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Weekly Shabbos Halacha Series
Halachos Series on Hilchos Shabbos

shabbos candles

Published by
Pirchei Shoshanim

A Project of
The Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Written by

Rabbi Dovid
Ostroff, shlita


These Halachos were shown by Rabbi Ostroff to
HaGaon HaRav Moshe Sternbuch, shlita



Questions for the Week of Parshas Bo


May one bring an expensive camera in from the porch?

In the previous shiur we learned that one may not bring a hammer in from the rain. Are there any leniencies when a substantial loss is involved?

Assuming that the expensive camera is muktze machmas chisaron kis, it may not be moved or handled even when a loss is involved. In this case it will not help to “invent” a need for the k’li, because a k’li that is muktze machmas chisaron kis is forbidden to handle under all circumstances. [1]

However, one is permitted to cover the camera with a plastic sheet, box etc. to prevent it from getting wet, as the halacha is that one may move or carry an item for the sake of a muktze. [2]

A mezuza fell out of its case, may it be picked up? Put back into the case?

A gett (divorce certificate) may be handled on Shabbos, because one can learn the halachos of a gett. [3] We can learn from this that a mezuzah lying in one’s drawer may be handled as well, because one can learn from it or read the Sh’ma. However, if one was particular not to handle it, it would be muktze. [4]

As for a mezuzah on one’s doorpost: Some authorities pointed out that it is muktze similar to a door that came off its hinges. Others argue saying that a door is part of the house and as such it is not an article that may be moved around, unlike a mezuzah, which is not part of the house. Whatever the case, one may pick it up off the floor to prevent its dishonor, but should avoid fixing it to the doorpost on Shabbos. [5]

Am I permitted to lean onto something muktze? Touch it?

The Rama tells us that muktze may be touched but not moved. This, however seems to contradict another halacha, [6] which says that one may cover a muktze as long as one does not touch it while doing so. The Mishna Berura [7] reconciles the two by saying that the latter halacha is referring to covering an egg or something round. Since an egg is oval shaped, touching it will definitely move it, and therefore it may not be touched. Other muktze items that will not move when touched may be touched.

As for leaning on muktze: we find in the Mishna Berura [8] that one may sit on something muktze, and leaning, of course, would be the same. However, using muktze (even without handling it with one’s hand) is forbidden, see the Sh’miras Shabbos Ke’hilchasa. [9]

May a broken k’li be handled/moved?

If a k’li breaks on Shabbos, it will not be muktze if it is used to fulfill a certain function. This applies even if the k’li 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. [10]

However, if it broke in such a way that it is useless and such a k’li is usually discarded, it is muktze. [11] 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. that perform those functions, and hence we have no use for most broken items.

What if the broken k’li can perform a certain function, but the owner discarded it on Shabbos, does it become muktze?

A broken k’li 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 k’li at the onset of Shabbos, it does not lose its status. [12] The above-mentioned chair would not be muktze in this case. See footnote. [13]

What if the k’li 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 Bi’ur Halacha [14] 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 k’li that is used even in its broken state), b) it may have been discarded on Shabbos (which does not become muktze).

[1] Simon 308:1.

[2] Simon 310:6.

[3] Rama Even Ha’ezer simon 136. M”B simon 307:63.

[4] Sha’ar Ha’tsiun 307:70.

[5] See the Sh’miras Shabbos Kehilchasa 20 footnote 33

[6] Simon 310:6.

[7] Simon 310:22.

[8] See M”B simon 308:82 & 88.

[9] Chapter 20 footnote 6&7.

[10] Simon 308:6.

[11] M”B simon 308:58.

[12] M”B 308:32.

[13] Certain stipulations apply to broken keilim, namely if they can be easily repaired, they would be muktze as a g’zeira (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 se’if 16.

[14] Simon 308:7 “mib’od yom”.


Vort on the Parsha

A certain Rav Frenkel lived through the camps and managed to lay tefillin every single day, except for two days. The first was when he was caught by a Nazi ym"s when getting his tefillin, and the Nazi tore them from his hand, and holding them by the straps, banged him repeatedly over his head till he fainted. The Nazi left him for dead and ripped up the tefillin. Rav Frenkel awoke and broken-hearted gathered the torn tefillin and buried them. He discovered that another inmate had tefillin in another part of the camp and would climb over a barbed-wire fence each day to lay tefillin. He was in danger of being shot to death whenever he climbed that fence.

The second time he missed tefillin was immediately after liberation. Utterly exhausted, he slept for 30 hours straight, missing a day and missing tefillin.


For a printed version, click here.




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Note:  The purpose of this series is intended solely for the clarification of the topics discussed and not to render halachic decisions. It is intended to heighten everyone's awareness of important practical questions which do arise on this topic.  One must consult with a proper halachic authority in order to receive p'sak.