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

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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 it. Rather, he may return the hammer to its proper place. If there were scissors on the table where one now wants to eat, he need not drop them as close to the table as possible, but may put them away. Since he picked them up in a permitted fashion, he may carry them to their proper place.

Similarly, if one finished eating fruit and is left holding peels or pits that are muktzeh maĥmat gufo, he does not need to drop them. Since they reached his hand permissibly, he may take them where he wants.

In contrast, once one has already put down a muktzeh item that he had been permitted to hold, it resumes its muktzeh status. At that point, even if it is not in its proper place, he may no longer move it (SA 308:3; MB 506:29). Similarly, if one forgot that an item is muktzeh and picked it up, he must put it down immediately (MB 308:13).

If one is carrying a muktzeh item that he had been permitted to hold, le-khatĥila he should not shift the object from one hand to the other. This is because some maintain that moving the item to his other hand is like putting it down, in which case he may no longer move it. Be-di’avad, if he did shift the muktzeh item to his other hand, he may continue going to the place where he wants to put it down.[15]

If a child is younger than the age of ĥinukh (see ch. 24), one may hold his hand and walk with him, even if he is holding something muktzeh in his other hand. As long as the adult is not carrying the child, the adult is not considered carrying the muktzeh item. However, one may not pick up a child who is holding something muktzeh. Rather, the adult should first shake the muktzeh item out of the child’s hand, and then pick him up. This shaking is permitted, because it is min ha-tzad for a permitted purpose, i.e., to pick up the child. If the child is crying hysterically and will not calm down unless someone picks him up along with the muktzeh item he is holding, one may pick him up. As we will see (24:6), the Sages permitted transgressing rabbinic enactments for the sake of a sick child, and a child who is crying hysterically is liable to become weak like a sick person. However, if the object the child is holding is valuable, one may not pick him up, because we are concerned that if the object falls, the adult will end up picking it up and carrying it (Shabbat 141b; SA 309:1).[16]


[15]. Those who prohibit continuing to carry after shifting a muktzeh object from one hand to the other include Tosefet Shabbat, introduction to §308; Ben Ish Ĥai, Year 2, Miketz 3; Kaf Ha-ĥayim 308:27; Az Nidberu 9:33; Menuĥat Ahava 1:13:2. Those who permit include Pri Megadim, Mishbetzot Zahav 446:2; Torat Shabbat 308:4; SSK ch. 20 n. 27 is inclined this way as well.According to MA 308:7, if one mistakenly picked up a kli she-melakhto le-isur, he may put it down wherever he wants. According to most poskim, though, the status of a kli she-melakhto le-isur is the same as that of other types of muktzeh – he should put it down immediately, wherever he is (Bi’ur Ha-Gra 266:12; MB ad loc. 13; SSK 22:34).

[16]. Some say that one may not even hold the hand of a child and walk with him if the child is carrying an expensive muktzeh item in his other hand. Others maintain that as long as one does not carry the child, it is permitted (Ramban). Under pressing circumstances, one may be lenient (BHL 309:1).

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