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: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…

Thought for the Day: Prayer II -- How?

Now that we know that the obligation to pray is nothing more (nor less!) than a divine decree, we are going to also need instructions from heaven on how to implement that decree.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have instruction from heaven how to implement heavenly decrees.  One only needs to look at the shambles that one modern ism has made of the very important Torah principle of תיקון עולם/improving and fixing the world.  They have taken words out of context and used them to support their own nefarious schemes.  (To the point that Google Translate actually translates -- not transliterates -- תיקון עולם as Tikkun Olam.  Amelia Bedelia would be proud; we are not amused.

The Torah teaches us how to pray in two complementary fashions.  One is the way in which the concept is presented as an obligation, the other is by giving us examples of how to practically implement those instructions.

The obligation is introduced in the second paragraph of "sh'ma" -- וּלְ…