|Is the sand in a sandpit muktze?
In other words, is a child allowed to play in a sandpit on Shabbos?
The Shulchan Aruch 1teaches us that one may bring
sand into ones house before Shabbos 2and use it for covering dirt and
slime on Shabbos. In other words, even though sand is usually muktze, if prepared
for use it is permitted to handle.
Accordingly, sand in a sand pit was prepared for
childrens use and is therefore not muktze. 3On the other hand sand
on the beach or on a building site are muktze.
May I blow a feather on Shabbos?
Blowing muktze is permitted.4 The
question is, is it because it is irregular to move muktze through blowing or
because it is not considered handling at all, and Chazal only forbade the handling
of muktze? The nafka minah 5would be blowing a feather. Since it
is normal to blow a feather it would not be called handling muktze irregularly
and according to one side of our querry should be forbidden.
The Eshel Avraham (Butchatch)
says that one may move anything through blowing, because blowing is better than kilachar
yad (irregular handling of muktze), as it is not considered moving muktze
It is therefore permitted to blow feathers,
dust etc from ones clothes on Shabbos even though they might be muktze. As
for brushing muktze from ones clothes, according to the Shulchan
Aruch HaRav 6it is forbidden, because it is considered handling muktze,
and according to the Chazon Ish 7it is permitted. He understands that it
is as if one is dealing with the garment and not with the muktze.
Is one permitted to pat a pet on
Animals per se are muktze, and
therefore may not be lifted, dragged, pulled etc. 8We learn from the halachos
of the handling of a dead body 9that moving part of a muktze is also
forbidden. Accordingly it is forbidden to move even one limb of an animal, as moving a
limb is similar to the handling and the moving of the whole animal.
On the other hand we find that Rav Shlomo
Zalman Auerbach ztzl 10ruled that a lead dog is not muktze
on Shabbos, as it is set aside specifically for that purpose, and its use requires it to
be handled. With regards to pets however, we do not find contemporary poskim
permitting its handling, and unless one hears from his rav otherwise it should be regarded
If my child sits down in
the middle of a Shabbos walk and refuses to continue, am I permitted to carry him home?
The answer to this frequent scenario will
greatly depend on where it takes place. Obviously we are not talking about a case where
there is a kosher eiruv, because in such a case he may be picked up and taken home.
Likewise in a life-threatening situation, he may be lifted and taken home.
If he is in a reshus harabim (a
public domain where carrying four cubits is biblically prohibited) you are forbidden to
carry him. You will have an opportunity to practice your coaxing/ threatening/ pleading
abilities, because there is not much else you can do. If he leans on you while walking in
a way that one foot is always on the ground, it is permitted as long as you do not drag
If he is in a carmelis (a public
domain where carrying four cubits is Rabbinically prohibited) carrying is likewise
prohibited, but you may ask a non-Jew to carry him home. 11
 Simon 308:38.
 This was common practice in their times when the flooring was sand.
 SSK 16:4.
 Simon 308, Rama seif 3, and Mechaber seif
 Aramaic for outcome. In other words, the difference between the various explanations
materializes in the following case.
 Simon 302:3.
 Orach Chayim 47:15.
 Simon 308:39.
 Simon 311:7.
 SSK 18 footnote 621
 Simon 308:41, and MB 154. In a carmelis there is more of a
leniency as far as dragging a child goes, but it will depend on the age and a few other
factors. In this limited space we cannot delve into it.
Food For Thought
If my child is carrying a stone
in his hand, may I lift him up? Is it as if I am carrying the stone as well?
What if he is carrying money?
If a bowl of fruit has a stone inside
it as well, am I permitted to lift the bowl?
Does it depend on the type of fruit in
Answers coming next week.
Vort on the Parsha
After the Bnei Yisroel were bitten by the
poisonous snakes, Moshe Rabeinu was commanded by Hashem to make an antidote in the form of
a snake for the bitten people to see. Moshe then fashioned a copper snake, which he
was not commanded to do. What was the reason for this?
In nature, when an animal bites someone, he is told not to
look at the animal that bit him because the anxiety will cause the poison to circulate
faster in the blood stream. The Ramban says that Moshe perceived that if the
antidote was to gaze at an artificial snake, then the cure is not a natural one, rather it
is the submissiveness to Hashem that will cure. In order to emphasize that the cure is
Divine he fashioned a snake from copper, because in Hebrew copper has the same resonance
as a snake nchash nchoshes. In such a manner the
bitten people will reminisce even more over the artificial snake, which again is an
antithesis to medicine. Moshe Rabeinu wished to emphasize that just as the punishment is
Divine, so is the cure.