Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: When Muktza Is Not Muktza

One of the frustrations with learning physics is that physics uses words that have common meanings for very precise concepts.  For example, in physics we have the concept of "work".  According to the physics definition, a person who picks up a 16 lb bowling ball in the morning, carries it around all day, and finally puts it back exactly where it started has done no work.  You and I know he is exhausted, of course, and it seems nonsensical to say that he has done no work.  That is because you and I (well, you, anyway) use the word "work" to mean one thing and physicists use it to me something else.  The word was chosen as the best possible one for the concept, but pitting a precise concept against a common (ie, sloppy) usage will always lead to some frustration.

I read a fascinating piece in Shulchan Shlomo on muktza (Vol 2, "b'gidrei muktza", right at the beginning).  The word "muktza" comes from "muktza mi'da'as" -- put out of one's thoughts.  For example, I put grapes on the roof to dry into raisins.  From the time they start to wither until they are completed raisins, they are pretty disgusting and no one would want to eat them -- they are muktza.  There is a general rule that something which is muktza "bein hashmashos" (twilight) will remain muktza the entire Shabbos.  So if those grapes go up on the roof Friday afternoon, even though they may be raisins by Saturday afternoon, they will remain unavailable to me (muktza) until after Shabbos.  On the other hand, suppose I taste the chicken late friday afternoon, so I cannot not have milchigs throughout the entire twilight period.  Milchigs is certainly "muktza mi'da'ati", but they are not muktza.  Another example is that I can put raw meat into the cholent pot just before candle lighting specifically to take my mind of that cholent all Friday night, but the cholent will not be muktza for the Shabbos day meal.  The Shulchan Shlomo even brings of the idea of a suit that I am saving for Shabbos morning and therefore actively "maktze mi'da'ati" -- put it out of my mind -- for Friday night.  Again, just because did something to put it out of my mind, doesn't make it muktza.  Rather, those things that Chazal gave the name "muktza" are muktza; and anything else isn't muktza even though the adjective is apropos.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Hydroponically Grown Humans... I Feel Sick

I am quite openly not at all objective about abortion in particular and the treatment of human embryos and fetuses in general.  I am, after all, the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.  Not "thought about it, but couldn't go through with it"; not "made appointment, but then chickened out at the lost moment"; but, "tried a procedure, but was unsuccessful in attempt to abort".  Nonetheless, I try very hard to listen to the liberal arguments (which I also used to chant as part of the general liberal catechism), and am genuinely empathetic to the plight of women who find themselves in that difficult position.

What I heard on NPR this morning, however, has left me feeling physically ill.  You can read about it, if you like, but here's the bottom line:  Scientists in Cambridge have achieved a new record, they fertilized a human ova and then kept it alive in vitro (that is, in a test tube/petri dish in a laboratory) for 14 days.  The scientist involve…