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Weekly Shabbos Halacha Series
Halachos Series on Hilchos Shabbos

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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 Ki Sisa


If a bowl of fruit has a stone inside it as well, am I permitted to lift the bowl?

The Shulchan Aruch [1] continues that one is forbidden to lift a bowl of fruit with a stone inside. The reason is because Chazal forbade carrying muktze even through another item. This is called tiltul min hatsad indirect handling, and it is also forbidden.

As to the correct handling of the bowl, the gemora lays down certain rules, which are true for all handling of muktze through tiltul min hatsad.


One only requires the bowl

One requires the bowl and the fruit

One requires the space the bowl is occupying

Hard fruit [2]

Must tip out the bowls contents

Tip out the bowl and gather the fruit

May carry the bowl with the fruit and the stone inside

Soft or overripe fruit [3]

May carry the bowl as it is

May carry the bowl as it is

May carry the bowl as it is

The muktze item, which in this case is the stone, must be tipped whenever feasible. Therefore when there is hard fruit in the bowl, the contents must be tipped out and the fruit gathered back into the bowl.

If the fruit is soft and will spoil if tipped out, one may carry the bowl as it is.

If one needs the space the bowl is occupying and tipping out the contents will not help because the stone will land in the required space, the bowl with its contents may be carried as they are.

The Shulchan Aruch HaRav [4] asks why is it that the bowl may be carried with the stone inside (when the fruit is ripe and soft) but a child may not be lifted up if he is holding a stone unless he is yearning terribly for his father?

He answers that Chazal permitted carrying muktze indirectly when you require the permitted article, provided that you cannot discard the muktze, but Chazal did not allow carrying the permitted item unnecessarily. Therefore, since the father is not interested in lifting the child at that particular moment, it is forbidden to do so, unless the child is yearning for his father.

Is fruit sold as merchandise muktze or not?

The Shulchan Aruch [5] tells us that all edible food items, even food sold as merchandise, may be handled and eaten on Shabbos. The Tosefos Shabbos [6] explains that although the food is up for sale, nevertheless one has it in mind to eat them whenever he wishes.

This is probably based on the assumption that a person will always eat whatever he can and therefore one does not take his mind off food. [7] 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 [8] and 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 disposable 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. [9] 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 depend on his normal mode of conduct in relation to his merchandise (do neighbors take disposables at all hours etc.).

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?

For example, if a sock lands into a bowl of water (ever removed your sock into the neggel vasser bowl?). Chazal instituted a gzeira [10] not to handle wet clothes (that one is particular about them being wet) lest he wrings them out, and hence they become muktze. If and when the clothes eventually dry they will no longer be muktze. This is based on the rule that an item's destiny is decided at the commencement of Shabbos. If for whatever reason an item becomes muktze on Shabbos, as soon as that reason is no longer applicable, the item will revert to its original state of not being muktze. [11]

On the other hand, when an item began Shabbos in a state of muktze, it will remain muktze for the entire Shabbos, even though the cause for that muktze is no longer present. [12]

[1] Simon 309:3.

[2] Hard fruit will not spoil if tipped out of the bowl.

[3] Soft fruit will spoil if tipped out of the bowl.

[4] Simon 309:1.

[5] Simon 310:2.

[6] 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.

[7] 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 food.

[8] Obviously we are referring to a case where no payment, writing etc will be done on Shabbos.

[9] Rama in Simon 308:1. See also the Shulchan Aruch HaRav 308:3 and the SSK 20:21.

[10] Rama in simon 301:46.

[11] Simon 310:3.

[12] See MB 310:16.


Vort on the Parsha

The Shem Mishmuel explains why the Torah prohibited the construction of the Mishkan on Shabbos, as follows. Before the Sin of the Golden Calf the Mishkan was not needed because the Shechina descended on every Yisroel. The Mishkan was necessary so that Bnei Yisroel could once again attain the Shechina, which is done by lowering one's haughtiness and realizing that one must serve Hashem much more than one is accustomed to, and seeing one's "smallness" in comparison with Hashem's greatness. Through and one attains the Shechina. But on Shabbos one attains Shechina though , similar to the pre- golden calf era, in which case it is attained without the need of the Mishkan. It is direct.


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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.