Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa says a radio is muktzeh machamas chisaron kis. -- I'm allowed to pick up and move a hammer if it's in my way on Shabbos, but not something expensive and delicate like a radio.

Okay that was 40 years ago. What if it's now a $10 radio that I would totally throw out and replace? Has the halacha changed? Has anyone addressed it?

(Similarly he mentions a bolt of fabric -- I suppose it depends on the fabric, but some of those must be cheap today too, no?)

  • A 1 $ lighter is also muktse go chesron just. A 100 $ hammer isn't. – kouty Dec 17 '18 at 22:10
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    Can you give a source in the Shemiras Shabbos, as well as which version? I'd be curious to see if there's a difference between the first editions and the newer ones. – Salmononius2 Dec 17 '18 at 22:54
  • A cheap mila knife is also muktzeh mechamas chisaron Kis – robev Dec 17 '18 at 23:58

R' Eliezer Melamed, in Peninei Halacha, Shabbat 23:4, sounds similar to your citation from the Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasa:

Included in this category of muktzeh are: musical instruments, smartphones, radios, tape recorders, expensive or fragile music players, cameras, and mixers. These may not be used even for a permissible purpose, for example, as a paperweight. Similarly, one may not wrap himself in an expensive piece of fabric that has been set aside for sewing. In contrast, a valuable or fragile item that is frequently used on Shabbat, such as a gold watch, eyeglasses, or a magnifying glass for reading, is not muktzeh.

Interestingly, the web version of the original Hebrew of this paragraph opens with a shorter list of devices: "musical instruments, handheld computers, cameras, and mixers."

בכלל מוקצה מחמת 'חסרון כיס': כלי נגינה, מחשב כף יד, מצלמה ומיקסר.‏

It is notable for the purpose of this question that R' Melamed is a rabbinic authority who is reputed to be particularly in tune with contemporary realities and issues. Indeed, the English website for his Peninei Halacha series ascribes to it "an emphasis on relevant issues which have arisen in the modern era."

  • "These may not be used even for a permissible purpose, for example, as a paperweight." Isn't that backwards? Usually we use the mundane usage of being a paperweight to decide if the item is muktza machmas chisaron kis. That is, a muktza item that you are so worried about that you wouldn't use it as a paperweight is now classified as muktza machmas chisaron kis and can't be moved even for something else. – user6591 Dec 18 '18 at 4:56

If you look closely at the Gemara in which this discussion originates, the svara that the monetary value of an item is what determines its state as "muktseh mechamas chesron kis" (MMC"K) is debunked. I do not have a Gemara on-hand, but if I recall, there was one of the Rabbis (Rava?) who mentioned a gold-maker's hammer, which is quite expensive, and yet the owner does not care much for its becoming dirty at all (lo makpid)!

Rather, the conclusion is that if someone is MAKPID on it as a result of its value to him, that makes it MMC"K.

My rabbi in yeshiva gave a wonderful example of how to determine this. Take for example a smartphone. If the owner is unwilling to let a child play with the phone out of fear that it will get ruined (considering its value...), then that is clearly MMC"K. And if he doesn't mind letting the child with it, he is making it very clear that it is NOT so.

In other words, the criterion is based on the gavra, rather than the cheftsa.

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    Where is this Gemara? – DonielF Dec 18 '18 at 13:26
  • Second half of קכב. and top half of קכג: -- Starts with "נותל אדם קורנס..." and the conclusion is the איתמר of ר' חייא, which conclude that the difference is whether he is מקפיד. In the Shulchan Aruch Harav, he rules very clearly on the matter - that one's kpeida makes all the difference... – Ysiegel Dec 19 '18 at 0:43
  • I confused the page numbers; it's קכב: and קכג., I believe... – Ysiegel Dec 19 '18 at 5:45

Rav Moshe Feinstein in Igros Moshe Orach Chaim 4:72 states that blank paper! is Muktza Machmas Chisaron Kis as a Bar Daas would not use it for anything other than its intended purpose.

It follows that the monetary value of the item is not the determining factor in establishing the Muktza status of the Item.

  • As I stated in my response, that is because in his day blank paper was considered a luxury. In fact, in many homes it still is, and the proof is that you don't want to "waste" it when you can get away with using regular lined paper. It is proven also from the Shulchan Aruch Harav, where when it comes to a plain old piece of fabric, the question of whether it is muktseh or not differs from a rich individual to a poor one, since it depends on how the OWNER views a certain item. So an interesting question comes up: what if it's a poor person staying at the house of a rich one? Or vice versa.. – Ysiegel Jan 1 at 18:43
  • @Ysiegel I respectfuly disagree with Both your reading of R Moshe and your casual assumption of current views of paper usage. – SamuelManuel Jan 2 at 0:00
  • ...נירות המיוחדות לכתיבה...מוקצה מחמת חיסרון כיס כמו שכתבו הפוסקים, ואפילו בזמן הזה, דלא מצינו בר דאה שמאבד ניירות שיכול לכתוב עליהם... Rav Moshe clearly holds that it is immaterial how the person himself values the object, rather the usage pattern of a Bar Deah. I fail to see the difference between 'blank' paper and 'lined' paper; they are both Meyuchad Leksiva, blank from a printer, lined by hand. – SamuelManuel Jan 2 at 0:20
  • With regards to current usage patterns being different, the intelligent in control person will not crumple up blank paper just because hes bored, you'le use an old newspaper instead of a plate and not go over to the printer and take out a stack of papers to put under your bowl of soup, and you also wont take papers out of your childs backpack to wipe up a spill. This is not a ancient teshuva from Rav Moshe, it was written in the early 70s, what is considered Modern America. – SamuelManuel Jan 2 at 0:22
  • I will grant you that blank paper towels and toilet paper are not papers that are meyuchad leksiva. – SamuelManuel Jan 2 at 0:27

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