Are Broken Items On Shabbat Muktzeh?

The Daily Halacha Moment - Broken Items On Shabbat 🚪


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Question:

Are broken items muktzeh on shabbat?

My door handle broke on shabbat what can I do?


Answer:

If the leg of a couch or chair breaks off on Shabbat or even before Shabbat, the

Chachamim prohibited the use of that couch or chair since one may come to fix it by sticking the leg back on.[1] However, there are several ways that it would be permitted to still use it [2]

a. By using the couch or chair before Shabbat, thereby showing that one is not in a rush to fix the item.

b. If one broke the leg of the chair or couch to the point that it cannot be reattached or lost it.

c. If it is normally attached and detached in a loose manner.


A handle of a door that broke off on Shabbat may not be refastened and is considered muktzeh if the handle is usually firmly attached to the door. However, if the handle is normally removed and put back in place in order to open or close the door, it is not considered muktzeh.[3]

Similarly, if the brush fell off of a broom stick, it may not be replaced and is considered muktzeh.[4]


Sources:

[1]. See Shulchan Aruch and Rama 308:16.

[2]. See Halichot Shabbat, Malka, vol. 2, pp. 306-307. See also Ki Bo Shabbat, vol. 2, p. 471, footnote 679.

[3]. See Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, vol. 2, p. 370. There are really several issues at hand in this instance; It is prohibited to return the handle and bolt it down, since doing so is a Biblical prohibition of Boneh. If one puts back the handle without a bolt, it is considered a Rabbinical prohibition called Toke’ah (see Shulchan Aruch 308:9 and Mishnah Berurah 308:37). Once the handle is taken off the door, the handle is considered muktzeh (see Shulchan Aruch 308:16 and Mishnah Berurah 308:68), but it may be placed in a safe place if one has not yet put it down (see Biur Halachah 308:16, “D’assur”). This being the case, there are ways that one will still be able to use the door until after Shabbat: One can use a kli she’melachto le’heter, such as a knife or spoon and stick it in the hole where the knob would go in order to open the door (see Mishnah Berurah 308:12). If one doesn’t have a kli she’melachto le’heter that fits, then one can even use a screwdriver in place of the handle. ( Shulchan Aruch 308:3 and Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchatah 23:37).

If the handle fell off before Shabbat and one replaced it in a loose manner, one is allowed to refasten it again in a loose manner ( Shulchan Aruch 308:16; Mishnah Berurah 308:71).

[4]. See Shemirat Shabbat KeHilchatah, ch. 23, footnote 5; Orchot Shabbat 19:173. Chut Shani, Shabbat, vol. 3, p. 121 points out that if one can still use the brush to sweep with, then only the stick becomes muktzeh. However, Halichot Shabbat, Malka, vol. 2, p. 250 only permits the use of the brush if one has used the brush without the stick before Shabbat.


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