|Is one permitted to use a
hammer to crack open a nut?
This brings us to
the next muktze category called kli shemlachto lissur. A kli
shemlachto lissur is defined as a kli generally used for
actions that are prohibited to be done on Shabbos. A hammer, for example is used for
hammering nails into wood, which involves an issur either of Boneh
Construction, or of Makeh Bpatish Applying the Finishing Touch.
The halacha applicable to this category is that if
the kli is needed (for something permissible of course), it may be
used. The term used is ltsorech gufo for use of itself. Therefore, if
one needs the hammer to crack open nuts, one may use it. If a screwdriver is needed to pry
open a jammed lid, one may.
Before one wishes to use a kli, one must be
sure that the particular kli belongs in this category of muktze. As we
learned in the previous sheet, a kli that is muktze machmas chisaron kis
may not be used ltsorech gufo, as it is totally muktze.
If I have a nutcracker, may I
nevertheless use a hammer?
The Mishna Berura says 1 that one may
only use a kli shemlachto lissur when no other kli
is available. Accordingly, if you have a nutcracker, you should not use a hammer. If a
knife will pry open the jar, do not use a screwdriver.
This appears to be a matter of availability. If your
neighbor has a nutcracker, you would not be required to borrow it from him, and you may
use the hammer. If however, the nutcracker requires a little searching for, it is
If a screwdriver is occupying my chair,
may I remove it?
Another application of this category is that if a kli
shemlachto lissur is occupying space needed for ones use, it may be
moved. If a writing pen, for example, is on a chair needed for sitting on, it may be
Once it is removed from the chair and
is still in my hands, may it be placed where it belongs or must it be put down as soon as
The Shulchan Aruch rules 2 that the item
may be placed wherever the person wants to put it.
If one lifted a muktze item when
he was not allowed to, must it be put down as soon as possible, or once it is already in
ones hand, it may be put wherever he wants?
This question can be divided into two parts. 1) Does this
permit apply to sticks and stones as well (other muktze categories)? 2) If a kli
shemlachto lissur was accidentally picked up, may one continue with it to
wherever he wants?
The Magen Avraham 3 holds that this is a
general permit for all muktze items. I.e. if a muktze item was lifted, it
may be placed anywhere. The MB 4 however, says that the poskim
disagree and ruled that this leniency applies solely to the category of keilim shemlachtam
lissur. In other words, if an expensive camera was unintentionally picked up, it
must be put down immediately. If one lifted a stone and remembered that there is no heter
to move it at all, it must be dropped there and then.
As for the second issue, the Vilna Gaon holds that
the heter of placing items wherever one chooses applies only if the item was lifted
up when it was permitted to do so. If, however, a kli shemlachto
lissur was lifted absentmindedly, or when there was no heter to do so, it
must be put down there and then.
 Simon 308:12.
 Simon 308:3.
 See Shaar Hatsiun 308:14.
 Simon 308:13.
Food For Thought
If a hammer is getting wet in
the rain, may one bring it inside?
An expensive camera was left outside on
the porch. May I bring it inside?
A mezuza fell out of its case.
May it be picked up? Put back into the case?
Am I permitted to lean onto something muktze?
Answers coming next week.
Vort on the Parsha
Parshas Kedoshim, which opens with the instruction
to be holy, does not demand us to cut ourselves off from the world.
Rather the Torah tells us to fear our parents, and almost immediately afterwards we are
ordered not to steal, not to lie to fellowmen, and to pay our employees before sunrise of
This illustrates that holiness applies also to the way one
treats and behaves with others and not only to spiritual matters.
Harav Sternbuch shlita brings a story of R Zusha who
happened to come by a large sum of money, and handed it to his rebbetzin so that she could
order a wedding dress form the tailor for their daughter. While sewing the dress, the
tailors future son in law saw the dress and was sure it was for his bride,
until the tailor told him that they could not afford such a dress, which caused much
distress to the unfortunate future son in law.
Upon hearing that, the rebbetzin told the tailor to keep
the dress for his daughter.
When she came home and related the story to R Zusha,
he ordered her to return immediately to the tailor and pay him for his work, saying, just
because you decided to give him the dress as a present, does not relinquish your
obligation to pay him, as was arranged!