|Is fruit sold as
merchandise muktze or not?
Aruch 1tells us that all edible food items, even food sold as merchandise,
may be handled and eaten on Shabbos. The Tosefos Shabbos 2explains that
although the food is up for sale, nevertheless one has it in mind to eat them whenever he
This is probably based on the assumption that a person will
always eat whatever he can and therefore he does not take his mind off food.3
There are exceptions to this rule, for example fruit that was still attached to the tree
at the commencement of Shabbos; even though it fell off the tree on Shabbos, it remains muktze.
Therefore, if your supply of soft drinks depleted on
Shabbos, you may borrow more drinks from your shopkeeper neighbor and pay him after
Shabbos. If your shul members decided (a bit late) that they would like to make a kiddush
after shul, they may obtain cake, drink, herring etc from a local store 4and
bring it to shul (where there is a kosher eiruv).
Is there a difference between food
products and other merchandise? I.e. if I can obtain paper and plastic plates from a local
storeowner on Shabbos are they muktze?
Merchandise is not usually used by a merchant because he
knows that if he uses his plates or cups etc he will have a problem selling them, and
therefore he takes his mind off using them, and hence they are muktze.5
If however, he uses his merchandise they would not be muktze. Therefore obtaining
paper plates and cups from a local Jewish merchant on Shabbos would largely depend on his
habitual conduct with regards to his merchandise.
If I placed pieces of apple on my porch
to dry before Shabbos, may I eat them on Shabbos?
The source of this question is rooted in the gemora
(and halacha)6, which says that figs and raisins placed on ones
roof to dry are muktze on Shabbos. The poskim explain that food will be muktze
when two factors are present, namely inedible and physically rejected.
The gemora says that figs and raisins are inedible
during their drying process, which is reason for their rejection, and putting them on the
roof to dry is a physical rejection. Whenever one of these two factors is absent the food
will not be muktze. Pieces of apple do not become inedible during their drying
process and as such only one factor is present setting aside, accordingly they
would not be muktze.
We find though, that the poskim debate as to whether
matzos for the Seder night are muktze on the Shabbos before Pesach, because
they are set aside and will definitely not be eaten before Pesach. Some say that they are muktze
machmas chisaron kis muktze due to their extreme value and the care one
takes of such an item. 7
If one erroneously believed that a
certain item was muktze and subsequently learned that it is not. May he handle that
item on Shabbos?
Let us revert to the figs and raisins. As stated they are muktze
partly because they are inedible. If when Shabbos began one thought that they were not yet
edible and subsequently learned that they were edible when Shabbos began, they are not muktze
and may be eaten. This is based on a rule that says that items cannot become muktze
through erroneous belief. 8
If one mistakenly thought that a certain item was muktze
and he was subsequently put right, the item may be handled, despite the fact that he
thought it was muktze.
 Simon 310:2.
 This is not the Tosefos on Maseches Shabbos which are Rishonim,
rather this is an achron a latter commentator who lived approximately 200
hundred years ago. He is often quoted by the MB and other poskim.
 See the SSK 20 footnote 63 who brings the Ohr Sameach saying that
a person will give whatever necessary for food, and therefore one never takes his mind off
 Obviously we are referring to a case where no payment, writing etc will be done on
 Rama in Simon 308:1. See also the Shulchan Aruch HaRav 308:3 and
the SSK 20:21.
 Simon 310:2.
 See the SSK 20:22 and footnote 65.
 Simon 310:4.
Food For Thought
If an item was usable when
Shabbos began and during Shabbos became unusable and hence muktze, if it becomes
usable again does it remain muktze?
Is one permitted to cover a newly laid
egg on Shabbos? What about placing a plate beneath it to catch it?
Under which muktze-status do you
classify a wallet with money inside and without?
Does money in a jacket pocket render
the entire jacket muktze?
Answers coming next week.
Vort on the Parsha
The possuk says (2:5) that Hashem
bequeathed mount Seir as a heritage to Eisav, and the Possuk in Yehoshua
(24:4) says Hashem bequeathed mount Seir as a heritage to Eisav and Yaakov and
his sons went down to Egypt. Why is it that Eisav received his heritage on a silver
platter when Bnei Yisroel only received theirs after the hardships of Egypt
and the desert?
Rav Aharon Bakst Ztzl explained that we find an
interesting phenomenon in nature where a newborn calf will be walking and feeding himself
within a few days of birth, whereas a human takes months of careful nurturing and care
before he is capable of the same. This is because the higher the expectancy, the greater
the work and effort needs to be instilled in the product a polished diamond is
produced only after much sweat and toil.
Not much was expected of Eisav and therefore he was handed
his heritage on a platter, whereas of Bnei Yisroel was expected perfection and
refinement of the highest nature. This could only be produced through the melting pot of
Our gollus is a long and terrible one. Our only consolation
and hope is that labor pains bring forth a beautiful baby. We too are awaiting a speedy
and extraordinary redemption.