# 2905 The Slipping Mask

Q. I have a question regarding wearing masks to shul.
We have a few female  members of our shul who don’t carry and don’t want to wear a mask outside when they walk to shul because they feel its carrying.  My question is, is it carrying wearing it underneath the chin area while they walk to shul.  When they walk outside, they don’t want to wear it over their nose and mouth.
Is it possible to have an answer before Shabbos, so I can let them know.
A. On question 2640 we wrote: “The face mask idea is not new. Tzemach Tzedek (O.H. 110: 930) mentions in regards to fasting on Tisha beAv during the Cholera epidemic in the year 5608 -1848: “Someone who wishes to fast in a locale where the sickness is not chas vesholom strong, should be advised and cautioned not to leave one’s house an entire day, and he should be required to wear a small piece of cloth around his nose and mouth, together with a bit of peppermint”.
Shulchan Aruch (O.H.301: 14) permits carrying in a public domain where there is no eruv, items donned as clothing, even if their use is only to avoid soiling oneself.
Regarding regular prescription glasses Mishna Berura (ibid. 44) prohibits carrying them in that street. However, contemporary Poskim are lenient, since today’s well adjusted glasses do not easily fall from one’s face. Poskim disagree in regard to sun glasses, if they are being used only as protection from the sun. (Shoel Umeshiv (3: 1: 109), Har Tzvi O.H 173, Mishne Halochos 7: 57 et al.).
Neis Lehisnoses (p. 84) questions whether Moshe Rabbeinu was permitted to walk outside on Shabbos since he was wearing a mask. He inclines to say he was not, since the mask was only used for the protection of others.
Poskim usually permitted wearing in the street, a well adjusted gas mask during war or terrorist attacks, to protect oneself from possible poisonous gasses. (ibid).
Horav Shlomo Miller Shlit’a connected the above to the Talmud (Shabbos 66b) in regard to the prohibition of wearing on the street “luketamin” during Shabbos. Rava bar Rav Huna explains: that they are masks. (Rashi adds: they are “peramei,” used for scaring children).
However, the Rov maintains that if today’s face masks are properly adjusted and secured to the face, one can and should wear them during these pandemic times, even in a street without an eruv, if he has to go out during Shabbos”
On your particular question, the Rov reiterated that if there is no eiruv or if one is stringent and does not usually relay on the eiruv to carry in the streets, when the mask is not worn properly, it cannot be worn outside.
The Rov recommended that if when they walk outside, they don’t want to wear it over their nose and mouth, they should choose someone to bring the masks before Shabbos to shul.
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as advised by Horav Shlomo Miller and Horav Aharon Miller Shlit’a

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