Chapter: 23 – Muktzeh

01. The Basis of the Prohibition

The Sages prohibited moving things that are not fitting for Shabbat and that one puts out of his mind (maktzeh mi-da’ato). There are two fundamental reasons for this prohibition: 1) to preserve the atmosphere of Shabbat as a day of … Continue reading

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02. Principles of Muktzeh

As a rule, the Sages forbade moving things on Shabbat that are not fitting for use on Shabbat and that one puts out of his mind (section 10 below). There are several types of muktzeh: 1) Muktzeh maĥmat gufo (inherently … Continue reading

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03. Muktzeh Maĥmat Gufo

Any item that is unfit for any use on Shabbat is muktzeh maĥmat gufo. This means that it is inherently muktzeh; because it is of no use on Shabbat, it is put out of one’s mind, muktzeh. This category includes … Continue reading

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04. Muktzeh Maĥmat Ĥesron Kis

Valuable items that have no use on Shabbat and that people always take care not to move except for the specific purpose for which they are designed (to ensure the items do not get damaged or lost) are muktzeh maĥmat … Continue reading

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05. Basis Le-davar Ha-asur and Conscious Placement

If a muktzeh item was placed atop a non-muktzeh item with the intention that it stay there all of Shabbat, then the permitted item becomes muktzeh, as it serves as a basis (base) for a forbidden object. For example, if … Continue reading

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06. More on Basis Le-davar Ha-asur

If an assortment of items have been placed on a tray or table, some muktzeh and some not, the muktzeh status of the tray depends upon which items one considers to be more important. If the muktzeh items are more … Continue reading

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07. Kelim She-melakhtam Le-isur

Kelim she-melakhtam le-isur are objects normally used for activities that are prohibited on Shabbat. Some examples are hammers, scissors, needles, pliers, and phone books. Since they are designed for things that are prohibited on Shabbat, they are muktzeh. Nevertheless, since … Continue reading

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08. Kelim with Both Permitted and Prohibited Uses

The status of kelim used for both permissible and forbidden activities is determined by the majority of their use (Pri Megadim; MB 308:10). Therefore, a pocket knife with scissors is not muktzeh, because most of its blades can be used … Continue reading

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09. Kelim She-melakhtam Le-heter, Food, and Books

Kelim that are used for permitted purposes (kelim she-melakhtam le-heter), a category that includes tables, chairs, beds, pillows, thermoses, clocks, and brooms, may be moved for any reason, though one may not move them for no reason at all. In … Continue reading

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10. An Item that was Muktzeh Throughout Bein Ha-shmashot

If an item was muktzeh throughout bein ha-shmashot on Friday, it remains muktzeh throughout Shabbat, even if the reason it was considered muktzeh no longer applies. Therefore, if one left money on a table before Shabbat, the table becomes muktzeh … Continue reading

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11. Making an Item Unsuitable for Its Normal Usage on Shabbat

One may not cause an object to become unsuitable for its normal usage (levatel kli me-heikhano) on Shabbat. Doing so is akin to demolishing something (Soter) on Shabbat. Therefore, if oil is dripping from a lamp, one may not put … Continue reading

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12. The Permissibility of Removing Filthy Items – “Graf Shel Re’i

Even though a truly disgusting item – such as a graf shel re’i (a receptacle that contains excrement), a dead mouse, or food scraps – is muktzeh maĥmat gufo, the Sages permitted removing it for the sake of human dignity. … Continue reading

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13. Broken Kelim and Worn-Out Clothing

As we have seen (section 3), any item that is not suitable for Shabbat use is muktzeh maĥmat gufo. We must now clarify at what point an item is considered unusable and therefore muktzeh. As a rule, there are two … Continue reading

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14. The Permissibility of Moving Muktzeh Indirectly or with the Body

The main prohibition of muktzeh consists of taking a muktzeh item in one’s hand, the way it is normally moved. The more one deviates from the normal manner of taking an object, the more lenient the law becomes. There are … Continue reading

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15. If One Picked up Muktzeh Permissibly or Mistakenly, and the Status of a Minor

As we have seen, one may move a kli she-melakhto le-isur for a permitted purpose (le-tzorekh gufo) or for its space (le-tzorekh mekomo). Thus, one may take a hammer to crack nuts. After use, one is not required to drop … Continue reading

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