Wearing a plastic hat rain cover over a hat or Sheitel on Shabbos

May one place a plastic hat rain cover on a hat or Sheitel on Shabbos?

It is permitted to put on a rain cover onto one’s hat on Shabbos and doing so does not pose an Ohel prohibition.[1] This applies whether the cover is special manufactured hat rain cover or one is using a plastic bag. The following will discuss if one may walk with this hat cover in an area without an Eiruv:

Area without Eiruv-Hats:[2] Some Poskim[3] rule it is forbidden to wear a rain cover for a hat in an area without an Eiruv even if the rain cover is manufactured for this purpose.[4] Other Poskim[5] rule it is permitted to wear a rain cover that is manufactured for hats even if one will be walking in an area without an Eiruv.[6] Practically, even those that are lenient are only to do so with a manufactured hat rain cover and not through placing a plastic bag over the hat, in an area without an Eiruv.[7] Those who are careful not to carry even in an area with an Eiruv may be lenient in this regard to wear a hat rain cover.[8]

Area without Eiruv-Sheitel:[9] Sheitel rain coverings that cover the entire head, as well as the ears and part of the face for protection from rain or warmth, are not subject to the above debate in Poskim and may be worn freely on Shabbos, even in an area without an Eiruv. However, those coverings that only cover the actual Sheitel and are worn to protect the Sheitel from rain, are subject to the same debate mentioned above regarding wearing hat rain coverings in an area without an Eiruv.[10]



[1] The reason: As the Ohel prohibition does not apply in a case that there is not a Tefach of space between the cover and the hat. [Admur 315/19; 315/12; 640/10; Michaber 315/13; Rambam 22/23] B) A hovering made to protect an item [in contrast to a human] does not have the status of an Ohel when covering an item less than the size of a barrel. [See Admur 315/19 regarding a barrel]

[2] Piskeiy Teshuvos 301/6 [old] 301/20 [new]

[3] Minchas Yitzchak 3/26; Igros Moshe 1/108-110; Mahariy Shteif 73 and 124; Dvar Yehoshua 2/129; Betzel Hachochmah 2/80; Or Letziyon 2/23-3; Poskim in Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 144

[4] The reason: As a clothing worn to protect from rain falling on another clothing is not considered a clothing unless it covers majority of the body, and one hence transgresses carrying an item on Shabbos even when worn. [See Admur 301/11] It is unlike the allowance brought in Admur 301/11 and 43 which allows wearing one hat on top of another due to the rain, as that case refers to a hat that is wearable during the week even not during rain and is thus considered a clothing in its own right. However the rain hat is unwearable during non-rain times, and is hence not considered Derech Malbush. It is rather similar to one who wears a cloth over his head to protect his scarf from rain in which case we rule it is considered a Masuiy, as it is not Derech Malbush. [See Admur 301/11 and 43]

[5] Chelkas Yaakov 1/99; Har Tzevi 1 Tal Harim Motzi 2; Shevet Halevi 1/61; Divrei Yatziv 1/147; Cheshev Haeifod 1/81 and 2/67; Beir Moshe 2/31; Az Nidbaru 1/71; 4/37; Bris Olam Motzi 10; Tzitz Eliezer 10/23; Tiferes Adam 2/11; SSH”K 18/10 in name of Rav SZ”A regarding Karmalis; Mishneh Halachos 2/72; 6/72; Yabia Omer 5/24; 9/108-146; Poskim in Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 145

[6] The reason: As one may wear one hat on top of another on Shabbos even simply to protect from rain [Admur 301/11 and 43] and this hat cover is considered a clothing being that it is made to the same fit as a hat and is worn as a Derech Malbush. [Shevet Halevi and Poskim ibid] Likewise, it is also worn to protect the person from rain, in which case we rule one may cover the hat even if it is not a true clothing being that it is worn as a Derech Malbush. [See Admur 301/11]

[7] Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid; See Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 148 for Poskim who are lenient even in such a case

The reason: As no one walks outside with a plastic bag covering them, and hence it is not considreed a Mlabush even when used as such. [See Admur 301/43]

[8] Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 147

[9] See Admur 301/11; Avodas Hagershuni 80 [1600’s]; Minchas Yitzchak 3/26; Betzel Hachochmah 2/80; Beir Moshe 6/120; Piskeiy Teshuvos 301/20 [new]

[10] The reason: If it covers the ears and the like it is considered a regular clothing and is unlike the case mentioned in Admur 301/11 that prohibits wearing a clothing to protect from rain unless it covers majority of the body, as that is referring to when the entire intent is to protect the head clothing from rain, however when one also intends to protect oneself from the rain then it is permitted even if it does not cover majority of the body, as explicitly written in Admur ibid.

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  1. Rabbi Yaakov Goldstein

    1. Question: [Thursday, 25th Mar Cheshvan, 5781]
    With regard to rain bonnet wearing on Shabbos – is it permissible to wear the rain bonnet around your waste? As for example, when you go to Shul or anywhere else on Shabbos it is not raining but the sky is cloudy and it may start to rain at some point on your journey – and then you need your rain bonnet. There is no Eiruv in our area.

    As we discussed in a previous lesson, the wearing of a rain bonnet on Shabbos in an area without an Eiruv, is subject to debate amongst the Poskim with some permitting it and others forbidding it, as we discussed at length. So at the very least, even wearing it over the head on Shabbos while it is raining would be subject to debate. Even if one were to determine that this is permitted, tying it around your waist to use as a belt in order to carry it just in case it rains, enters into a further doubt and debate of whether this is allowed. Even if one were to wear it as one’s only belt [as one cannot wear a belt on top of another belt in an area without an Eiruv] over a clothing that needs a belt, it would still be subject to the question as to whether this is considered a normal use of the clothing, and if it appears to the onlooker as if one is simply wearing a belt or as simply trying to carry. Regarding all these issues, in order not to be Poretz Gader from a possible custom that is already established in your community regarding this matter, I would suggest that you discuss it with the local Rav and follow his directives. To note however that in general the custom of the world is to be lenient to use towels as belts in order to be allowed to carry it and thus technically the same would apply to a rain bonnet.

    Sources: Re: wearing a rain cover over one’s head on Shabbos see: https://shulchanaruchharav.com/halacha/plastic-hat-rain-cover-on-a-hat-on-shabbos/
    regarding whether one may use an item as a belt in order to be allowed to carry it: See Maharshag 2:48; Piskeiy Teshuvos 301 footnote 295

    2. Question: [Thursday, 25th Mar Cheshvan, 5781]
    Is it permitted for one to wear outside in an area without an Eiruv a raincoat or sweater with a hood if one does not plan on wearing the hood unless it starts raining or gets cold? Meaning is the hood that is hanging behind the jacket or sweater considered an item that one is carrying which is forbidden or is it considered part of the general clothing which one is permitted to wear and does not have a carry prohibition?

    All parts of a clothing that are permanently attached to it, or are attached to it in a way that it is not common at all to take off, with the exception of a necessary occasion, are considered part of the clothing and do not have a carrying prohibition applicable to them neither biblical nor rabbinical. We do not suspect that one may come to take it off and carry it as it is not common to do so

    Sources: See Chayeh Adam 56:15 Nishmas Adam 4; Ketzos Hashulchan 115:20 footnote 36; Az Nidbaru 4:38; Beis Yosef end of 301; Piskeiy Teshuvos 301:31 footnotes 210 through 211

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