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Shabbos 125


QUESTION: The Beraisa says that if a person throws the top of a broken barrel into the garbage, it becomes Muktzah and forbidden to be handled, since it loses its status as a usable utensil by virtue of being discarded. When the Gemara questions this statement because "a cloak that is thrown into the garbage on Shabbos certainly does not lose its status of a usable cloak," it answers that the Beraisa is referring to a case where the barrel lid is thrown away *before Shabbos*. In such a case the barrel lid loses its status of a usable utensil and may not be handled when Shabbos enters.

Does that mean that if a cloak is thrown into the garbage before Shabbos it is Muktzah on Shabbos?

ANSWER: TOSFOS and the RITVA explain that an article of clothing will not lose its status as a utensil ("Kli") even when thrown into the garbage before Shabbos. Rather, when the Gemara compares a broken vessel to a cloak, it is a loose comparison that is intended only to prove a point.

If a broken vessel is thrown into the garbage on Shabbos, it is not logical that it should be worse than a cloak that is thrown into the garbage on Shabbos, because both items were fully usable utensils at the onset of Shabbos. But if it is thrown away *before* Shabbos, it is acceptable logically for the broken vessel to lose its status as a usable item, because it had a low level of significant use to begin with. A cloak, on the other hand, has a high level of significant use, and therefore it will not lose its status of a usable utensil even if it is thrown into the garbage before Shabbos.

QUESTION: The Gemara cites a Tosefta in which Rebbi Meir and Rebbi Yehudah argue whether or not the broken pieces of an old oven are considered Muktzah on Shabbos. Rava says that the argument is based on another argument between Rebbi Meir and Rebbi Yehudah, concerning whether or not an oven that was fired while resting over a pit and not fully attached to the ground surrounding the pit can become Tamei. The issue there is whether an oven which is not attached to the ground is called an "oven" with regard to becoming Tamei or not. Similarly, says Rava, the argument here is whether broken pieces of an oven, which are no longer attached to the ground, retain their status of a "usable utensil."

What does Shabbos have to do with the laws of Tum'ah? There is a specific verse that states that an oven must be attached to the ground in order to become *Tamei*. That has nothing to do with Shabbos. In order to be considered Muktzah on Shabbos, it must have *no common usage*. If this oven (or each of its shards) is still usable, it should not be Muktzah!


(a) The RAMBAN says that the normal manner of using this type of oven is to use it only when it is attached to the ground. Since that is the normal manner of using the oven, if it is not attached, it is not considered a usable utensil with regard to Shabbos.

The verse in the Torah simply teaches that since the normal manner is never to use the oven when it is not attached, it is not considered a utensil in that state and cannot become Tamei. Similarly, with regard to Shabbos, it is not considered a utensil when it is not attached. (It seems that the reasoning behind this is that since a person intends to attach the oven to the ground after Shabbos, he has no intention of using it for any other purpose on Shabbos, and thus it is not considered a usable utensil.)

(b) The RAMBAN and RASHBA offer a second answer. The argument concerning the broken pieces of an oven does not involve a whole oven which is not attached, but rather a broken piece from such an oven. Since the whole oven itself is *less valuable* than a regular, attached oven (as we see from the argument concerning a detached oven becoming Tamei), a broken piece from such an oven will not be considered a significant utensil at all.

Rava, then, compares the Tum'ah-status of a detached oven, with the utensil-status of a broken piece from such an oven on Shabbos. (Rav Ashi, who challenges Rava's comparison, does not agree with the entire reasoning of Rava in this matter. According to Rav Ashi, if the oven is considered to be a utensil, then a broken piece from such an oven is also considered a utensil.)


QUESTION: According to the Mishnah, one may draw water with a jug hanging from the end of a branch only if the jug was tied there before Shabbos. Otherwise the branch is Muktzah. Rav Sheshes contends that the Mishnah is discussing a branch which is still attached to the ground (and is lower than 3 Tefachim off the ground); if a jug is tied to it before Shabbos it is not Muktzah since it was "prepared" for drawing water before Shabbos. Otherwise it is Muktzah.

It seems clear from the Gemara that even what is attached to the ground can be considered Muktzah. If so, why is it permitted to walk on grass on Shabbos? Since the grass is Muktzah (since it is attached and cannot be used on Shabbos; see Shabbos 121a), when a person walks on it he is moving an object that is Muktzah!


(a) The PRI MEGADIM (Mishbetzos Zahav OC 336:4) explains that it is permitted to walk on grass since one may move Muktzah objects with one's feet (see Insights to 127a and 141a, where we discuss the various opinions on this matter).

(b) HAGAON RAV SHLOMO ZALMAN AUERBACH (Minchas Shlomo 10:1 fn. #2) explains that since grass returns to its former position by itself after being trampled upon, it is not comparable to moving Muktzah.

(c) According to some, it would appear that moving *part* of an item that is Muktzah is not prohibited (as was once explained to me by ha'Gaon Rav Yisroel Zev Gustman -- see also Insights to Shabbos 120:3:a). If so, it cannot be prohibited to move Muktzah which is Mechubar to the ground, for one is moving only part of the entire Muktzah (since the ground itself is not being moved). Why, then should it be prohibited to move the branch in order to draw water from the well, if was not prepared before Shabbos?

The Gemara explains that one is not just *moving* the branch, but even *using* it (to draw water with). Perhaps it is only prohibited to *use* Mechubar which is Muktzah. It is permitted to trample grass while walking since one is not *using* the grass, but walking upon it. (See Rashba to Shabbos 29a -- cited in Insights to Shabbos 28:3:a -- who discusses the possibility that using Muktzah while touching it is worse than just touching it). (M. Kornfeld)

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