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Are Animals Muktzeh?

The Daily Halacha Moment - Are Animals Muktzeh? 🐶

״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)

“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


Are animals Muktzeh?


Animals are essentially functionless on Shabbat and are considered muktzeh machmat gufo.[1] Playing or looking at an animal is not considered a “function”[2] that can change its status to a kli she’melachto le’heter.

Petting and moving the hairs of an animal is forbidden on Shabbat since even the hairs of the animal are considered muktzeh. [3]

Similarly, One may not even carry the item that the animal is in, such as a fish tank that has fish in it or a bird cage that has a bird in it. [4]

In order to alleviate the pain of an animal, in certain instances, one may be lenient in the laws of muktzeh:

a. Carrying an animal, even to alleviate its pain is not permitted.[5] However, one may grasp an animal, such as holding it around its neck or by the collar, and walk it in order to alleviate its pain.[6] Even then, a person must be careful not to pick it up while holding on to it. Animals that tend to pick themselves up when being walked may not even be led by the neck.[7] Furthermore, one may only walk an animal in a private domain or an area that has an eruv. [8]

b. Pushing an animal is also permitted in order to alleviate its pain. Animals such as chickens that may not be walked, may be pushed.[9] Similarly, an animal may be pulled by its leash.[10] One may also only push an animal in a private domain or a place with an eruv.[11]

c. If the sun is shining on a bird in its cage or a fish in its tank, and the like, and is causing the animal pain, it is permitted to move the cage or tank to a shady place. [12]


[1]. Shulchan Aruch 308:39; Birkei Yosef 308:4; Mishnah Berurah 308:146; Ben Ish Chai, Vayigash 2:7; Halichot Olam, vol. 3, p. 212.

[2]. See Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 3, p. 120.

[3]. See Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchatah, ch. 27, footnote 56 and Piskei Teshuvot 308, footnote 446.

[4]. Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 3, p. 114 and 120-121; Yabia Omer, vol. 5, 26:3; Halichot Olam, vol. 3, p. 213; Igrot Moshe, O.C. 4:16; Be’er Moshe, vol. 2, 28:4; Rivevot Ephraim 1:239.

[5]. Shulchan Aruch 308:40; Mishnah Berurah 308:146; Halichot Olam, vol. 3, p. 212.

[6]. Mishnah Berurah 308:151; Kaf HaChaim 308:242.

[7]. Shulchan Aruch 308:40 states that this is common with chickens that lift itself off the ground.

[8]. Mishnah Berurah 308:150.

[9] Shulchan Aruch 308:40. See also Mishnah Berurah 308:152 who states that this is permitted if one will also come to a loss of money. If not, then it is preferable to not even push the animal.

[10] Shulchan Aruch 305:1, 15; Mishnah Berurah 305:11.

[11] See Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 3, p. 123.

[12] Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 3, p. 121. See also Yabia Omer 11:37, footnote 5; Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchatah 27:27.

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