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It says in Shabbos (12a) that one should always check his pockets on Friday so he won't accidentally carry on Shabbos.

I don't understand the purpose of this checking. Even if one did carry unintentionally, he would have been a Misasek which is Pattur (and possibly Muttar). According to Rava, who says that we don't make a Gezeira LeGezeira (11b), why check one's pockets?

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Answer is probably connected to other instances, e.g. a tailor must not go out on friday afternoon with a needle in his clothes. Since it is usual to do so during the week, he might forget to remove it before shabbat and end up carrying it on shabbat. So too with pockets, since it is standard to always have things in pockets, it is very likely you will accidentally leave stuff in your pocket unless you make it a habit of checking before shabbat. – Menachem Aug 16 '12 at 23:58

3 Answers 3

You have asked tosfos kashe. It is rather complicated so let me try to explain what exactly he forgot. If he forgot he had a needle but knew it was shabbos then it would be misasek. But tosfos answers he would remember he had the needle but would forget it was shabbos when it would be a 'shogeg'.

The meiri says that even if he forgot he had the needle and remembered it was shabbos when it is misasek in this case you would make a gezaira since if he would remember the needle it would be chayev misa and rovos case is different. The pnai yeshuo explains this because rovo's case is a karmelis where one can never be chayav misa whereas our case is a 'street' where one can be.

The sfas emmes says that the example of the stone is different because no wants to carry a stone. Whereas here the tailor wants to carry the needle. This is a chiddush in the ptor of mleches machsheves. That it only applies when 'loi nicha lai'.

This is all taken from the mesivta gemoro where my present posts on daf yomi psochim, are all taken from.

Why one may go with t'fillin and we are not scared he will also forget it is shabbos and carry them, is a separate discussion.

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On your way, you may suddenly realize that you have something in your pocket. At that point, it would certainly be assur to continue to carry it. Checking your pockets prevents you from being in this situation so it is not a gezeira legezeira.

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then you can throw it out. Seems more like practical advice than hilchasa rabbasa leshabbasa – Shmuel Brin Aug 16 '12 at 0:40
@ShmuelBrin When you throw your wallet out with $1000 let me know. – user1292 Aug 16 '12 at 1:36
@ShmuelBrin Moreover the Yetzer Hara to keep carrying would be stronger then. – Double AA Aug 16 '12 at 1:45
I was under the impression that you can keep carrying, because only by putting it down are you violating Hotzaah. – Seth J Aug 16 '12 at 2:02
@SethJ Many people's natural instinct upon discovering they are carrying is to suddenly stop. Also it isn't always practical to carry it to a makom petur or the original starting spot. So you are right, and I suppose it should be clarified, but I still think the takkana is well founded. – Double AA Aug 16 '12 at 2:03

One might carry, forgetting that it is Shabbos, and also one might forget that the item in question is forbidden to carry on Shabbos.

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If he forgets that it's Shabbos, he will be in big troubles anyways. – Shmuel Brin Aug 16 '12 at 0:01
I don't mean the guy has a bout of amnesia and forgets what day it is. I mean he takes a can of soda outside to his friend without stopping to think maybe it's Shabbos, because it's such a simple, quick and easy action. That's not mis'asek, and it's very possible to happen, especially if he already has the thing in his pocket. – Dov F Aug 16 '12 at 0:21
that makes more sense to be the reason for Muktza, as one is allowed to hold something in his hand on Friday afternoon. – Shmuel Brin Aug 16 '12 at 1:35
I think that the chashash isn't for the first minute of shabbos - obviously it isn't, because right now you are remembering to check your clothes. The concern is rather that you might forget the thing in your pocket and what I described above will therefore happen 3 hours later. There is no concern that someone will forget something in his hand for 3 hours. – Dov F Aug 16 '12 at 1:48
If the item is forgotten, carrying it is only a misasek. – Shmuel Brin Aug 16 '12 at 2:26

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