Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Daf Yomi - Beitza 33 - Two Categories of Muktza

The Gemora cites a Braisa which rules that one is prohibited from supporting a pot or a door with a piece of wood on Yom Tov. The reason given is that one has permission to use wood only for kindling and not for anything else.

Rashi explains that since the primary purpose of wood is for making utensils, something that is forbidden on Yom Tov to do, it is considered muktza; however there was a special dispensation given that the wood may be used for kindling purposes.

This is a unique concept that an object can be considered muktza and not muktza at the same time. It would depend on what the intended use is for.

The Maharsha comment that although Tosfos had previously stated that it is permitted to handle muktza for the sake of ochel nefesh on Yom Tov, that permission is only granted to remove the muktza (removal of the ashes from the oven) but not to use the muktza (supporting the pot with the wood). Using muktza is compared to eating muktza which is prohibited.

The distinction of the Maharsha requires clarification. If there is permission to handle the muktza due to ochel nefesh, why can't the muktza be used as well?

This can be explained by analyzing the words of the Chasam Sofer in regards to muktza.

The Gemora in Shabbos (124b) states that the reason handling muktza is forbidden is because it will lead to carrying objects from a private domain to a public one. The Sages decreed that muktza items cannot be handled because of the concern of carrying. (They did not forbid handling any objects because Klal Yisroel would not be able to uphold this decree.) The Raavad in Hilchos Shabbos (24:13) states this reason as well.

However Rashi in Beitza (26b) seems to offer a different reason for the prohibition against muktza. Rashi states that the Tanna that holds of muktza maintains that in order for objects to be used on Shabbos, they must be prepared prior to Shabbos and he cites a verse in the Torah that states "On the sixth day, you should prepare etc." It is evident from this Rashi that the principle prohibiting muktza is due to the lack of designation and preparation from before Shabbos and not because of a concern of carrying.

The Chasam Sofer answers this question by stating an important principle regarding muktza. There are two types of muktza. One is muktza which is forbidden to eat and that is either a Biblical prohibition (or close to it, like an asmachta) learned from the verse V'heichinu etc. which teaches us that food cannot be eaten on Shabbos or Yom Tov unless they were prepared prior to Shabbos or Yom Tov. The Chasam Sofer states unequivocally that there is no argument regarding this at all. Everyone agrees to this drasha. Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi Shimon disagree as to the guidelines of this muktza but they both agree that this type of muktza exists.

There is a second type of muktza and that includes objects that are forbidden to handle. This is a Rabbinic enactment instituted by the Prophet Nechemiah. Nechemiah saw that the people were becoming extremely lax in regards to the prohibition of carrying and therefore he decreed that there are certain objects which may not be handled at all. (I found a strong question on the Chasam Sofer in the introduction to the Sefer Imrei Yehuda from Rabbi Yehuda Wiezner. The Gemora in Shabbos relates that Dovid Hamelech died on Shabbos and was laying in the sun. Shlomo asked how Dovid can be moved since a dead body is muktza on Shabbos. It is evident from here that there existed a concept of muktza hundreds of years before Nechemia?)

With this principle, we can now explain the Maharsha (I found this tzu shtel in the Sefer Hayovel for the Chasam Sofer from Rav Shmuel Borenstein who learns Kollel Volozin in Bnei Brak). The Maharsha stated that the permission to handle muktza for the sake of ochel nefesh on Yom Tov is only granted to remove the muktza (removal of the ashes from the oven) but not to use the muktza (supporting the pot with the wood). Using muktza is compared to eating muktza which is prohibited. Handling muktza is forbidden because of the concern that it will lead to carrying and carrying itself is permitted for the sake of ochel nefesh. It will obviously follow that handling muktza for the sake of ochel nefesh will also be permitted. Eating muktza, which is prohibited on the account that it wasn't prepared from beforehand does not have the permission of ochel nefesh.

Using this principle from the Chasam Sofer, we explained the Tosfos on daf beis. If an egg was laid on Yom Tov, Bais Shammai rules that one is permitted to eat it on Yom Tov and Bais Hillel disagrees. Tosfos wonders why the Mishna states tochal, that one is permitted to eat it, and lo tochal, that one is prohibited to eat it. Why did the Mishna not state matirin, it is permitted, and osrin, prohibited? Tosfos answers that one might have erroneously assumed that it is permitted for one to handle the egg but it is forbidden to eat it.

Reb Menachem Kohn zt”l in his Sefer Ateres Avi explains the answer of Tosfos according to the Chasam Sofer who writes that there are two types of muktzeh. One type of muktzeh is derived from the verse regarding the manna where it is said vehayah bayom hashishi veheichinu eis asher yaviu, and it shall be that on the sixth day when they prepare what they bring, which means that one should prepare the Shabbos and Yom Tov meals beforehand and if one does not, one is forbidden to eat from that food. A second type of muktzeh is the muktzeh instituted by Nechemiah that one cannot handle certain objects on Shabbos as there is a concern that he might carry them into a public domain.

There are differences between the two types of muktzeh. One who did not prepare a food item prior to Shabbos or Yom Tov is prohibited from eating the food, whereas an object that is muktzeh because of the decree of Nechemiah cannot be handled on Shabbos or on Yom Tov. A further distinction between the two categories of muktzeh is that the decree of Nechemiah was only instituted with regard to utensils, whereas food cannot become muktzeh unless it was not prepared prior to Shabbos or Yom Tov.

Based on the words of the Chasam Sofer, we can now understand the answer of Tosfos. Given the fact that the decree of Nechemiah was not instituted regarding food items, the egg would only be muktzeh because it was not prepared prior to Yom Tov and one may have assumed that there would be a prohibition from eating the egg. Therefore, Bais Shammai teaches that one is permitted to eat the egg. Bais Hillel, however, who maintains that the egg is muktzeh and cannot be eaten, maintains that the egg forfeits its status as a food item and subsequently the egg also cannot be handled.

We previously cites a Beis Halevi who makes a very similar distinction. Bais HaLevi, cited in sefer Matikei Shemuah, writes that when the Baraisa rules that an egg is forbidden in a case of doubt, that only refers to the prohibition of eating the egg, as it is biblically prohibited to eat an egg which was not prepared prior to Yom Tov. It is permitted to handle the egg, however, as handling the egg is only a rabbinical decree and we are not stringent in a case of doubt.

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