Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: מוקצה is an All Day Affair

I know the title is more cutesy than usual.  In this case, the cutesiness is just gravy because the title expresses precisely what I want to express.  Deal.

There are several misconception about מוקצה, but a few stand out.  For example, people think it is forbidden touch מוקצה.  Nope; it is only forbidden to move מוקצה.  Note, however, that if the movement is a פסיק רישא/inevitable consequence and that itself could cause a violation of Shabbos (such as touching a hanging oil lamp), then the touching itself is also forbidden.  Other than that, go ahead and touch that hammer and pricey Lladro.

Here's another one: no problem moving the מוקצה item if you need it's place (hey!  I want to sit there!) or the item itself for something permissible (Honey, if you can't find that darn nutcracker again... just use the hammer. ).  Well... not so fast there Quicksdraw!  That rule is only true for a כלי שמלאכתו לאיסור/a tool/utensil whose main function is for a labor forbidden on Shabbos/Yom Tov but which can also be used for permissible stuff.  (See how much more precise and compact the Holy Tongue is?)  So you certainly may move a hammer, but not a coin.  Even if you want to crack a nut with that silver dollar (good luck, by the way), you still can't use money, because money is not a utensil nor tool, it is therefore in the category of מוקצה מחמת גופו/intrinsically מוקצה.

Now to today's core topic.  There is a general rule that something that was מוקצה from before and throughout the onset of Shabbos remains מוקצה for the entire Shabbos.  Classic example of this is Shabbos candelabra; since the candles were burning throughout twilight and the candelabra is supporting the candles that are supporting a flame -- which is מוקצה מחמת גופו -- therefore the candelabra is מוקצה for the entire Shabbos.  Correspondingly, if something was perfectly fine before and during the onset of Shabbos, but then became מוקצה on Shabbos, and then whatever attribute made it מוקצה was also removed on Shabbos, then the item itself is also no longer מוקצה.  Whew... the classic example of this is a towel that gets sopping wet on Shabbos (left in yard and it rained overnight, מוקצה because of fear or wringing it which is either a problem of laundering or squeezing), then becomes dry again; that towel can now be used for drying dishes and babies in the late afternoon heat once it becomes dry.

Now you'll ask me: That being the case, smart guy, why does the Taz (Yoreh Dei'ah, 266, sk 1) say that the mohel must be very careful after a bris on Shabbos to only move the איזמל/bris knife to one secure place -- because after the bris the איזמל is מוקצה!  Isn't that a case of מוקצה for only part of Shabbos?  I'll answer you... just give me a minute... or a day... hmm... interesting... ah!

No, that case does not violate the rule that we don't have partial מוקצה days.  The issue here is that the איזמל is מוקצה all day.  (WHAT?! But the mohel moved it around to do the bris!! .)  Yes, the word מוקצה means "set aside", not "immovable".  The איזמל is הוקצה למצוותו/set aside for its mitzvah.  Of course you can move the איזמל to do the bris -- and nothing else -- because it is precisely for that purpose that it was set aside.

Oh, by the way... the Taz adds that the mohel is allowed to move the איזמל after the bris because if here were not allowed to secure his precious (and expensive) איזמל, then he would not want to do the bris at all.  When Chazal created an exception out of concern that without the exception people would be really stuck is a topic all of its own.

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: 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: 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…