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 rocks, animals, coins, straw, dust, trees, leaves, all types of waste, and corpses.

This type of muktzeh may not be moved even if one wants to use the item for a permissible purpose. For example, one may not pick up a rock to use as a door stopper or nutcracker. If one wants to prevent the rock from becoming muktzeh, he must either mentally designate it for the desired purpose before Shabbat or use it for that purpose at least once during the week (SA 308:20, 22).

Sand is muktzeh and may not be used to cover up something disgusting. If the sand has been put in a particular place specifically for this purpose, it is not muktzeh (SA 308:38). Similarly, sand in a sandbox for children is not muktzeh (above, 15:2).

Food that may not currently be eaten, but that one intends to make permissible after Shabbat – such as food from which teruma and ma’aser or ĥalla have not yet been separated – are muktzeh on Shabbat (MT 25:19). However, non-kosher meat that one intends to give to a non-Jew or feed to a dog is not muktzeh (SA 324:7).

Foods that can be eaten under pressing circumstances are not muktzeh. However, if they are not edible at all without being cooked or baked – such as flour, potatoes, beans, raw meat, and raw fish – they are muktzeh. Even though animals can eat them, they are still muktzeh, since normally animals are not given food meant for people.

In pressing circumstances, such as if a freezer has stopped working and the meat and fish inside are likely to spoil, we rely on the opinion that since a dog would eat these foods raw, they are not muktzeh. Accordingly, one may move them into a working freezer.[2]

Animals are muktzeh since they serve no purpose on Shabbat. In a time of need, one may take hold of them and drag them in order to feed or protect them, but one may not pick them up (above 20:3). House pets, which are normally played with and picked up, are not muktzeh (above 20:5).

Food scraps that dogs or cats can eat are not muktzeh. Even if one does not own a cat or dog, there are cats and dogs in town that would be happy to have them. Similarly, bones are not muktzeh, since dogs and cats eat them. However, food scraps that neither man nor animal will eat – such as the nutshells, husks, and fish bones – are muktzeh. Additionally, if food scraps would be eaten by some animals but not by any found locally, they are muktzeh (SA 308:29). Apricot pits that children play with and that were extracted on Shabbat are not muktzeh (see SSK ch. 16 n. 33).


[2]. SA 308:31-32 explains that raw meat is not muktzeh since some people eat meat that way. In contrast, raw fish that people generally do not eat is muktzeh. According to MA and others, raw meat that is soft (such as chicken) is not muktzeh, but raw meat that is hard and inedible is muktzeh. According to Taz (ad loc. 20), if fish is edible by dogs, then even if in practice we do not feed such fish to dogs, it is not muktzeh. See MB and BHL, which incline toward the position of SA. It would seem that nowadays, when there are people who feed dogs meat and fish that people would eat as well, under pressing circumstances one may rely on Taz. This is the opinion of Yalkut Yosef vol. 2, p. 359 and Orĥot Shabbat 19:108.
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