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Jogging and Shabbos

The Color of HeavenArtscroll
Topic: Jogging, Shabbat

Michael Sultan from Vermont wrote:

I am in the habit of regular jogging...every other day. My jogging frequently ends up on a Saturday morning. I am interested to know whether jogging, or exercise for that matter conflicts with the spirit of Shabbat. The jogging is done solely for health purposes and often involves quiet reflection in pleasant surroundings. Thank you for providing this forum...Shalom.


Dear Michael,

Generally speaking, running on Shabbat is forbidden unless you are running to do a mitzvah or for pleasure. The first thing that we need to clarify in your case is whether running is pleasurable for you, or is it unpleasant, but you are doing it because you know that it's good for you. If it is unpleasant, then it would be forbidden because of the Rabbinical prohibition against non-essential health care on Shabbat. If it is, in fact, enjoyable, then it would appear to be permitted. Rabbi Neuwirth in "Shmirath Shabbath Kehilchatha" writes that he heard from Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, shlita, that if the person enjoys the exercise it is permitted for him to do it on Shabbat.

There are other halachic considerations that are not being taken into account. For example, you could not carry a stop-watch or a water bottle during your run. Of course, you can't wear those shoes that light-up each time you take a step! When you return, there would be problems taking a shower in a normal fashion. It would probably be greatly preferred if you could arrange your jogging schedule for Friday afternoon and/or Saturday night.

A friend of mine told me of a novel twist to an old Jewish saying. He was once walking to Shul on Shabbat when he found himself overtaken by a middle aged, Jewish jogger. The jogger was sweating profusely and clearly tired out, and as he passed my friend he turned and said, "Oy, its shver tzu zein a Yid!" (Woe, its hard to be a Jew!).

Sources:

  • Shulchan Aruch - Orach Chaim, 301:1-2.
  • Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan - Mishneh Brura 301:7.
  • Rabbi Yehoshua Neuwirth - Shmirath Shabbath Kehilchatha (Hebrew edition) - 16:39 note 99.


 
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