Is Raw Meat/Chicken Muktzeh?

The Daily Halacha Moment - Raw Meat, Chicken, Fish & Muktzeh🥩


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


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Question:

Is raw meat, chicken, or fish Muktzeh?

May one move frozen raw meat in the freezer to get something from the freezer?


Answer:

In the times of the Talmud it was not uncommon for individuals to eat raw meat.

Therefore, raw meat was considered an edible item.[1] Today, however, it is unusual to do so. Accordingly, some say that one should be stringent and consider raw meat or chicken as muktzeh machmat gufo.[2] However, in cases of need, such as if the meat needs to be moved to a freezer in order to prevent it from spoiling, then it is permitted to be moved.[3]


One may move raw meat that is one’s freezer if one needs to reach a permitted item that is in the back of the freezer. [4] Some Ashkenazim are stringent. One should follow one's custom.


Raw fish that has been salted or smoked is not considered muktzeh, since it is considered edible. However, raw fish that has not even been salted is considered muktzeh. Even though raw fish could technically be fed to an animal, since it is not generally fed to one’s animal it is not considered used for this purpose and it remains muktzeh unless one designated it before Shabbat for this purpose. [5]


Sources:

[1]. Talmud Bavli, Shabbat, 128a; Shulchan Aruch 308:31. Ashrei HaIsh, vol. 2, 17:204 points out that chicken is not included in this leniency, since nobody eats raw chicken.

[2]. Ben Ish Chai, Pekudei 2:9; Aruch HaShulchan 308:58; Igrot Moshe, O.C. vol. 5, 22:9; BaTzel HaChochmah, vol. 6, 62:8.

[3]. See Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 3, pp. 14-17; Halichot Olam, vol. 3, p. 205; Yabia Omer, vol. 7, 39:2; ibid., vol. 8, 34:5; Ibid., vol. 5, Y.D. 8:5. He also points out that in some restaurants, raw meat (either chopped or sliced very thinly, known as beef tartare and beef carpaccio, respectively) is served as an appetizer, so it is not entirely uncommon to eat raw meat. See also Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, vol. 2, p. 361 that it is only permitted to move the meat if there is enough time left of Shabbat that theoretically at least some of the meat could have defrosted by pouring water on it. See also Piskei Teshuvot 308:25.

[4]. Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, vol. 2, p. 362.

[5]. Shulchan Aruch 308:32; Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 3, p. 18. In a case of a large financial loss, such as if one’s fridge or freezer broke and one needs to move the fish to prevent it from spoiling, then some poskim permit one to be lenient. See _Ashrei HaIsh_, vol. 2, 17:205; Shevet HaLevi, vol. 1, 62:1; ibid., vol. 3, 29:4; Orchot Shabbat, ch. 19, footnote 157.


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