To the left is exhibit A – Suburban Sprawl. This presents a major challenge for the modern Jew who is faced with the task of interpreting the halacha. What to do when your community forces you to drive to your Shabbat engagements? I quote my friend and collegue David Singer:
“The real issue isn’t weather it’s OK to drive on Shabbat but, rather, that driving in general turns the fabric of communities upside down. Rather than worrying about whether driving on Shabbat is OK or not, the real issue is worrying about building communities and cities where people don’t need to drive in the first place.”
He’s right, and it made me wonder. Before cars, certainly, communities were arranged so that everything was walking accessible. But was it OK to take a horse? was that prohibited?
I for one, try not to drive my car at all, but to make biking BAU (Business as Usual). I try especailly to not drive on Shabbat, however I find that this is not always possible as I try to find new places to pray and celebrate Shabbat with a geographically diverse group of people. We must change the way we think about how we use our space, so that it works for us and our environment with an exploding human race.
Here is a graphic to demonstrate how much space we are giving to our polluting, noisy, dangerous cars: