the key from one Reshut to another.

    • You cannot insert a key into the lock, if the hole goes all the way through. (I.e. you can peep through the keyhole.)
      • This is called a חורי רשות היחיד and inserting anything into them from the street is forbidden.
      • You would have to create a halachic Reshut-hayachid extension in order to unlock your door.
    • If the hole doesn't go all the way through - like most flat & thin keyholes, then you can unlock the door and re-attach the key-belt before entering.
      • This is called חורי רשות הרבים.
  • If you are in the same Reshut as your door, then you do not have to worry about all the above.

BTW: Even if your front door is not at the street, but you have an open-lobby before the front door, you may have a problem of changing Reshut. This is called צידי רשות הרבים.

  • so.... does a porch or stoop count as a reshut assuming there's a 90 degree or so step all around? Jun 18, 2014 at 15:13
  • @CharlesKoppelman - I doubt a single step would do it - you usually need 10 Tefachim in height to change / create a Reshut. But of the porch has a roof and some low (10 Tefachim) walls, then maybe it would qualify. Jun 19, 2014 at 8:15
  • I very well may be wrong, but I thought it was the 10-tefachim-over-4-amot slope that mattered, not the height. Jun 19, 2014 at 14:15
  • @CharlesKoppelman: Look in the Kitzur at 81:2 - the height is the main factor. But, if you have a slope/steps then you can accumulate 10 tefachim of height within 4 Amot horizontal space. Jun 22, 2014 at 9:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .