Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hilchos Muktzeh Mussar

I'm not frequently able to glean much mussar from halachic works, but something I learned on Shavuos has managed to keep me thinking for the last week or so. While the Halacha itself isn't that profound, the real-life application, in my opinion, definitely is. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 308:4), discussing Muktzeh, rules that even a "Kli She'Melachto L'Hetter" cannot be used, except when there is a need. Explained: even those things that are inherently permissible to be handled on Shabbos cannot be used unless one absolutely needs that thing. I can imagine a situation where one questions someone else as to whether the object that he/she is handling is permissible on Shabbos, to which the person could reply, "But what about it makes it forbidden?" However, the question the person should be asking him/herself is, "What about it makes it permissible?" Thus, we see that regarding Muktzeh on Shabbos, one must be able to find a good reason to use that thing, as opposed to not being able to find any reason not to.

I believe that there is a key piece of Mussar to be learned from this Halacha. Often times, when we're questioning whether or not something we did/will do is acceptable, we all too often look for any negative consequences of that action. If there are none, we are more than likely to judge that act as acceptable. However, just because that act may not have negative consequences, it may not have positive ones either. We don't just do things to do them; our actions are a means to and end. That end, in my opinion, should be for positive consequences. While the difference may be slight, if our litmus test for behavior is whether or not something has positive consequences as opposed to whether or not it has negative ones, we may have much less to regret in the future.


Anonymous G said...

Has always been one my favorite sayings that I picked growing up:

After you ask yourself Why Not? ask Why Yeah!?

3:01 PM, May 30, 2007


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