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Help! It's Shabbos and the wind is blowing my garbage cans halfway down the block! I know they're muktza, so I can't move them. What can I do?

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If you must post on mi.yodeya on Shabbos, I'd appreciate it if you didn't flaunt it. ;D – Isaac Moses Jan 5 '10 at 4:08
I would like to note that January 5 2010 was a Tuesday. This was not actually posted on Shabbos. – follick Dec 2 '11 at 12:44
up vote 7 down vote accepted

The Mishna Brurah 311:30 says that as long as you don't use your hands, moving muktza is not a problem. So kick those garbage cans back to where they came from!

(Heard from Rabbi Welcher in Queens.)

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Good luck kicking your garbage cans all the way back down the block. (Especially since with the wind still blowing they may get blown away again.) – Bas613 Jan 5 '10 at 2:27
The Rav Moshe section (#32) in the back of Rav Bodner's /Halachos of Muktzah/ says one should be stringent (and not kick it) in cases where the movement is only for the benefit of the muktza object. Just hanging on the "not a problem". – WAF Jan 5 '10 at 2:30
If there's no eruv in your area, then even kicking the cans may not be allowed. (There is a concept of carrying something less than four cubits at a time, but that's for cases where there's significant financial loss involved, as when you're stranded on Shabbos carrying your wallet and don't have a non-Jew, etc., to carry it for you - Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 266:7. I doubt that would apply to a $30 garbage can, though. – Alex Jan 5 '10 at 15:30
Oh woops, thanks Alex; yes, this assumed the presence of an Eruv. Otherwise, no I don't think the garbage can would be a serious loss, UNLESS it's causing a risk to others (e.g. making traffic swerve), which would be a whole different discussion. – Shalom Jan 5 '10 at 16:49
I imagine it depends what kind of muktzeh it is: mius, muktzeh machmat atzmo, etc? And also WHY are you moving it? do you need the space (i.e. they are blocking traffic), or do you need the cans back? And this makes me wonder: can you move muktzeh l'tzorech makom, if the "tzorech" is doing a melacha (e.g. driving a car in the driveway)? – Jeremy Jan 12 '10 at 19:24

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