Last Shabbos, my young daughter found a grogger inside the shul and played with it away from adults and at an appropriate time. A four-year old Orthodox boy told us that it was muktzah and that she should not play with it on Shabbos. It was a purely mechanical noisemaker, the kind that you spin around.

I normally defer to these kids because they usually know more about Jewish laws and customs than I do, and so I agreed to take it away from her. Afterwards I had doubts about whether he was really right. What is it about that grogger that would make it muktzah? The only thing I can think of is making noise on Shabbos, but these kids often make tons of noise anyways. His father does reprimand him and his sister pretty regularly about such-and-such being muktzah and not appropriate for Shabbos, so I am assuming that he has been told the grogger falls in this category.

They are correct. Any device which is specially used for making noise is muktzah. See the Ramma in siman 338 siff two with Shaar Hatzion #4. This is further explained in Shmiras Shabbos Kehilchasa chapter 28 paragraph 34 as being muktzah even when not producing a musical sound. He classifies them as a kli shemilachto l'issur which would mean they are allowed to be moved if you need to use them for an allowed action or if you need to use the place they occupy.

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    I'm not sure how young your daughter is, but it would come into play as far as stopping her from using it on shabbos. Both as far as you her parent is concerned, and as far as a stranger goes. But in your story there is a child under the age of daas giving tochacha (rebuke) which may not be warranted:) – user6591 Jun 3 '15 at 1:07
  • Ignorant Jews like me are used to being told we are wrong, even by little kids :) Sociologists like to wax on about how Baal Teshuvas feel "infantalized", which sounds silly, but is actually true. Of course, it might not be so good for these kids to grow up rebuking adults... – Mike Jun 3 '15 at 1:14
  • Just to clarify -- there was a rabbinic prohibition against musical instruments and other noisemaking tools. – Shalom Jun 3 '15 at 1:16
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    @Mike Who is wise? One who learns from anyone. Avos 4:1. You definitely qualify if you are willing to be humbled for the sake of Hashem and his mitzvos:) The Baal teshuva's situation is only unique in it's form. Every person brought up orthodox has the opportunity to change when they are made aware that what they're used to doing is incorrect, whether too stringent or too lenient. Most don't pass the test. Also the opportunity to investigate whether one's religious observance is only muscle memory or hopefully more meaningful also exists. Most don't take that journey. – user6591 Jun 3 '15 at 1:39
  • I dont think the prohibition against noise and music come under the same heading. – cham Jun 3 '15 at 10:12

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