|May a broken kli
If a kli breaks
on Shabbos, it will not be muktze if it is used to fulfill a certain function. This
applies even if the kli cannot operate in the same manner as it did before.
For example, a jug that was used for storing liquids and cracked (even on Shabbos), if
from now on it will be used as an ornament it is not muktze. 1
However, if it broke in such a way that it is useless and
such a kli is usually discarded, it is muktze.2 Therefore,
if a plate broke in half on Shabbos it is muktze, because nowadays a broken plate
serves no purpose. In the time of Chazal, broken items were utilized for covering
bottles, bowls etc, and therefore broken items were far from becoming muktze on
Shabbos. In contemporary times, however, we are fortunate to have aluminum foil, plastic
wrap etc, which perform those functions, and hence we have no use for most broken items.
What if the broken kli can
perform a certain function, but the owner discarded it on Shabbos, does it become muktze?
A broken kli that can perform a certain
function, as mentioned, is not muktze. However, if the owner discarded it before
Shabbos it becomes muktze and may not be moved. This is because a certain consensus
exists as far as broken items are concerned, and therefore even though it still has some
use, if it was discarded before Shabbos it is muktze. Accordingly, if one walks by
a communal garbage on Shabbos and sees a broken chair, even though he has use for such a
chair it is muktze.
If however, it was discarded on Shabbos, since it was
considered a kli at the onset of Shabbos, it does not lose its status.3
The above-mentioned chair would not be muktze in this case. See footnote. 4
What if the kli has a use
but one does not know whether it was discarded before Shabbos and is muktze,
or discarded on Shabbos and is not muktze?
The Biur Halacha 5 quotes R
Akiva Eiger who is indecisive in this matter, but adds that if the item was found in the
street it is not muktze. This is because a) it may have broken on this very spot
and not been discarded at all (we are referring to a kli that is used even in
its broken state), b) it may have been discarded on Shabbos (which does not become muktze).
If a pair of good shoes was discarded
before Shabbos, do they become muktze?
In this case we are not talking about broken keilim,
rather an undamaged kli was discarded before Shabbos. Here the halacha
is that since it is abnormal to discard decent looking items, the kli does
not forfeit its status as a kli, and is not muktze. 6
Accordingly, if one sees a chair placed next to the garbage, even though the fabric is
faded, it is not muktze because it is still considered an unbroken kli.
May one move shards that present a
Shards of glass are usually muktze due to the
potential damage they may inflict and hence people do not use broken glass as keilim.
If however broken glass is in ones home or in the street, it is permitted to move it
out of the way even with ones hands, because of the potential danger. 7
As for carrying the shards in the street when there is no eiruv, see simon
308 seif 18. The Mishna Berura 8 adds that shards of clay
do not present a threat and therefore may not be handled. They may however, be gathered up
with a broom and dustpan, 9 but not with ones hands. Plastic dishes would
be more applicable to us, and therefore broken plastic, when it does not pose as a threat,
is muktze and should not be gathered with ones hands.
 Simon 308:6.
 MB simon 308:58.
 MB 308:32.
 Certain stipulations apply to broken keilim, namely if they can be easily
repaired, they would be muktze as a gzeira (Rabbinical decree) lest
one repairs them. If, for example, a leg of a chair disjoined, a rav should be consulted,
because the chair itself (in certain cases) becomes muktze. This belongs to seif
 Simon 308:7 mibod yom.
 MB 308:51.
 Simon 308:6 in the Rama.
 Simon 308:30.
 This is called tiltul min hatzad ltsorech davar hamutar.
Food For Thought
Is one permitted to use a needle
in order to remove a splinter?
If the wheel of a baby carriage came
off, does the carriage become muktze?
A leg of a chair came out, may one sit
on the chair?
The stick of the broomstick came out,
is one permitted to put it back?
Answers coming next week.
Vort on the Parsha
Hashem has warned us not to lend money to our fellow
Jews on interest. One of the explanations given is that a persons livelihood depends
on many factors; whether it is rain for the farmer, customers for the shopkeeper etc. A
person is thus propelled to turn to Hashem and entreat Him to send ones sustenance.
Money earned on interest however, is a guaranteed income (unless the borrower shirks his
duty to repay), and one is not compelled to turn to Hashem for assistance.
The Ksav Sofer says that this is why the Torah
associated money interest with the Land of Israel. Many lands are water rich and the
inhabitants do not have to turn to Hashem to pray for their existence, whereas Eretz
Yisrael drinks water from the rains of the heavens dependent on Hashems
mercies. It is in the Holy Land where we must continually turn to Hashem, which in itself
is one of the blessings of the Land.