24 – Children

01. The Mitzva of Ĥinukh, Educating One’s Children

It is a Torah commandment to teach Torah to children. Thus we read: “Teach them to your children” (Devarim 11:19). The primary objective of this teaching is to ensure that the children observe all the Torah’s instructions: “Study them and be careful to do them” (Devarim 5:1). Therefore, the Sages stated that alongside the mitzva to teach children Torah is the obligation to educate them toward mitzva observance. For how can they be taught the mitzvot without getting used to keeping them in practice? Thus, there is a Torah commandment both to teach children Torah and to accustom them to keeping the mitzvot in general. Nevertheless, the actual observance of specific mitzvot by the child is a rabbinic obligation.

A child should be educated to keep the positive commandments from the time that he can understand what the mitzva involves, and can properly observe it. Thus, the appropriate age for each mitzva varies in accordance with its complexity and the difficulty of its observance. For example, a boy should be educated about tzitzit once he knows how to put them on, can make sure that there are two sets of strings in back and two in front, and can recite the berakha. However, since one may only put on tefilin if he is able to maintain a clean body and utter concentration, a boy should only be educated about this mitzva shortly before his bar mitzva (Sukka 42a; MB 343:3).

The age at which we begin to educate children about mitzvot is about six or seven because that is when children start to study Torah in earnest and thus can begin to keep most mitzvot properly. This applies to berakhot and prayers as well. The age of ĥinukh is six or seven, as that is when most children can begin to do them properly. Nevertheless, we begin habituating them to recite berakhot and prayers from around the age of three, just as they start learning Torah at that age (BB 21a; Sukka 42a; SA YD 245:5).

The same principle applies to kiddush and havdala; from the age of three we begin to encourage the children come and listen. When the child understands the idea of Shabbat and can listen properly to kiddush and havdala, we make sure that he does so. If he is not present when kiddush or havdala is made, he should recite it himself.

02. Educating Children about Negative Commandments

It is a mitzva to train children to avoid prohibited activities from the time they begin to understand that certain things are permitted and certain things are prohibited. In other words, it is not enough that a child understands that he must stop what he is doing when he is told “no”; rather, he must understand that what he is doing is never allowed. Most children begin to understand this at approximately age three. From then on, if one sees his child engaged in a prohibited activity, such as eating non-kosher food or turning on a light on Shabbat, one must stop him from doing so (MB 343:3). Once the child reaches the age of ĥinukh – when we start teaching him Torah at about age six or seven – one should begin to explain more about the principles behind the prohibitions, so that he will know how to observe them properly.

There is no mitzva to teach one’s child who is younger than three to avoid prohibitions. Therefore, if such a child finds prohibited food and wants to eat it, or if he wants to turn a light on or off on Shabbat, one does not need to stop him from doing so. Similarly, if one’s small child is a kohen, and he goes to a place of ritual impurity (such as a cemetery), one does not need to stop him, since he does not understand the prohibition.

All of this refers to situations in which the small child is acting autonomously. In contrast, if an adult causes a child, even a day-old baby, to do something prohibited, the adult violates a Torah prohibition, for the Torah commands us not to cause a child to violate prohibitions. Thus one may not feed a child blood or insects or bring a young kohen into contact with ritual impurity (Yevamot 114a; MB 343:4). An adult may not even feed a child rabbinically prohibited food (SA 343:1).

However, it is not prohibited to give a small child an item that he might use in an impermissible fashion. For example, one may give paper to a small child on Shabbat even though it is likely that he will tear it and destroy letters that are written upon it, as giving him paper is not considered the same as instructing him to tear paper. However, one who puts non-kosher food into a small child’s hand, though, is considered feeding him, as this is the normal way to feed a child (MA; MB 340:14).

On Shabbat, there is an additional prohibition, for we are commanded not to have children undertake melakha on our behalf: “But the seventh day is a Shabbat of the Lord your God; you shall not do any melakha – you, your son or daughter” (Shemot 20:10). This means that if a child turns on a light because he thinks this is what his parents want, and his parents know and do not object, then in addition to neglecting the rabbinic mitzva of ĥinukh, they are also transgressing a Torah prohibition by having their child do melakha for them. If a child turns on the light for another Jew (other than a parent), who sees him doing so and does not object, that Jew transgresses rabbinically (SHT 334:54).

Even though we have seen that one may not feed a minor forbidden food, if a child is hungry or thirsty before kiddush or havdala or during a fast, then even after he has reached the age of ĥinukh, the adult may give him food and drink. It is only forbidden to feed a child food that is intrinsically non-kosher. If the food is kosher but rendered unfit by the time, a child who is hungry or thirsty may be fed (MB 269:1; above 6:9).

03. Who Is Obligated to Educate and Object?

According to some, the obligation of ĥinukh devolves equally upon the father and mother (Terumat Ha-deshen). However, most poskim maintain that only the father is obligated to train children to do mitzvot, that is, objecting when they transgress negative commandments and requiring them to perform positive commandments. This is an extension of the obligation to teach them Torah, which also devolves upon the father. Despite this, it is clear that the mother has a general mitzva to educate her children about Torah and mitzvot; the general commandment to love one’s fellow and the demand for truth obligate every mother to educate her children to cling to the holy Torah and observe its commandments. What is incumbent upon the father alone is the responsibility to meticulously educate about Torah and mitzvot (Ri; Maharam; Hagahot Maimoniyot). If no father is present, whether due to death or absence, then the mother is obligated to teach her children meticulously about the Torah and mitzva observance (Eliya Rabba 640:4; Kaf Ha-ĥayim 343:9).

Thus, if a child who has reached the age of ĥinukh (about six or seven) is involved in a game and does not want to come to hear kiddush or havdala or recite Birkat Ha-mazon, the father must insist, so as to educate him properly. However, the mother may occasionally ignore such breaches in order to maintain a pleasant atmosphere in the home. If the father has passed away or is absent, the mother must take his place and insist that her children become habituated to keeping the mitzvot.[1]

When parents neglect to educate their children and do not stop them from violating Torah law, the local beit din or public representatives who are responsible for local education must admonish the father. However, if the parents are negligent in educating their children about rabbinic obligations, there is no need to admonish the father.

The poskim disagree regarding what an adult must do if he sees someone else’s child of educable age (six or seven) desecrate Shabbat or eat forbidden foods. Some maintain that the obligation to educate children is the sole responsibility of the father, and nobody else is obligated to prevent them from sinning (Rambam; SA 343:1). Others maintain that all Jews are obligated to prevent children of educable age from transgressing (Tosafot; Rosh; Rema). Practically speaking, several Aĥaronim rule that if an adult sees any child transgressing a Torah prohibition – such as turning on a light or washing his clothes on Shabbat, or eating foods prohibited by Torah law – he must stop him. However, if one sees a child transgressing a rabbinic prohibition – such as eating chicken with milk, or playing with muktzeh items on Shabbat – he does not need to stop him (Ĥayei Adam; MB 343:7). It would seem that if a minor repeatedly transgresses the same prohibition, even if it is rabbinic, it is proper to inform his parents.

If a minor is in danger of harming someone or damaging property, one must stop him in order to prevent the harm or damage. This law is derived from the mitzva to return a lost object to its owner: “If you see your fellow’s ox or sheep gone astray, do not ignore it…restore it to him” (Devarim 22:2). If there is a mitzva to return another’s lost item, there is certainly a mitzva to prevent damage to his property. Similarly, we are told: “Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor” (Vayikra 19:16). According to the Sages, the mitzva of saving someone’s property is included in this mitzva (Sifra).

We must stress that the mitzva of ĥinukh must be done in such a way that the child will be receptive. Therefore, one should not force a child to begin keeping all the mitzvot and saying all the prayers properly at the age of six or seven. A child’s early years are meant to allow him to get used to praying and keeping mitzvot. This way, by the time children reach halakhic maturity at the age of bar or bat mitzva, they will be capable of keeping all the mitzvot properly.

[1]. All agree that a mother must educate her children about Torah and mitzvot. Part of the mitzva of “Love your fellow as yourself (Ve-ahavta le-re’akha kamokha)” (Vayikra 19:18) is enabling one’s child to benefit from engaging in Torah and mitzvot. The mother is also obligated on account of “Reprove your friend (Hokhe’aĥ tokhi’aĥ et amitekha)” (ibid. v. 17). Elaborating on this, the Sages tell us: “If one is able to object to the members of his household sinning but does not do so, he is held responsible for their sin” (Shabbat 54b). Nevertheless, the Torah tasked the father with the specific obligation to teach children Torah. If he does not wish to do so, the rabbinic courts can force him to pay for the education of his sons (SA YD 245:4). If he has no money to do so, he must sell his clothing or seek charity. The mother has no such obligation. Since the father is obligated to teach the children Torah, he is also obligated to make sure that they observe the mitzvot with precision. Thus, the father has a more demanding role – educating toward exacting mitzva observance – while the mother has a more general job – establishing a positive relationship between the children and Torah and mitzvot. This is the meaning of the verse: “My son, heed the discipline of your father, and do not forsake the instruction of your mother” (Mishlei 1:8). The Vilna Gaon (on Mishlei 20:20) writes similarly: “The son is taught Torah by his father. His mother guides him to do mitzvot and walk a straight path” (see Berakhot 17a). However, if the father is not present, the mother must take his place, dealing with ĥinukh in order to fulfill Ve-ahavta le-re’akha kamokha, tzedaka, and Hokhe’aĥ tokhi’aĥ et amitekha. (See Eliya Rabba 640:4; Kaf ha-ĥayim 343:9.) In some families, it is easier for the mother to be the demanding parent, while it is more difficult for the father. In such cases, it is a mitzva for the mother to take over the role of educating toward exacting mitzva observance.

04. The Prohibition for a Child to Turn Lights On and Off

If the lights went off in a home, and a child understands that his parents would be pleased if he would turn them back on, the parents must tell him not to do so. As we have already learned, parents have an obligation to educate their children to keep the mitzvot, and this includes preventing them from transgressing prohibitions. Even if a child is not yet three years old, which is generally the age at which we begin teaching children to avoid prohibited activities, the law is more stringent for Shabbat. As long as the child understands that turning on the lights would be helpful to his parents, it is as if he is doing it for them, and they must prevent him from doing it, based on the verse we cited above: “But the seventh day is a Shabbat of the Lord your God; you shall not do any melakha – you, your son or daughter” (Shemot 20:10). This means that we are commanded to make sure that children do not perform melakha on our behalf. Even if the lights went off in a neighbor’s home and one’s child goes over to turn on the lights for them, the neighbor must not allow him to do melakha for them.

Similarly, if a fire breaks out on Shabbat and a child attempts to put it out, whether at his parents’ home or at someone else’s house, he must be stopped from extinguishing it. Since the child understands that the adults want the fire to be extinguished, he is essentially doing the melakha for them, and thus they are obligated to tell him not to do so (Shabbat 121a; SA 334:25; MB ad loc. 66). Certainly, then, one may not tell a child explicitly to turn on a light or extinguish a fire; as we already learned, an adult may not cause a child to do anything prohibited (Yevamot 114a).[2]

Of course, if a child mistakenly turned off a light, it is important that no one yell at him in a way that will cause him to try to “correct” his mistake by turning the light back on. Even if no one yelled at him, but he simply wants to correct his mistake and turn it back on, he must be told not to do so.

If a child mistakenly performed a melakha on Shabbat (such as turning on the light), others may not benefit from it if he did it for the sake of an adult, but if he did it for his own sake, others may benefit from the light (BHL 325:10, s.v. “eino yehudi”).

[2]. If an adult tells a child to do a melakha on Shabbat or to violate any other Torah prohibition, the adult violates Torah law, since the Torah forbids causing a child to sin. If the adult tells the child to transgress on the rabbinic level, the adult is transgressing rabbinically (Yevamot 114a; SA 343:1). There is an additional stringency that applies to Shabbat. If a child is about to engage in a prohibited activity on Shabbat in order to help an adult, then even if the adult did not ask the child to do so, the adult must object. If he does not, he is transgressing. If the adult is the child’s father, he is violating Torah law; otherwise, he is transgressing rabbinically (SHT 334:54). Therefore, when it is permissible to ask a child to perform a rabbinic prohibition, it is preferable to avoid asking one’s own child, as will be explained in the next note.


05. Permissive Rulings under Pressing Circumstances

Sometimes, under pressing circumstances, one may tell a minor to transgress a rabbinic prohibition, but one may never tell a minor to violate Torah law. First, as we saw regarding ĥinukh in general, the Torah forbids causing a child to transgress. Second, as noted, there is an explicit injunction against children doing melakha on Shabbat: “But the seventh day is a Shabbat of the Lord your God; you shall not do any melakha – you, your son or daughter” (Shemot 20:10). We will now explain when one may ask a minor to transgress a rabbinic injunction.

According to Rashba and Ran, one may tell a child to transgress a rabbinic prohibition if it is for his own sake. Even though this is forbidden according to most Rishonim (Rambam; Tosafot; SA 343:1), under pressing circumstances we rely on those who are permissive (R. Akiva Eger; BHL 343:1, s.v. “mi-divrei”). Therefore, if the light in a child’s room was accidentally left on or turned on, and he finds it difficult to sleep, one may tell him to turn off the light, as this action is rabbinically prohibited. It is preferable that a child under the age of six do it. If the child is older than six, it is preferable that he turn it off with a shinui.

Under pressing circumstances, one may tell a child to transgress a rabbinic prohibition, even if he does not stand to gain from the transgression personally. As we have seen (9:11), the Sages permitted transgressing a shvut di-shvut for the sake of a mitzva or under pressing circumstances. The entire obligation of a child to keep Shabbat is rabbinic, so if he transgresses a rabbinic prohibition, it is by definition a shvut di-shvut. As long as one is lenient in this respect only occasionally, there is no concern that the child will become accustomed to belittle Shabbat (Mordechai; Taz 346:6; SAH 343:6; Livyat Ĥen §124).[3]

If the light went out on Shabbat in a place where it is needed, a baby who is not old enough to understand that his parents want him to turn on the light (about a year old) and who will play with a switch without understanding whether he is doing something helpful or harmful may be held in front of the switch with the hope that he will play with it and turn it on and removed from there as soon as he turns it on. Since he does not understand the implications of flipping the switch on and off, his action is not significant for the purposes of transgression. Rather, he is considered mitasek (performing a melakha obliviously; see below, 26:3) (Rashba, Yevamot 114a; Orĥot Shabbat 24:7-8).

[3]. In cases where it is permissible to ask a child to perform a rabbinically prohibited melakha, it is preferable that the act not be done by the child of the person who needs it done. As we saw in the previous note, there is a Torah commandment not to have melakha performed by one’s children, so even though for the child the prohibition is a shvut di-shvut, for the parent there is only one shvut involved. If one of the parents needs to ask the child to perform a melakha, it is somewhat preferable that the mother ask rather than the father, since the primary responsibility for ĥinukh is the father’s. See Pri Megadim cited in BHL 266:5.

06. A Child Is Comparable to a Sick Person

The Sages forbade a Jew to ask a non-Jew to do melakha for him on Shabbat. In contrast, if a child needs something very badly, his status is akin to that of one who is ill, for whom one may ask a non-Jew to do melakha. For example, if a child has no food and is hungry, one may ask a non-Jew to cook for him. If he desperately needs light, one may ask a non-Jew to turn on a light for him (Rema 276:1; MB ad loc. 6; see below 28:2). In general there is greater need to be lenient on behalf of babies, but one may be lenient even with very needy older children just as he would be lenient with a sick person.[4]

A child who is not feeling well may take medicine even if the pain is mild. Just as the enactment prohibiting the use of medication on Shabbat does not apply to a sick person, so too it does not apply to a child. Thus, if necessary, one may put cream on a baby’s skin, on condition that one does not spread it. Rather, one should simply place the cream on the skin. If the baby’s diaper then causes the cream to spread, one does not violate any prohibition, since the cream was not applied in order to smooth the skin (see 14:5 above and 28:8 below).

[4]. Some maintain that the comparison of children to the sick applies only until the age of two or three (Melamed Le-ho’il citing Sha’agat Aryeh; Ĥazon Ish 59:3). Others maintain that it extends until age six (Tzitz Eliezer 8:15:12:7, based on Mor U-ketzi’a). Still others say age nine or ten (SSK 37:2), while the most lenient say it extends until the age of bar or bat mitzva (Or Le-Tziyon 2:36:4). It would seem that everything depends on the specific details of the situation. Thus MB 276:6 states that if a child is “very needy,” he has the status of a sick person. The younger the child is, the needier he is. A similar point is made by Nishmat Avraham 328:57 and Orĥot Shabbat ch. 20 n. 162.

07. Permitted and Prohibited Games on Shabbat

It is a mitzva to educate children to study a great deal of Torah on Shabbat. It is thus proper to teach them to minimize game playing so that they will not get used to wasting the precious and holy time of Shabbat on mundane activities. The closer they get to the age of bar or bat mitzva, the more they should be encouraged to study Torah more and play games less. It is good for the parents themselves to learn with their children, thus fulfilling the mitzva of “Teach them to your children” (Devarim 11:19). It is proper for each community to offer many Torah classes for children on Shabbat.

Nevertheless, children may play on Shabbat. Therefore, the laws detailed in the following paragraphs apply to all children who are under bar or bat mitzva age. However, for adults the laws are different. First of all, le-khatĥila it is preferable to follow the opinion that adults may not play any games on Shabbat (22:13 above). Second, even according to those who allow adults to play games on Shabbat, some games are problematic. For children, who are obligated to keep Shabbat only as training for adulthood, we are lenient; for adults, who are required to keep Shabbat by Torah law, we are stringent. Below we will explain the laws for minors. When adults need to be stringent even according to the lenient position that allows them to play games, we will say so explicitly.

One may play checkers, chess, and memory games on Shabbat. One may also play with dice and spinning tops. However, one may not play any game in which the winner is awarded money or food. It is also forbidden to play games that normally involve writing (SA 338:5, 322:6; Ĥayei Adam 38:11). Some maintain that it is preferable not to play Monopoly or other games in which people win money and property, even though it is not real money. Children who wish to be lenient about this may (SSK 16:33), but adults should be stringent.

All games that involve writing, pasting, cutting, or weaving are forbidden on Shabbat. However, minors may put together a jigsaw puzzle or form words by joining letters on a board. Even though adults must be stringent in these two cases, children may rely on those who are lenient. According to this opinion, there is no violation of Kotev since all the writing was already there, and the letters and puzzle pieces are simply being moved together temporarily (18:4 above).

One may not build model planes or boats out of plastic parts if they require a great deal of precision and are meant to last for a long time.

Children may play with interlocking blocks, build with them, and take apart what they have built. Children may also make paper planes or boats. However, it is proper for adults to be stringent. (See above 15:7 and Harĥavot.)

The Sages forbade making a temporary tent on Shabbat, but this is permissible if it is erected in a different order from usual. Therefore, children may not drape a blanket over chairs in order to create a tent to play in. However, this is permissible if they hold the blanket horizontally in the air, and afterward place chairs underneath. It is also forbidden to use interlocking blocks to build a house or garage whose inside area is a square tefaĥ or more, but if they start by holding the roof up and then attach the walls from underneath, it is permitted (above 15:5).

One may use a kit to make jewelry that is not made to last, on condition that the end of the thread is not tied with a regular knot but rather with a bow knot (SSK 16:22).

One may not sort playing pieces or cards of two games that got mixed up together, as it constitutes Borer. However, if people want to play one of the games, they may remove the pieces they need from the mix. This sorting is not considered derekh melakha but rather derekh misĥak (the normal way to play), because one normally begins such a game by taking out its pieces (above 11:16).

One may not make shapes out of Play-Doh or modeling clay, as it constitutes Memare’aĥ (SA 314:11). If one makes shapes that have meaning, it also constitutes Kotev (Ĥayei Adam, Yom Tov, 92:3). Therefore, Play-Doh and modeling clay are muktzeh.

08. Additional Games and Playing in the Yard

One may compress a spring on a toy car so that the car will move forward, as long as the car does not make noise and no lights light up. One may not play with any battery-operated toy (17:2 above).

One may not blow up a balloon because a knot is usually tied at the end. However, if the balloon is sealed with a valve instead of a knot, and it has previously been inflated, it may be inflated on Shabbat (above 15:8).

Children may not play with toy musical instruments such as trumpets, pianos, guitars, bells, and noisemakers on Shabbat. Such toys are muktzeh. However, one may give a baby a toy that makes noise when it is shaken or a button is pushed. However, the adult himself may not cause the toy to make noise (MB 338:1; BHL s.v. “aval”; SSK 16:2-3 and n. 10; Harĥavot).

Sand is muktzeh unless it was set aside before Shabbat for children to play with (23:3 above). In that case, they may play with the sand as long as it is fine and dry enough that it cannot be used to fashion shapes. However, if the sand is wet enough that one can scoop out holes or fill them up, one may not play with it on account of the melakha of Boneh. One may not make sand wet, because of the melakha of Lash (15:2 above).

One may not play with marbles on the ground, because one may level the ground to make sure that the marbles roll smoothly. Similarly, one may not play any game on the ground that requires that the ground be flat, because one may end up leveling it. Even if the ground is paved, one may not play there, as there is a concern that one might then end up playing on unpaved ground. However, one may play on the floor inside; since all homes today have flooring, we are not worried that playing there will lead anyone to play outside on unpaved ground (15:2 above).

It is permissible to play with apricot pits, which children commonly play with; since they are set aside for this purpose by the children, they are not muktzeh like other pits. Even pits removed from apricots on Shabbat are not muktzeh, since many children play with them (see SSK ch. 16 n. 33).

One may swing on a swing, but if it hangs from a tree, even if only on one side, it is prohibited. If the swing hangs from a peg that was driven into the tree, it is permitted (19:7 above).

09. Ball Games and Running

Children may not play soccer, football, baseball, or basketball on Shabbat. Since adults make a big deal out of these games and they have intricate rules and procedures, they are prohibited, as they are considered a prohibited weekday activity. Besides, sometimes these games involve additional prohibited activities, such as preparing the field for a game, driving to the field, registering for the game, and buying and selling tickets or team merchandise. It is also prohibited to watch a soccer or basketball game on Shabbat, because this is a weekday activity. It is even prohibited to play with the balls associated with these sports at home or in a yard, because they are muktzeh and because it is a weekday activity. For the same reasons, all of the above applies to tennis as well.[5]

Children may play and run around for their enjoyment but may not participate in exercise classes (see above 22:8).

Children may play with balls designed for young children, on condition that they play indoors or in a paved yard. However, they may not play on grass or on a dirt yard, out of concern that they will level the ground. They may play table tennis for fun, since that is generally played indoors. There is no need to worry that by allowing children to play with balls at a young age, they will get used to it and will continue doing so as adults, since the permission is limited to balls designed for children, which in any case adults do not play with.

One may not recover a ball from a tree using one’s hand or a stick, as it might lead to breaking a branch. If the ball fell out on its own, one may play with it (19:7 above; SSK 16:8).

[5]. Some prohibit playing soccer and basketball on Shabbat out of concern that people will end up leveling the ground, similar to what appears in SA 338:5 and MB 308:155. Others forbid these games out of concern that the players will end up fixing the ball or inflating it (Ketzot Ha-shulĥan). In any case, the rabbinic consensus is that one may not play soccer or basketball on Shabbat. It would seem that the primary reason is that it is a weekday activity (which is also the reason behind the prohibition to ride bicycles). This prohibition should not be taken lightly, as it is rooted in the Torah. Any activity that is burdensome and taxing serves to destroy the peace and rest of Shabbat, and is prohibited by Torah law (Ramban on Vayikra 23:24). The book of Yeshayahu elaborates upon this: “If you refrain from trampling the Shabbat, from pursuing your affairs on My holy day; if you call Shabbat ‘delight,’ the Lord’s holy [day] ‘honored’; and if you honor it, and not go in your own way, nor look to your affairs, nor speak of them” (Yeshayahu 58:13). The Sages elaborated further: “‘Not go in your own way’ – the way you walk on Shabbat should not be like the way you walk on weekdays…. ‘Nor speak of them’ – your speech on Shabbat should not be like your speech on weekdays. Speaking [about mundane matters] is forbidden, but thinking about them is permitted” (Shabbat 113a). Since soccer games and basketball games involve a big production, have intricate rules and regulations, and are taken very seriously by many people (some even make their living playing these sports), they are the ultimate weekday activity. The leniency for children to run for enjoyment is limited to running around freely, not in the organized framework of a sport or exercise. Rav Kook presents this approach in Oraĥ Mishpat §152.

10. Bicycles, Scooters, and Skates

One may not ride a regular two-wheeler bicycle, because this is a weekday activity (22:8 above). Even if a bicycle has training wheels, one may not ride it. However, small children may ride tricycles, because tricycles are only used by small children, and there is a significant difference between tricycles and bicycles. Therefore, riding them is not considered a weekday activity (above, 22:8 and n. 4).

Some allow children to ride scooters and wear skates on Shabbat. According to them, just as children may run on Shabbat, they may use scooters and skates. Opposing them are those who feel that while children may run on Shabbat, that permission is limited to unassisted movement. In contrast, using equipment that makes one move faster and more effectively is considered a weekday activity.

Even though those who are lenient here have an opinion on which to rely be-di’avad, it is proper to be stringent, since the stringent opinion seems more compelling. Just as the widespread practice is to refrain from riding bicycles because this is a weekday activity that clashes with the spirit of Shabbat, it is similarly inappropriate to use scooters or skates on Shabbat. Additionally, by our limiting small children to simpler games, older children will learn to dedicate Shabbat to Torah and to rest.