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I have been trying to research why kosher lamps / Shabbat lamps are not considered muktzeh. I've read the rabbinic approval that comes with the lamp, as well as any teshuvot I can find on the topic; but I can't find any specific details as to why halachically the cover is considered a separate piece from the body of the lamp. Can anyone explain this or point me towards relevant sources?

Also, if the cover of the lamp is not muktzeh, why would moving the lamp be muktzeh at all? Wouldn't the lamp become a base for muktzeh ("basis"), making it OK to move the body of the lamp?

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    I've never heard of a basis becoming non-muktza because a non-muktza item was placed on it. It's always the opposite: a basis becomes muktza because a muktza item was placed on it
    – Double AA
    Mar 12, 2021 at 13:47
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    Welcome to Mi Yodeya! Are you sure that the lamp itself is muktzeh?
    – Isaac Moses
    Mar 12, 2021 at 13:47
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    A very good question. I would guess that even though other lamps (including candlesticks for Shabbos candles) are mutzah, the Shabbos lamps are designed specifically for use on Shabbos and typically would not be used the rest of the week (except maybe yomtov).
    – Dennis
    Mar 12, 2021 at 14:12
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    " why halachically the cover is considered a separate piece from the body of the lamp" In all Shabbos Lamps that I've seen, the cover is an individual, fully detachable piece. In my mind, that seems like a separate piece. Do you consider that to be part of the body of the lamp? Mar 12, 2021 at 14:16
  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/8435
    – msh210
    Jun 28, 2023 at 5:07

3 Answers 3

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From here written by Rabbi Doniel Neusdadt

Question: On Shabbos, may an electric lamp be moved to another location so that the light will not disturb one’s sleep?

Discussion: This should be avoided, since many Poskim classify an electric lamp as absolute muktzeh, which may not be moved for any reason.[i] While some Poskim maintain that an electric lamp is a kli shemelachto le’issur, which may be moved under certain conditions,[ii] the custom is to be stringent and not move an electric lamp for any reason.[iii]

It follows, therefore, that the recently introduced “Kosher Lamp” may not be moved from one place to another on Shabbos, since the lamp itself is considered muktzeh. It is permitted, however, to turn the top of the cylinder which covers and uncovers the light that shines through, since the cylinder is a completely separate and detached piece and is not considered muktzeh.

When necessary, it is permitted to move a lamp via one’s “body,” which means moving the object by employing any part of the body except the hand.[iv] Thus, one may move the lamp using one’s elbow or foot,[v] provided, of course, that one is careful not to pull the plug out of the socket.

[i] Chazon Ish, Orach Chaim 41:16; 43:17; Chelkas Yaakov I, 40; Minchas Yitzchak III, 43; Rav Y.S. Elyashiv (Shalmei Yehudah 2, note 5); Az Nidberu IV, 40; Rav N. Karelitz (Chut Shani III, pg. 60).

[ii] Igros Moshe, Orach Chaim IV, 91:5; V, 23.

[iii] Rav S.Z. Auerbach (Meorei Eish, pg. 78). Rav M. Feinstein himself, in yet another responsum, is also stringent; see Igros Moshe, Orach Chaim V, 22:36.

[iv] See Mishnah Berurah 308, note 13, 309, note 14, 311, note 30; Beiur Halachah 266:13; Igros Moshe, Orach Chaim V, 22:6; Minchas Shlomo I, 14:2.

[v] Or back of the hand; Mishnah Berurah 276, note 31.

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    Do all these sources precede LED lights?
    – MichoelR
    Oct 5, 2023 at 16:01
  • Rabbi Neustadt neglects to quote a later response of Igros Moshe where he clarifies that lamps (which in his day were mostly incandescant) are not muktzeh unless they are mostly used for work. eretzhemdah.org/…
    – torahmike
    Oct 6, 2023 at 4:36
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One may move a utensil designated for a prohibited act, if it's with the intention to use it for something permissible (OC 308:3). Even if a lamp is completely Muktzeh, perhaps we can prove that it is permissible to move the cover, like the Rambam rules that one is allowed to move the cover of an oven (Hilchos Shabbos 25:13).

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Some are lenient and in fact hold that LED lamps are not muktzeh at all. https://dinonline.org/2013/09/22/moving-led-flashlight-on-shabbos/

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