Is it Mutar to trap human beings on Shabbos?

This would be relevant to a number of cases such as: 1) putting a young child in a crib 2) handcuffing a thief to a pole until the authorities come 3) Holding back a child who is in a fight 4) Someone senile who got lost and has to be brought back home 5) If a husband was attempting to flee and leave his wife without a get

(If anyone has any more good scenarios feel free to add them to the question)

  • the first one would be no different than domesticated animals, which are not "trapped" on Shabbat when you close the pen around them
    – Menachem
    Jan 1, 2018 at 6:09
  • @Menachem That may depend on the age of the child. Once the child is about two it would seem to be equivalent to the cases of animals that are Assur Miderabanan to trap. See Rama on 316:12 with Mishna Berura.
    – Eliyahu
    Jan 1, 2018 at 6:15
  • 3
    At best this would be rabbinic since humans aren't normally hunted, and probably the rabbis never made such a gezera, I'd guess.
    – Double AA
    Jan 1, 2018 at 7:03
  • @Eliyahu that is specifically wild animals and birds (haya and of) to me it would seem a child is closer to a domesticated animal (behaima) (see chabadlibrary.org/books/adhaz/sh/sh2/1/316/25/index.htm ) and if the child is wild we probably will consider him a Mored (one that rebelled) ;-) (the ramo sefaria.org/… )
    – hazoriz
    Jan 1, 2018 at 15:06
  • @hazoriz Just to clarify, you would say that a rebellious child would be Assur but an obedient child would be Mutar, yes?
    – Eliyahu
    Jan 1, 2018 at 15:08

2 Answers 2


Regarding locking a child in a room R. Eliezer Waldenberg (Tzitz Eliezer vol. 15 §41:1) states that "trapping" does not apply since humans are not hunted and the prohibition of hunting is not applicable when "כל שאין במינו ניצוד פטור" (i.e. a species that is not hunted one is not liable; Shab. 106b). He further bolsters this given by arguing that despite the position that trapping species which are typically not hunted is still "פטור אבל אסור" (not liable but prohibited; cf. Shulchan Aruch 316:3), the SA rules (ibid .12) that it is permitted to entrap an animal or bird that is domesticated and obedient. Likewise, a child cannot be considered any less obedient which does not either entail hunting or capturing, rather it is considered watching, not hunting.

The same argument can be applied to restraining a thief; it would be considered watching and not hunting.

  • 1
    Thanks. Why do you think the thief case is called watching and not trapping? By that logic it would seem that it should be trapping and Patur Aval Assur.
    – Eliyahu
    Jan 1, 2018 at 15:57
  • 2
    @Eliyahu Perhaps, except that humans are generally obedient and not hunted and therefore לא פלוג. But I'm only assuming so. TE quotes R. Platsky that was undecided if one would be liable for capturing/restraining a POW or a runaway slave. In CO, which I referred to in the comment to sam, R. Yosef cites a Shevut Yaakov who permitted the restraining of a husband who attempted to flee and leave his wife.
    – Oliver
    Jan 1, 2018 at 16:06

Chacham Ovadia holds there is no issur of Tzeida (trapping) by humans (Cf. Yalkut Yosef 316:2).


איסור צידה אינו שייך באדם, ולכן הדבר פשוט שמותר להורים לסגור את הבית במנעול אף שהילדים נשארים לבדם בבית בעת שההורים יוצאים מהבית. [ילקו''י שבת כרך ב' עמוד תקמ]

Possible reasoning: the Rama 339:4 brings the Bais Yosef in the name of the Shiublei Haleket that one should not put someone in jail or give malkus on yom tov or shabbas since that's like judging which we don't do on shabbas. So one can say that since tzad wasn't mentioned as an issue for putting someone in jail then it must be that ein tzad b'adam.

Text of Rama: אין דנין:

הגה: ולכן אסור לתפוס ולהכניס לבית הסוהר מי שנתחייב איזה עונש כדי שלא יברח וכל שכן שאסור להלקותו דהוה בכלל דין ואם יברח אין עלינו כלום (בית יוסף סוף סימן רס"ג בשם שבולי הלקט)

  • YY was written by R. OY's son, R. Yitzchak Yosef (mostly based on the former's rulings). A source for R. Ovadia's ruling on this matter would be his own Chazon Ovadia Shabbat vol. 5 107ff.
    – Oliver
    Jan 1, 2018 at 15:59
  • Whem I write "writes" its a colloquial term,since they are his psakim,whether he wrote or not.
    – sam
    Jan 1, 2018 at 16:00
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    I understand but such a "colloquialism" can lead to contradictions since much (if not all; I don't recall offhand) of R. Ovadia's Chazon Ovadia series was published after the YY series and not all rulings are consistent between the two.
    – Oliver
    Jan 1, 2018 at 16:12

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