A few news sources have been reporting on Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner's having been granted rabbinic permission to drive on Shabbat after Ivanka's father's inauguration as president. (See, for example, here).

Without knowing any of the details surrounding this (such as who was the posek), what are the sorts of circumstances that might have been factored in? The article in The Forward mentions their "safety", but doesn't elaborate as to how this could possibly be a case of pikuach nefesh. Might there be other factors as well?

  • 4
    I can't imagine any factor but Pikuach Nefesh (theirs or others) being relevant. Driving on Shabbat, at least in a classic gasoline-combustion engine, is unquestionably a biblical prohibition.
    – Double AA
    Jan 19, 2017 at 23:26
  • possible dupe judaism.stackexchange.com/q/13181/759
    – Double AA
    Jan 19, 2017 at 23:30
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    On example that comes to mind (although I don't see how it's relevant) is the Talmudic passage in Rosh Hashanah 21b that allows for travelling on Shabbes to testify concerning the new moon.
    – Shimon bM
    Jan 19, 2017 at 23:30
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    @doubleAA,This has been reported inaccurately,the article that is going around mentions someone else driving the car they are just passenger(still assur in classic halachic texts) but very different than actual driving the car
    – sam
    Jan 20, 2017 at 0:47
  • The crux of the question seems to be the following. Even if we accept that they have to be driven in order be secured (which makes perfect sense) are they allowed to put themselves in a situation (going to the inauguration events) on Shabbos that they know will probably/surely lead to a situation in which they will have to be michallel Shabbos? We do a similar thing when a woman is pregnant and due/overdue, she doesn't find a place near the hospital for Shabbos. Instead she stays at home with the knowledge that when labor starts she will be michallel Shabbos by travelling to the hospital.
    – Mark A.
    Jan 20, 2017 at 2:26

1 Answer 1


If they are not driving, and if a non-Jew opens and closes the doors for them, then the halachic issues are relatively minor.

Under such circumstances, in cases of significant need or hardship, rabbonim will sometimes permit being a passenger in a car even without any actual issue of pikuach nefesh (risk to life).

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    can you source that please,because what I have seen elsewhere in the poskim says otherwise
    – sam
    Jan 20, 2017 at 14:31
  • @sam, sourcing the absence of a problem is tricky. There is obviously no direct melacha involved in merely being a passenger in a vehicle. The main problem would be amira l'akum, which is subject to numerous exemptions. Thus, Rav Bodner writes (Halachos of Refuah, p. 124) that a choleh sh'ain bo sakana may directly ask a non-Jew to transport him for medical treatment. I am personally aware of a case where a rav permitted a couple undergoing fertility treatment to make use of a non-Jewish car service on Shabbos (scheduled and paid for before Shabbos, of course).
    – LazerA
    Jan 20, 2017 at 14:42

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