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Thought for the Day: It It's Muktzeh During Twilight, Then It's Muktzeh All Shabbos

Yesterday I waxed poetic (or at least referred to a real poet), and by the way mentioned an interesting question in the Shulchan Shlomo.  It then occurred to me that perhaps not everyone is familiar with this halacha that if an object is muktzeh during twilight, then it will remain muktzeh for the entire day.  Today, with the help of HaShem, I shall expand on that; but not poetically.

Muktzeh does not mean (despite what many of our children/grandchildren) may think "stuff you are not allowed to touch".  Rather it refers to things which one is not allowed to move on Shabbos or Yom Tov.  Yes, I am purposely omitting oodles of details; such ass of when and under what circumstances one is allowed to move different categories of muktzeh.  I am doing that in order to focus in on the Shulchan Shlomo's very cool question with a minimum of introduction.

Again, glossing over many details, an object can be muktzeh because of itself or because of its situation.  For example, hammers, cell phones, scissors, money, credit cards and whatnot are all muktzeh in an of themselves.  Hammers and cell phones and the like are utensils/tools/gizmos whose primary purpose is to perform an action that is forbidden on Shabbos.  Money and credit cards have no intrinsic use/value, they are only valuable because of what they represent.  In any case, the object itself is muktzeh and that will not change over the course of the day.

Towels are not muktzeh.  A silver tray is not muktzeh.  A bowl of oil is not muktzeh.  However, a sopping wet towel is muktzeh.  Why?  Because by moving it you are surely going to squeeze some of the water out.  A silver tray on which there is a credit card is muktzeh.  Why?  Because it is supporting something that is muktzeh, so it gets the same status.  A bowl of oil with a burning wick in it is muktzeh.  Why?  For both reasons: by moving it the oil will slop around and so the burn will increase and decrease; also because it is supporting a flame, which is muktzeh because... well, because it is (we can talk about that later, if you like).

So here's the deal: That towel can dry.  A goy or a cat could come and remove that credit card.  What happens to the towel and tray now?  It depends (I know, you're shocked).  Suppose it happened during the middle of Shabbos -- the towel got left in the rain, Puss In Boots came to your house and put his cell phone on your tray.  In that case the towel and the tray are muktzeh only as long as the muktzeh is on them.  However, if the towel get wet erev Shabbos and was wet all throughout twilight, then it remains muktzeh for the entire Shabbos.  That's just the rule; deal.  The credit card is a bit trickier, as it depends on whether it was put there on purpose or forgotten.  However, if was put there on purpose and remains there throughout twilight, then the tray will remain muktzeh for all of Shabbos.  That's why the tray under your silver liechter is muktzeh for all of Shabbos; you certainly put the leichter there on purpose and certainly intended for the candles to be burning from before Shabbos till into the dark of night.

Now to the Shulchan Shlomo's question.  Surely the blech must remain under the pot so long as the food is not fully cooked, so it seems to be the same as the liechter tray.  However, the blech is not held in place because it is supporting muktzeh; rather it is required be cause it is forbidden to have food that is not completely cooked on an open flame.  I am certainly allowed, though -- if I so choose --  to decide that I don't want this food on Shabbos, or I to eat it only barely cooked.  That being the case, there is certainly no reason I can't take it off the blech.  Once I take the pot off the blech, though, there is no reason that the blech needs to remain.  I didn't decide that, so I certainly could not have removed the blech.  However, since I could have decided to remove the food, the Shulchan Shlomo is unsure if Chazal meant to give that the same stringency as when there was no possibility of moving it.

Two things: (1) It seems to me that once could also remove the blech by carefully sliding another blech in its place; meaning that the blech certainly could be removed after the food is completely cooked.  (2)  There was a bit of poetry.. "yesterday" really meant "before today", as I did not get to write this as soon as I intended.  What can I say?  Work got in the way.


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