Is there a rule that says that if something is muktzeh e.g. a television remote control, but is on your chair when you need to sit down, then you are allowed to move it?

It's unintuitive, because people tend to treat the muktzeh rule like touching something that is muktzeh is almost like putting your hand in a fire, like "don't touch it, it's muktzeh". "NO.. DON'T...".

But then I heard there's this rule that if e.g. a television remote control is on your chair and you need to sit down, then you can move it. Seems strange to me.

I'm wondering where this exception, if it exists, is written?

  • As in the second paragraph here? ph.yhb.org.il/en/01-23-14
    – rosends
    Feb 24, 2021 at 11:01
  • 3
    Tangentially, the prohibition is to move muktzeh. Touching a muktzeh item is not forbidden.
    – Joel K
    Feb 24, 2021 at 11:47

1 Answer 1


Yes there is. This is the rule that a keli shemelachto le-issur (a utensil which is mainly used for shabbat-prohibited activities) may be moved le-tzorech mekomo (if one needs to use the space occupied by the object). See Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 308:3.

(It’s worth clarifying that this rule does not apply to intrinsically muktzeh items (mukzteh mechamat gufo) such as coins or stones. These may not be moved even if one needs to use their space.)

  • 5
    Just to clarify: this rule is for tools or implements that are normally used for prohibited activities, unless it is especially sensitive or valuable. Stones and coins aren't "tools or implements"; a professional camera would be "sensitive/valuable." Therefore neither of those could be moved just because you need the space. I imagine the typical TV remote gets thrown around all the time and could be replaced fairly easily, so it should qualify as "movable if you need the space." If, however, this table or chair is where the remote normally "lives", the table/chair itself becomes muktzeh.
    – Shalom
    Feb 24, 2021 at 11:59
  • @Shalom: "where it normally 'lives'"? Isn't the key factor whether it was left there (deliberately) before Shabbos?
    – Meir
    Feb 24, 2021 at 18:48
  • @Meir if this was a "computer desk" and held a computer for the last 3 years, then on Friday I intend to take the computer off and forget ... how do we come out? I don't remember.
    – Shalom
    Feb 24, 2021 at 19:45
  • @Shalom Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasah 20:53(b)(1) says, "If the muktzeh item was put into position with the intention of removing it before the commencement of Shabbath, but one subsequently forgot about it," then the place it's on isn't a בסיס לדבר האסור. So I guess in your case it would be okay, though not sure. (BTW, in 20:48 he says that there are opinions that say that an article supporting a כלי שמלאכתו לאיסור isn't a בסיס at all.) But the flip side is that if you deliberately placed the muktzah item on a chair, intending to leave it there for all of Shabbos, then it would be a בסיס, no?
    – Meir
    Feb 24, 2021 at 20:56

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