General Laws of Muktzeh
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Muktzeh items are items that aren't meant to be used on Shabbat. Anything fashioned by human beings, is usable, and is meant to be used for that purpose is considered a kli, utensil, which generally isn't muktzeh. Every kli is either a kli shemelachto lheter if it is designated for a permitted purpose on Shabbat, a kli shemelachto lisur if it is designated for a prohibited purpose on Shabbat, or muktzeh machmat chisaron kis if it is so expensive or fragile that isn’t designated to be used for anything on Shabbat.
- 1 Reasons for Muktzeh
- 2 Ways of Moving Muktzeh
- 3 Unpleasant Situations (Geref Shel Reey)
- 4 Mistaken Muktzeh
- 5 Muktzeh of a Non-Jew
- 6 Sources
Reasons for Muktzeh
There are a number of reasons why the Rabbis forbad moving certain items on Shabbat.
- The rabbis understood that just like the prophets forbad speaking on Shabbat just like one speaks during the week (Dabber Dvar) and they forbad walking just like one walks during the week (MeAsot Derachecha), so too the items a person moves on Shabbat should different from what he moves during the week. Considering that a person can't do any melacha, he might begin to move all sorts of items around the house in an effort to organize or clean. If one does such, one will have violated the Torah's commandment to rest.
- The rabbis prohibited moving items lest one come to use them for a prohibited use on Shabbat.
- The rabbis felt that some people don't do any particular work during the week. If such people were able to speak, walk, and move items just like they do during the week, the "resting of Shabbat" wouldn't be distinguishable from one's rest the other days of the week.
- The rabbis were concerned that if one were to move any item one would come to carry outdoors.
Ways of Moving Muktzeh
Moving Muktzeh Indirectly
- If a Muktzeh item is on top of a non-Muktzeh item, it is permitted to move the Muktzeh indirectly (tiltul min hasad) if one’s intent is to use the non-Muktzeh item but not if one’s intent is to move the Muktzeh. This assumes that the non-Muktzeh item isn’t a Bosis and one can’t remove the Muktzeh by tilting. 
Moving Muktzeh with Your Body
- It is permitted to move a Muktzeh item with one’s body. 
- It’s permissible to blow on Muktzeh to make it move if it’s for a permissible purpose. 
- Additionally, it’s permissible to cover a Muktzeh item with a vessel even if the vessel will touch the Muktzeh as long as placing the cover on the Muktzeh will not move it. 
- It’s permissible to sit on Muktzeh unless there’s no need in which case one shouldn’t. 
- It is permitted to move something dangerous that is muktzeh such as moving broken glass on the floor of a house. If it could be moved with one's body or without tiltul min hasad it should.
For a Mitzvah
- It is forbidden to return a muktzeh item that is found on Shabbat.
- It is permitted to touch Muktzeh if it does not move. Some say that one may not touch Muktzeh if one’s intent is to serve the Muktzeh item. 
- It’s permissible to remove a permissible item that’s sitting on top of a Muktzeh item. 
Muktzeh that’s in already in one’s hands
- If one has picked up a Kli Sh’Melachto LeIssur in one’s hands in a permissible fashion then it’s permissible to place it anywhere one likes. However, if one picked it up in a forbidden way or one has an absolute Muktzeh item in one’s hand, then one should drop it. 
- After the mohel finished the milah and needs to put the milah knife down some poskim hold that he should drop it as soon as is possible that wouldn't be dangerous. Ashkenazim hold that he could move it as long as it is still in his hands since he was allowed to pick it up. Sephardim hold it is permitted to move.
- If someone has muktzeh in his hands from before Shabbat he should drop it once Shabbat starts.
- A rabbi should see shaylot of whether something is kosher in a place where he could drop if it he needs to rule that it is forbidden.
- If you picked up a kli shemelachto lisur or muktzeh by accident you shouldn’t continue to carry it.
- If you have muktzeh in your hand from before Shabbat some say that you can continue to carry it on Shabbat, while many disagree.
- If you have a muktzeh pit in your hands when you were eating the fruit and you finished eating many say that you need to drop it right away.
- When it is permitted to carry muktzeh that is already in your hands some say that you can only continue as long as you didn't stop, but once you stop in a significant way some say that you can't continue.
Unpleasant Situations (Geref Shel Reey)
- Anything which is disgusting such as feces, a dead mouse, and the like are Muktzeh.  However, they may be moved (to a garbage) out of a place which are used frequently such as places in one’s house which are used, or path in front of one’s house. 
- A disgusting item may not be returned to the house. 
- The criteria of Graf Shel Reey depend on the individual. Some say that as long as it is unpleasant it is permitted.
Cases of Loss
- Something which is disgusting in a place that’s not used frequently may not be moved and in cases of loss one may sit in that place so that it’ll be disgusting and will require one to remove it. 
Muktzeh Machmat Miyus
Creating a Disgusting Situation Initially
- In the first place, one may not make a situation which is disgusting which will need to be removed, however after the fact, the disgusting item may be removed. 
- If there is a leak of dirty water (such as from an air conditioner) that isn't drinkable for humans or animals one shouldn't put a bucket under that leak since it is considered establishing a utensil in one spot (bitul kli mehechano) and will only be permitted because of graf shel reey. If it is a room where you are dwelling and it will be unpleasant in a case of great need there is a leniency to put the bucket to collect water.
- One could solve the issue by putting non-muktzeh such as toys in the bucket before putting underneath the leak.
- It is permitted to wash one's hands in the morning or for mayim achronim and then take that container and dump it out since that water is considered a graf shel reey.
- Some hold that it is permitted to eat normally and put the muktzeh shells, peels, and seeds on the plate even though the result is going to be a graf shel reey and that isn't considered making it a graf shel reey initially.
- A container for going to the bathroom such as a child’s potty is muktzeh after the goes to the bathroom in it. It can be emptied out because it is disgusting but it can’t be returned unless some water is placed in it.
Taking Out the Garbage
- It is permitted to take the garbage that is unpleasant to have around because of its smell or otherwise.
Avoiding Moving a Graf Shel Reey
- If it is possible to do tiltul min hasad one should do so instead of moving a graf shel reey directly.
- Similarly, some say that if one can get a non-jew to move a graf shel reey one should do so.
- If someone thought that something wasn’t edible before Shabbat and then on Shabbat he realized that he was incorrect and it was edible before Shabbat it isn’t muktzeh. Some permit this only when one anticipated the food to become edible at some point.
- If someone thought that something was muktzeh because it was forbidden and it came out that it was in fact permitted some hold that it is muktzeh since he didn’t prepare it and intentionally thought it was forbidden. Most other poskim hold that it is permitted.
- If someone thought that something was permitted and non-muktzeh and on Shabbat he realized that in fact it was muktzeh many hold that it is indeed muktzeh, others holds it isn’t muktzeh.
- If someone has intention to use a book or newspaper which is forbidden to read always or if it is forbidden to read on Shabbat, for them it isn’t muktzeh.
Muktzeh of a Non-Jew
- Something that is muktzeh because it wasn't prepared isn't muktzeh if it belonged to a non-Jew because a non-Jew has intention to use all of his objects on Shabbat. Therefore, building material that the non-Jew made into something useful isn't muktzeh; for example, a piece of lumber that a non-Jew made into a ramp on Shabbat isn't muktzeh.
- Something that is muktzeh because of a prohibition that would be necessary to prepare it is muktzeh even if it belongs to a non-Jew.
- Something that wasn't edible at the beginning of Shabbat and wasn't going to be ready until after Shabbat if it became edible and belongs to a non-Jew it isn't muktzeh. Others argue.
- Something that was attached to the ground or an animal that wasn't trapped is muktzeh even though it belonged to a non-Jew at the beginning of Shabbat.
- Something that was inedible and became edible in the middle of Shabbat as a result of the non-Jew's cooking is muktzeh since it started Shabbat as muktzeh even if the food belongs to a non-Jew. This is relevant to bread baked by a non-Jew on Shabbat.
- Something that was made on Shabbat and is nolad, some say that if it belongs to a non-Jew it isn't nolad, some say that it is muktzeh.
- These rules of a non-Jew apply also to a non-religious Jew.
- Mishna Brurah 308:72-73 writes that there are three considerations to consider it a kli: it is fashioned by a human, it is usable, and it is meant to be used for that purpose. See Shitah Mikubeset Beitzah 31b s.v. hani who writes that anything that is fashioned by a human is a kli. Anytime a kli is usable it isn’t muktzeh, but a non-kli like a rock is only non-muktzeh if a person did an action to permit it. Ritva Shabbat 124b s.v. hani agrees.
- Rambam and Raavad (Shabbat 24:12), Bet Yosef (Intro to 308), Mishna Brurah (Intro to 308), Yalkut Yosef (Shabbat v. 2, p. 304)
- In the Gemara (Shabbat 123a) Rav Nachman states that indirect movement of Muktzeh is permitted. On the other hand, the Gemara (43b) earlier states that everyone agrees indirect movement of Muktzeh is forbidden. Tosfot (43b s.v. DeKuleh) answer that indirect movement of Muktzeh is permitted if one’s purpose is to move the permitted item and a Muktzeh item is drawn along, but if one’s intent is to move the Muktzeh item, one may not do so even indirectly. The Rif 20b, Rambam (Shabbat 25:14), and Rosh 3:19 agree to this resolution. Tur and S”A 311:8 codify this as halacha.
- The Chazon Ish 47:12-14 explains that if one is moving a Muktzeh item and a non-Muktzeh item for the sake of the Muktzeh, it is considered as though one is moving Muktzeh, but if one is moving it for the sake of the non-Muktzeh item, it is considered as though one is moving only the non-Muktzeh. Accordingly, the Chazon Ish writes that he doesn’t understand the Taz 308:18 and Mishna Brurah 308:115, who write that one may push peels or bones that are totally inedible off the table using a knife if one needs the area where these peels and bones are located since one is moving Muktzeh indirectly for a permitted need. The Chazon Ish argues that since one is primarily focused on moving the Muktzeh, it is forbidden even if it is done indirectly.
- Rabbi Mordechai Willig (Am Mordechai p. 104-6) explains that the Mishna Brurah and others hold that it is permitted to move Muktzeh indirectly for a permitted use on Shabbat as Chazal were lenient with regards to moving Muktzeh indirectly for a permitted purpose. He explains that this leniency may be due to the fact that Muktzeh is based on the prohibition to carry on Shabbat. Even if one carried Muktzeh for a permitted purpose and not for the Muktzeh itself, it would be Melacha Sheino Tzaricha LeGufo and not a biblical prohibition. However, Chazal only permitted moving Muktzeh for a permitted use if done indirectly or in an abnormal manner because of a Lo Plug. Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 22:38 agrees with the Mishna Brurah.
- Based on S”A 309:3-4, Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen (Muktzeh, A Practical Guide p. 35-8) notes that one may not indirectly move a non-Muktzeh item if it was a Bosis. Additionally, if one can remove the Muktzeh item by tilting, one may not move it indirectly.
- The Mishnah (Shabbat 141a) states that one may push Muktzeh straw off of his bed with his body but not with his hands. The Gemara explains that this is based on the principle that indirect movement of Muktzeh is permitted. Based on the distinction of Tosfot (see note 1), Rabbeinu Yonah (cited by the Rosh 3:19) asks why indirect movement of Muktzeh is permitted if one’s intent is to move the Muktzeh item. The Rosh answers that moving Muktzeh with one’s body is permitted even if one’s intent is to move Muktzeh, whereas direct movement of a non-Muktzeh item which in turn moves a Muktzeh item is permitted only if one’s intent is for the non-Muktzeh item. Tur and S”A 311:8 codify this as halacha.
- The Mishna Brurah 311:30 writes that it is permitted to move Muktzeh with any part of one’s body other than his hands. For example, in 308:13 and 30 he writes that one may move Muktzeh with one’s foot. Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 22:36 agrees. See Chazon Ish 47:12, who argues that the Rosh merely meant that one may lie down on straw even if it moves since its not evident that one is moving Muktzeh. One may not, however, move Muktzeh with one’s body if his primary intent is to move Muktzeh. See Rabbi Mordechai Willig (Am Mordechai p. 105-6) who connects this to the above dispute.
- Shulchan Aruch 308:43 and Rama 308:3 consider blowing on Muktzeh as indirect movement which can be moved for a permissible purpose.
- Mishna Brurah 308:22 rules like the Gra unlike the Magen Avraham (which was brought as a dispute in Mishna Brurah 308:17).
- Ran on Rif (Shabbat 46b), Mishna Brurah 308:82
- Shabbat 40a, Rama 308:6. Mishna Brurah 308:29 and 77 clarifies that the leniency applies even if it is for the safety of one person.
- Byitzchak Bikareh 308:18
- Halacha Brurah 266:20 writes that it is forbidden to pick up muktzeh to fulfill the mitzvah of hashavat aveidah. His discussion revolves around whether a mitzvah overrides muktzeh (see Gra 586 and Mishna Brurah there). Another factor is that havadat haveidah is helping someone else financially and as such perhaps it is forbidden to violate something for someone’s else finances. Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata (ch. 20 fnt. 28) quotes Rav Shlomo Zalman as being strict. See there for discussion.
- The Yerushalmi (Beitzah 5:1) states that one may place a vessel over an egg that was laid on Shabbat as long as the vessel doesn’t touch the egg. The Maggid Mishneh (Shabbat 25:23) wonders why there should be a prohibition even if the vessel touches the egg – after all, Chazal forbade only moving Muktzeh. He answers that since an egg is round, touching it automatically will make it move. The Trumat HaDeshen (67) based on Tosfot (see note 1) argues that covering Muktzeh for its protection is forbidden since one’s entire intent is for the Muktzeh.
- S”A 308:42 and Rama 308:3 write simply that it is permitted to touch Muktzeh and don’t add the Trumat HaDeshen’s condition. Magen Avraham 310:3 rules in favor of the Trumat HaDeshen, while the Gr”a (Beiur HaGra 310:6) rules like the Maggid Mishneh. The Mishna Brurah 310:22 and Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata 22:33 agree with the Gr”a.
- Rama 308:3
- Rashi Shabbat 43a s.v. btzarich, Tosfot Beitzah 3b s.v. aval, Mishna Brurah 308:13
- Mishna Brurah 308:13
- Bet Yosef 266:1 cites Rabbenu Yerucham who says that after the milah one could put it away. Darkei Moshe 266:1 quotes the Maharil that one needs to drop it immediately after the milah. Rama 266:2 and Shach (Nekudat Hakesef 266:1) hold like the Rabbenu Yerucham. However, Taz 266:1, Magen Avraham 331:5, and Gra YD 266:3 accept the Maharil. Magen Avraham is lenient while it is still in your hand, while the Gra disagrees with that leniency. Chazon Ovadia v. 3 p. 59 is lenient and writes that such is the minhag even if one put it down. Mishna Brurah 310:15 is strict once you put it down unless one left it in a place that one is afraid that it will be stolen. (Everyone accepts that the milah knife is muktzeh. Pri Megadim M"Z 308:2 writes that a milah knife is a kli shemelachto lisur but if muktzeh mahcmat chisaron kis because you don't want it to get ruined, while the Shach (Nekudat Hakesef 266:1) seems to hold it is fundamentally a kli shemelachto lheter.)
- Mishna Brurah 266:35 writes that the Gra is strict that once Shabbat starts one has to drop the muktzeh unlike the Rama. Biur Halacha 266:12 s.v. yachol cites the Derech Hachaim who allows it for a kli shemelachto lisur and not for real muktzeh.
- Orchot shabbat v. 3 p. 330 discusses this at length. He cites the Chok Yakov who says that for chametz shaylot you should take it to a specific room that you could drop it if you ruled it was chametz. His proof is from the Rashba who says that for terefot shaylot you should do it near the garbage. This is relevant to the topic of moving muktzeh that is already in your hands.
- Magen Avraham 308:7 permits moving a kli shemelachto lisur if you picked it up in a forbidden way by accident. His proof is S”A 308:3 and Rama 266:12. However, the Gra 266:12 disagrees. He only allows continuing to carry muktzeh if you picked it up in a permitted way. Mishna Brurah 308:13 disagrees with the Magen Avraham even regarding a kli shemelachto lisur based on the Gra. Chazon Ish 49:8 disagrees with the Mishna Brurah’s application of the Gra.
- Agudah Beitzah 1:5 writes that if a person forgot and was holding a wallet when Shabbat started he can continue to carry it on Shabbat since he started on Shabbat. Rama 266:12 codifies this. However, Gra 266:12 disagrees. Mishna Brurah 266:35 is strict.
- Even Haozer 266
- Orchot Shabbat v. 2 p. 18 is lenient once you are carrying it that you can continue even if you stop. He cites the S”A Harav (kuntres acharon 301:10) that once you stop it is forbidden. It is similar to the Or Same'ach 24:12 that the reason you can continue carrying muktzeh once you started since muktzeh is based on hotzah and hotzah isn't an issue if there's no hanacha.
- Mishna Brurah 308:136
- Shulchan Aruch 308:34, Mishna Brurah 308:130, 131
- Shulchan Aruch O.C. 308:35
- Rama 279:2
- Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach in Tiltulei Shabbat p. 14
- Shulchan Aruch 308:34 and 37, Mishna Brurah 308:131.
- Shulchan Aruch 310:1, Mishna Brurah 310:1
- Shulchan Aruch 308:36 writes that one should make a disgusting object in order to remove it from the house, and Mishna Brurah 308:139 explains that one shouldn’t make a disgusting item (which will need to be removed) irrelevant of one’s intent.
- Orchot Shabbat v. 2 p. 183
- The Rambam Shabbat 25:24 writes that one may not place a bucket underneath a leak of dirty water on Shabbat since doing so relies on the leniency of graf shel reey. Bet Yosef 308:8 explains that the Ran Beitzah 20a adds that putting a bucket under the dirty water is bitul kli mhechano and only permitted if you rely on graf shel reey. But you can't construct a circumstance where you need to rely on graf shel reey initially.
- However, the Tur disagrees with the Rambam that it is permitted to place a bucket under the water. The Back 338:6 explains that it is permitted since one is only doing so to avoid my house from getting dirty with dirty water on the floor. Therefore it isn't considered creating a graf shel reey initially. Taz 338:4 explains that the Tur holds that it isn't creating a a graf shel reey since the situation of a leek already existed.
- Chaye Adam 67:26, Biur Halacha 338:8
- Orchot Shabbat v. 2 p. 182
- Biur Halacha 338:8 s.v. asur, Orchot Shabbat v. 2 p. 183
- Shitah Mikubeset 21b s.v. vchi writes that eating and leaving the shells and bones isn’t considered making a graf shel reey initially. Orchot Shabbat v. 2 p. 180 and Shiurim Bhalacha Shabbat p. 421 accept this. This might be implied by Mishna Brurah 308:115.
- However, Maggid Mishna Shabbat 26:16 and Meiri 143a say it is forbidden to put one’s muktzeh seeds on a plate in front of oneself rather one should throw them away immediately as one eats. Rav Elyashiv cited in Shvut Yitzchak Muktzeh 9:7 and Dirshu 308:144 asserts that even according to Rambam you could eat if you would need to move it even after you drop it on the floor behind yourself.
- To explain why it is permitted in light of Beitzah 21b that it is forbidden to invite a non-Jew on Yom Tov because doing so would create a graf shel reey Orchot Shabbat explains that inviting a non-Jew is considered out of the ordinary.
- Beitzah 36b, Shulchan Aruch 308:35. Bet Yosef 308:35 cites the Mahari Avuhav who was bothered how adding water helps since placing something permitted on something muktzeh doesn’t help except for a corpse. Mishna Brurah 308:135 explains that the container for waste is muktzeh like a rock since it can’t be used for anything while it is disgusting. Chazon Ish 48:10 argues that the entire concept of placing in water is a unique gezerah and has nothing to do with muktzeh.
- Can you take out the garbage? Tiltulei Shabbat p. 267 writes that if the garbage is foul smelling or otherwise miyus muter. Dirshu opposite 308:34 cites Chut Shani who is strict if the garbage is in the kitchen since isn’t a place where you live.
- Rav Moshe Feinstein in Tiltulei Shabbat v. 10 is strict. See Mishna Brurah 308:115 who sounds otherwise.
- Orchot Shabbat v. 2 p. 173 cites Aruch Hashulchan and Rav Moshe who are strict to avoid it, while Orchot Shabbat disagrees.
- Gemara Beitzah 26b establishes that if someone didn’t realize that something was edible and useable for Shabbat and thought it was muktzeh and in fact he was mistaken the halacha is that it isn’t muktzeh. Shulchan Aruch 310:4 codifies this as the halacha.
- Rashi Beitzah 26b s.v. muter, Mishna Brurah 310:17
- Chazon Ish 49:13, Byitzchak Yikareh 310:17. There is a proof that this is permitted from the Ritva Shabbat 45a s.v. amar that if a person put seeds in the ground and assumed that they took root if in fact they didn’t they aren’t muktzeh.
- Biur Halacha 498:3 s.v. im cited by Dirshu 310:25. See Rosh Yosef Beitzah 26b who seems to agree with Biur Halacha and Rashi unlike the Levush he quotes which is like the Chazon Ish.
- Pri Megadim E”A 498:9 writes that if you thought something was forbidden and it came out that it wasn’t then in fact it is muktzeh.
- Chazon Ish OC 49:13 writes if you have intention that something should be muktzeh because it is forbidden when in fact it is permitted that it is indeed not muktzeh. His proof is Tosfot Sukkah 10b s.v. ad that all muktzeh because of the previous day when it is practically forbidden during ben hashemashot isn’t muktzeh. (Note that Mishna Brurah 310:17 is premised on Rashi Beitzah and Tosfot Sukkah is also in disagreement with Rashi.) Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach in Shemirat Shabbat Khilchata ch. 22 fnt. 32 and Rav Nevinsal in Byitzchak Yikareh 310:17 agree.
- Dirshu 310:25 quotes Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach in Minchat Shlomo 1:62:11 and Shemirat Shabbat Khilchata ch. 22 fnt. 31 that it is forbidden but the Tosfot Rid Beitzah 31b permits it.
- Tiltulei Shabbat p. 138 fnt. 10 quotes Rav Moshe Feinstein as holding that if someone has intention to use a muktzeh machmat isur and violate the isur it isn’t muktzeh. This is relevant to business newspapers or inappropriate books which are forbidden to read. He also cites Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach as holding it isn’t muktzeh but limiting it to him but for others it would be muktzeh.
- Ran Shabbat 46b s.v. asah, Rama 310:2, Shulchan Aruch 498:3, 517:1
- Ran Shabbat 46b s.v. asah
- Ran Shabbat 46a, Gra 310:14, Mishna Brurah 310:12, Mishna Brurah 325:21
- Kol Bo 58 cited by Bet Yosef 310:2 writes that inedible grapes that were left to dry and weren't ready to be eaten all of Shabbat and would be forbidden for a Jew if it belongs to a non-Jew it is permitted. The Rama 310:2 codifies the Kol Bo.
- The Bet Meir argues that the Ran 46b would be strict since it couldn't possibly have been designated to be used before Shabbat since it wasn't edible. Mishna Brurah 310:13 cites this Bet Meir and limits the Rama to a case where it was partially edible before Shabbat.
- Rashi Beitzah 24b, Shulchan Aruch 325:5, Mishna Brurah 325:21
- Rosh Beitzah 3:17 writes that a non-Jew who baked flour into bread isn't muktzeh even though the flour wasn't edible at the beginning of Shabbat since the non-Jew made it permitted. He cites Rabbenu Tam who was strict. Shulchan Aruch 325:4 cites the dispute and is strict.
- Magen Avraham 308:15 is strict that if a non-Jew made a utensil on Shabbat that it is nolad and muktzeh even if it belongs to the non-Jew. Levush 505:1 is lenient. Nishmat Avraham second edition p. 576 quotes Rav Shlomo Zalman that a fax that came in on Shabbat is nolad on Shabbat but a newspaper made on Shabbat isn't nolad since there's no muktzeh on a non-Jew's property.
- Chatom Sofer Mamarim Chadashim Toldot p. 98