The laws of moving a dead body and other laws of indirect moving of Muktzah on Shabbos.
The following chapter will discuss the laws of Muktzah as they relate to a corpse. It will mention under what circumstances a corpse may be moved and carried outside, in which ways it may be moved, and what actions may be done to it on Shabbos. This discussion then follows with a detailed summary of the laws of moving a Muktzah object indirectly.
Part 1: The laws relating to moving a corpse on Shabbos
Saving a dead body from a fire:
The problem of Muktzah: Even though a dead person is Muktzah and is forbidden to be moved, nevertheless if he is lying in a place that one fears that the corpse may get burnt, it is allowed to move him in order to rescue him [from cremation] as the Sages [in this case] rescinded the moving [of Muktzah] prohibition so that one not come to [transgress] the severe prohibition of extinguishing a fire. [As if one is not allowed to move the body before the fire approaches, he may come to extinguish the fire when it comes] since he is in panic that this dead body not get burnt [and may not think about the prohibition involved].
Moving it using a permitted item: Nevertheless, anything which is possible for him to do [to prevent the burning of the body] in a more permissible method, has to be done [first before coming to move the body directly]. Meaning if one has something which is permitted to be moved [even] not for the need of using it or [for the need of using] its space, such as for example a baby or a loaf of bread or other foods or any vessel which is designated for permitted use, then one should [move the dead body] through this object. Meaning that one places the permitted item on the dead body or next to it, and moves both of them together.
Moving it indirectly [“From the side”] such as Rolling the body over beds: If one does not have any item available that is permitted to be moved, then if the body is lying on a bed and one has another bed [available], one [must] role him from one bed to another and from that one to the other, [using only the beds to roll him over without directly moving the body at all], until he reaches it to a place that is guarded from the fire.
The reason that this is better to be done, rather than move the body directly with ones hands is: because this is considered ‘moving from the side’.
Why the bed is not considered a Basis: The bed does not become a base for the body [even if the person died on it before Bein Hashmashos] since [the body] does not need the bed [at all], as [the body] is only needed to be placed on the ground.
If nothing else is available: If one does not have another bed then one may carry him in the bed that he is on, or even if he is not lying on a bed, he may be moved directly with his hands in a complete Muktzah form of movement in order to rescue him from the fire.
May one carry the body into a Karmalis to save it from a fire? If it is impossible to rescue him without taking him out to a Karmalis, then there are those which allow this to be done, [out of care to not] disgrace the dead, so that the body not burn, as so great is the respect to humanity that it [even] pushes off a negative commandment from the Torah which is “Do not stray from the words that they will tell you”, as in this Mitzvah we were commanded to listen to all the words of the Sages, and the prohibition of a Karmalis is also only a Rabbinical command.
Should one still move the dead body into the Karmalis using a permitted item, as explained above? [Although that one is allowed to move the body even into a Karmalis] nevertheless, if one has an item available that is permitted to be moved, then one must take it out together with [the body], in order to diminish the prohibition of moving [a Muktzah object-the body- as explained in the previous Halacha].
The reason for this is because: as even though the prohibition of [carrying the body into] a Karmalis was rescinded [in this situation] due to respect of humanity [and thus so too the prohibition of Muktzah should be rescinded], nevertheless since [transgressing] the prohibition of [directly] moving [the Muktzah body] is able to be avoided through moving [the body together with] a permitted item, therefore one must try to avoid [the full Muktzah prohibition] as much as possible.
Now, even though that one is further adding to the prohibition of [carrying into] the Karmalis by moving the body together with the permitted item, [nevertheless] there is no problem in this, as the prohibition of [carrying into] the Karmalis was already completely rescinded by the case of taking out a dead corpse, however the prohibition of moving [the Muktzah body], since it is able to be avoided, we do not rescind it, as it is better to increase [the permitted transgression] of a single prohibition then to rescind two prohibitions.
Moving the body to prevent it from erosion:
Moving it within a private domain through moving a permitted item: A dead body that is lying in the sun and one fears that it may [begin to] deteriorate, then if one has available an item permitted to be moved [Not-Muktzah], then one may move the [dead body] together with [the permitted item] from the sun to the shade.
Moving it “from the side” [through using another object to move it]: [However] if one does not [have a permitted item available] then one may not move [the body] at all, even to roll it from one bed to another.
The reason for this is: because the [Sages] only permitted moving [a Muktzah item] “from the side” when its being done for the need of a permitted item, as will be explained [in Halacha 14], however here that he is moving [from the side] for the need of the body, which is forbidden to be moved [is Muktzah], [therefore it is forbidden to even move it from the side].
[Furthermore] the [Sages] only permitted moving the body out of respect of the dead, in face of the prohibition of carrying it out to a Karmalis, being that there is no way at all to avoid [this prohibition, and still be able to carry it to the Karmalis] when one needs to do so, however the prohibition of moving [Muktzah] since one is able to avoid it through moving it together with a permitted item, it [thereby] was not permitted [to be moved] in any [other] fashion, even if one does not have available a permitted item [to move with it], and it was only by a fire that [the Sages] permitted it, in order so one not come to extinguish the fire.
My one move the body into a Karmalis to prevent it from erosion: Even if one has a permitted item [to move the body with], but does not have a shady area within the domain that the body is now in, [to move it into], then it is forbidden to carry it out to a Karmalis [that has shade], [even] through moving the permitted item together with it, if one is able to avoid the sun [within the current domain] through spreading out mats for shade [over the body], as will be explained [in Halacha 11].
If one has no other choice available to prevent the erosion: However if this is not possible to be done, as well as [in a case that] the dead body is lying in the house and is close to reaching deterioration [I.e. giving off bad odor], and one does not have any cold area in his domain to bring the body to, then there are opinions that permit to carry him out to the Karmalis through moving a permitted item together with it, due to the disgrace of the dead, so it not deteriorate [give off odor].
Moving the body in order to remove its odor from the house: However if the body has already begun to give off bad odor inside the house, and one wants to move it [into the Karmalis] in order to get its smell out of the house, then if his household has another place to go out to, one may not move [the body], and rather the body is to stay in its place, and they are to go out [of that area].
However if [they do] not [have anywhere else to go], then it is permitted to move the [dead body] out [through moving a permitted item with it], as the respect of humanity is so great [that we remove the Muktzah prohibition].
Moving the body out of respect for the dead: Similarly if one wants to move it out, in respect to the dead body itself so it not be disgraced amongst the living, then he is allowed to move it out if the household members have no other place to go to.
As well, if the body is placed in another disgraceful situation, such as for example it is on a ship and there are men gathering there, in which case this is a bit of a disgrace for the body, then it is allowed to carry him through a Karmalis to a house, through [moving together with it a] permitted item.
The same law applies for all cases similar to the above.
May one move the body into a Public domain?
However to move [the body] to a complete public domain, is forbidden, even in the case of a fire, and even according to those opinions which say that carrying out a dead person [to a public domain] is not Biblically forbidden but rather only Rabbinically, being that [carrying] it is an action that is not being done for its own use, as explained in chapter 278 [Halacha 2], [nevertheless it is forbidden to be done].
The reason for this is because: the rescinding of [Rabbinical] prohibitions out of respect for humanity was not applied here, since the root of the prohibition [of carrying into a public domain] is Biblical in origin, meaning that [since here] if [the carrying of the body] would be done for a need to use [it then it would be a complete Biblical prohibition, therefore it is considered Biblical in origin]. However by a Karmalis [the prohibition was rescinded] as it is [only] Rabbinical in origin.
May one ask a gentile to carry the body into a public domain: Even through a gentile it is forbidden [to carry the body] into a public domain, being that it is a disgrace for the body that people will say that Shabbos was completely desecrated due to him, even though [in truth] it was only done through a gentile. However by a Karmalis [we do not suspect for people saying so] as everyone knows that [carrying into a Karmalis] is not one of the [Biblical Shabbos] prohibitions, and its root is from a Rabbinical prohibition.
May one move other Muktzah items through moving together with it a non-Muktzah item?
The [Sages] only permitted moving [Muktzah] through [moving] a permitted item [together with it] with regards to a dead body. However by other item which are forbidden to be moved [i.e. are Muktzah], it is forbidden to move them through [moving] a permitted item [together with it], even if one is not moving it for the purpose of the forbidden item, but rather for the purpose of the permitted item.
The reason for this is: because the [Sages] did not permit moving [Muktzah] through [moving] a permitted item for the purpose of a permitted item, unless one is moving the permitted thing in ones hands and the forbidden item is [consequently] moving together with it. However when one is moving the forbidden item in his hands and the permitted item is [consequently] moving together with it, they did not permit this with exception to the case of a dead body alone.
May one move the body for purpose that does not involve its respect, such as so the Kohanim can remain in their home?
Moving it through moving a permitted item with it: Even by a dead person the [Sages] only permitted it [to be moved when needed to be done] out of its respect, however [they did] not [permit it to be moved just] for the need of Kohanim so they can remain in their homes, or for any other purpose even if it involves a Mitzvah.
Moving the body through a gentile: However it is allowed to move it through a gentile for the need of a Mitzvah, such as for a wedding [feast], even without [having the gentile] move together with it a permitted item, as every Rabbinical command [which itself is only prohibited] due to another Rabbinical command is allowed to be done in a situation of a Mitzvah.
It [thus] goes without saying that in any case [mentioned above] that it was allowed to move [the body], through [moving a] permitted item together with it, out of respect [to the body], then [certainly] it is permitted to move it through a gentile even without [having the gentile move it together] with a permitted item.
Moving the body indirectly [such as rolling it on beds]: All the above [restriction of moving the body when not needed for its honor] was only referring to moving it completely. However to move it from the side, to turn it over from one bed to another is allowed to be done even for the sake of Kohanim [so they be able to stay in their homes] or if one needs the space that the dead body is lying on, or [one needs to use] an item that the dead body is lying on.
The reason for this is because the Sages only prohibited moving [Muktzah] from the side when it is being done for the sake of the forbidden item, meaning [in this case] for the sake of the body which is forbidden to be moved. However here [when moving for Kohanim and the like] it is not being moved for the sake of the body, but rather for the sake of another matter that is permitted.
Moving the bed itself: If one has no other bed available, then it is permitted to move it on its current bed, [and he is not required to shake the body off the bed when moving it] as he will then no longer be able to move it “from the side” [indirectly], and [the rule is that] anytime that one is not able to shake off [the Muktzah] then it is permitted to move [the permitted item] regularly [together with the Muktzah that is on it], as long as one is not moving it for the sake of the forbidden item, as was explained in chapter 309 [Halacha 6] regarding one who forgot a stone on top of the opening of a barrel.
Does a dead body which is clothed still need a permitted item placed on it [when being moved out of its respect]?
The [Sages] only required that one place an item permitted to be moved on the corpse if the corpse is naked, or is wearing the garments [that are specifically designated] for a corpse, as these [garments] are nullified to him and are thus prohibited to be moved just like him. However a corpse which is wearing the clothing that he was wearing while alive, does not need to have any item placed on him, as these clothing [themselves] are permitted to be moved, being that they are not nullified to him since they will eventually be removed from him and have the special corpse garments placed on him [instead].
Making a tent over the corpse to protect it from the sun:
The law: A corpse which is in the sun and they have no other place to be move it to, or [they do but] they do not want to move it from its place, then it is permitted to build over it a temporary tent through deception [initially making it seem that it is being done] for the need of the living.
How it may be done: This is done as follows: Two people come along and sit on the two sides [of the corpse, one on each side], on top of the ground. [When it gets] hot for them below [i.e. on the ground] due to the heat of the ground that the sun heated, then [in a private domain] each person brings his bed there and sits on it. [When] it gets hot for them above, each one brings a mat and spreads it over the bed for shade. [Afterwards, they both may depart], each one overturns their beds, and removes them. In this manner, the division [needed for shade] is created on its own accord, [as it were], for the two mats are back to back near each other and their two ends are located on the ground on either side of the corpse.
The reason why one may not initially spread the mat over the body is because: The [Sages only] permitted to make a temporary tent [if needed in order to reduce] the pain of a live person and not for the pain of corpse. Therefore they required [people] to initially come sit [by either side of the corpse] until they are [too] hot below [sitting on the ground], in which case they may then bring beds to sit on.
[Now], even though the beds have no use needed at all in making the tent, [nevertheless they are brought] so that it appear that the spreading of the mats are not being done in order to make a tent over the corpse by attaching both [mats] together, but rather [the mats are being brought] in order so each one spread it over himself to shield him from the sun, [as by bringing out the beds one makes it evident that they are bothered by the heat] as [people see] that also when it was [too] hot for them from below [while on the ground] each one brought his bed and sat on them [so they say that the same applies here].
For this reason [too] they need to overturn and remove their beds from there and [thus consequently] position the spreading of the mats [over the floor] so that also here it should appear that the spreading of the mats was not done for the sake of the corpse but rather to shield themselves from the sun, as when it was [too] hot for them below they brought a bed and sat on it, and now when they have gotten up [and are ready to leave], they overturned it and brought it back.
Washing and spreading ointment over the corpse:
It is permitted to spread ointment over a corpse and to wash it down as long as one does not move any of its limbs, as by all Muktzah just like it is forbidden to move it entirely, so too it is forbidden to move [even] part of it.
Moving it together with a permitted item in order to wash it: Even to move it through moving a permitted item with it, is forbidden [when done] in order to wash it, unless it was dirty with mud and excrement to the point that [the corpse] is repulsing in the eyes of those that see it, as the [Sages] only permitted moving a corpse through moving a permitted item when being done to save it from disgrace, such as when it is in the sun [one may move it] so it not decompose, or another form of disgrace as was explained above [in Halacha 4].
For this reason one needs to protest what has become the custom to lift up the corpse from the pillows through [also moving] a permitted item [with it] even in situations that there is no worry that the corpse may decompose. [Furthermore] even if there is worry that [the corpse] will decompose due to the heat [released] by the pillows, then one must remove the pillows from under it and may not move [the corpse].
May one spray preserving agents onto the corpse? It is permitted to spray vinegar on the clothing of the corpse so that it not decompose after Shabbos, and thus be able to deal with its purification.
The reason: This [spraying of vinegar] does not involve the prohibition of laundering, as vinegar does not whiten [clothing]. As well [there is] no decree [here that one] may come to squeeze it out [of the clothing], as this decree is only decreed against liquids that whiten, as explained in Chapter 301 [Halacha 59].
Closing its mouth and eyes:
The law: If the mouth [of the corpse] is opening one may tie the chin in a way that it will not be able to open any further. However [one may] not [tie it in a way that] it closes up the space that already opened, or [even] part of [that space], as it is forbidden to move [any of its] limbs.
For this reason one may not close the eyes of a corpse on Shabbos.
The custom today: Today [however] the custom is to close its eyes on Shabbos and to move a limb so it not get bent, [as they say that] there is danger involved [if this were not to be done]. One need not protest against them doing so.
Part 2: The rules of moving Muktzah indirectly [“Moving from the side”]
This is the general rule regarding moving [Muktzah] through [moving also] another object [that is permitted]:
Moving the forbidden item in ones hands: Every two items which one is forbidden to move and one is permitted to move which are close to each other or one is inside the other or one is on top of the other, and it is a situation that the permitted item has not become a base for the forbidden item, in the ways explained in chapter 309 [Halachas 4-11], if at the time that one moves one of the items he consequently moves with it also the second item, then if one moves the forbidden item in ones hands and the permitted item moves with it, the [Sages] did not permit this to be done in any circumstance with exception to a corpse.
Moving the permitted item in ones hands for the sake of the forbidden item: [Furthermore] even if one moves the permitted item in ones hand, and the forbidden item is being moved with it, if he intends in moving [the permitted item] for the sake of the forbidden item, then never mention if he is moving it for the benefit of the forbidden item itself [such as] to guard it from some type of damage and loss or to hide it or the like, but even if he is moving it because he needs to use the forbidden item for a use permitted [on Shabbos], such as for example [he wants to move the forbidden item] so he can sit or lie on it which [in it of itself] is allowed as explained in chapter 308 [Halacha 14], or for example [he wants to move] a candle to use its light in another area, and all cases of the like of these, then [nevertheless] since he is moving [the permitted item] for the sake of the prohibited item, it is forbidden.
Moving the permitted item in ones hands for the sake of a permitted purpose: However if one does not need at all [to move] the forbidden item itself, and he only wants to move it through moving the permitted item for a permitted purpose, such as for example to free up the space [under the objects], then this is the case of “moving from the side” [indirect moving] that the Sages permitted as explained in chapter 309 [Halacha 6] regarding a stone that is on the opening of a barrel and coins which are on a pillow.
It goes without saying that if one does not at all intend to move the forbidden item, [being that] he has no need for it at all, [and] only [needs and intends] to move the permitted item alone, and it just happens to be that it is not possible for him to move the permitted item without moving the forbidden item through doing so, such as for example a radish which had been detached [from the ground] which is insulated in earth with part of its leaves revealed, then one may grab [the radish] by [the leaves] and pull it out, even though that through removing it he [also] moves the earth from its place. [However this is only allowed] as long as the radish has not rooted [into the ground] in which case the prohibition of detaching [a food from the earth] does not apply. [However it is allowed to remove it] even if one intended for [the radish] to become a plant when he insulated it there, as was explained in chapter 310 [Halacha 2].
[Furthermore] even if grew due to the moisture in the ground, [nevertheless] this does not pose a problem [of uprooting], as long as it has not yet rooted [into the ground].
The reason that the radish does not become a base for the earth: The radish does not become a base for the earth that is on it even if he had in mind that it remain there the entire Shabbos, as one did not intend that the radish be there to serve [a benefit for] the earth, but rather that the earth serve [a benefit] to the radish. The same laws apply to all cases similar to the one above.
If the radish is completely insulated inside the earth: If no part of its leaves are revealed, there are opinions which allow to stab a spindle or a knife into the radish and to remove it out with [the knife], having the earth which is on top of it fall away on its own. As even though that to begin with when he picks up the radish he also picks up the earth that is on it, [nevertheless] this is not problematic being that it is being moved for a permitted purpose.
Other Opinions: [[However] there are opinions which prohibit to stab [the knife] into the earth because it appears like one is making a hole [in the ground, which is forbidden to do on Shabbos]
The final ruling: Regarding the final ruling, [the rule is] that by a [dispute regarding a] Rabbinical command we follow the lenient opinion.
By fruits that are insulated in straw or hay: However fruits which are insulated in straw or hay which have been designated to be used as fuel, it is permitted according to all opinions to stab a spindle or a knife into the fruit and then take them out, as the prohibition of making a hole only applies to earth and the like, as will be explained in chapter 506 [Halacha 2].
If one designated the straw or hay to insulate the fruit in them, then they no longer have a Muktzah status and are allowed to be moved.
The same law applies with earth which one designated for this purpose, as was explained [in Chapter 308 Halacha 78].
Moving the Muktzah with one’s body:
The law: All the above [restrictions] refer to when moving the [Muktzah item] with ones hands through [moving] another item, however to move the Muktzah item with one’s body, without one’s hands, is allowed to be done even if he is doing so for the sake of the forbidden item.
An Example: For example, straw which is Muktzah being that it is usually designated to be used as fuel, then if it is resting on ones bed [and was] not [placed there with intention to use it] to lie on it, and on Shabbos one wants to lie on it, he is allowed to [lie on it and] move it with his body in order for it to become fluffy and soft and pleasant to lie on.
The status of the straw if one placed a pillow on the straw before Shabbos: If one placed on it from before Shabbos a pillow or sheet, it is considered as if he laid on [the straw] from before Shabbos and it is thus [considered] prepared to sit or lie on, and from now it has the status of a vessel on it and is permitted to be moved with ones hand.
If one thought about sitting on it from before Shabbos: Similarly if one thought about it from before Shabbos to sit or lie on it [it is no longer Muktzah], as was explained in chapter 308 [Halacha 50-53] with an item that is common to be designated for sitting or lying on.
If designated as fodder: If one designated [the straw] as animal fodder from before Shabbos then one is allowed to move it in all situations.
The law in areas that that the straw is normally used for animal food or to lie on: All the above is only referring to places where straw is usually designated to be used as fuel, however in places that it is usually designated as animal fodder or to lie on, one is allowed to move it in any circumstance, as was explained there [in Halacha 63].
 As otherwise this is considered directly moving it.
 Meaning causing it to move through moving something else, which is better than moving it directly.
 Seemingly this means that the body is meant to be on the ground and thus the bed never becomes a basis, as it serves of no benefit towards the body, as explained in chapter 309 Halacha 9.
 Tzaruch Iyun how this concept of “respect for humanity” comes to play here, as the entire reason explained above that the Sages allowed it to be moved is so the person not come to extinguish the fire, and not out of respect for humanity, so why here suddenly by the prohibition of a Karmalis do we mention a completely different idea for why we push off the prohibition? Answer: As will be explained in Halacha 3, the reason of “honoring the dead” is already enough of a reason that the sages permitted to carry the body to a Karmalis, even in cases that there is no fire and one will thus not come to transgress anything even if moving it were not to be allowed. However by the prohibition of Muktzah the sages did not permit moving it from the side [on beds] just because of “honor to the dead”, and only allowed it in this case that otherwise one may come to extinguish the fire. Thus regarding Muktzah the concept of not coming to do a prohibition had to be mentioned. [However to note that to move the body together with a permitted item, the sages allowed as well solely “for the respect of the dead”, as is evident from Halacha 3]
 Seemingly the novelty in this last sentence is to teach us that only the negative command of “Do not stray from their words” is pushed off because of respect for humanity as opposed to pushing off other Torah prohibitions, therefore the Alter Rebbe writes that carrying into a Karmalis is only a Rabbinical command.
 As instead of just carrying the body one is now also carrying the permitted object.
 Meaning since there is no way to avoid it, the Sages completely removed the prohibition, and thus it makes no difference what else one takes out with the body, for the purpose of the body.
 Lit. in any matter
 Meaning if the body is in a courtyard that has no houses to bring the body into, and is open to the sun, and the only shade available is outside the courtyard under trees of a Karmalis, then ….
 Lit. the people living in the house
 Meaning it is not a Karmalis which is only a Rabbinical public domain, but is a Biblical public domain. The details of what is considered a public domain Biblically and Rabbinically is explained in chapter 345.
 There are opinions which hold that any work Biblically prohibited to be done on Shabbos is only prohibited when done for the need of the actual object. Like to carry something in public in order to use it there, or elsewhere. However when carrying it for a purpose that does not involve it, like to move a dead body, being that there is no use of a dead body, then this is only Rabbinically forbidden. [See 278 Halacha 2]
 Meaning a Torah prohibition was transgressed.
 Lit. Works
 Such as here that Muktzah is a Rabbinical command, and having a gentile do even a Biblical prohibition is itself only a Rabbinical command.
 Meaning actually moving it with ones hands.
 Lit. This one brings his bed and sits on it, and this one brings his bed and sits on it
 Lit. This one brings his mat and spreads it on the bed, and this one brings his mat and spreads it on the bed
 Lit. This one brings overturns his bed and removes it, and this one overturns his bed and removes it.
 Thus forming a miniature tepee over the corpse.
 However even this only applies when one is making the tent with an irregularity, such as by holding it up with ones hands as says here, as opposed to supporting it on something. [Ketzos Hashulchan 120 footnote 1]
 Meaning by having them touch each other and form a tepee.
 Regarding if one needs to move the item for both the purpose of the Muktzah and non-Muktzah item: In 277/6 however, the Alter Rebbe writes that one may move the non-Muktzah item with the candle on it even if he needs to also use the Muktzah item in a different area. Possibly one can explain that in the latter case it is stating, that the person is mainly moving it for the purpose of the non-Muktzah and the use of the Muktzah is only a secondary use and is thus allowed. However Tzaruch Iyun as here the Alter Rebbe writes “if one does not need at all [to move] the forbidden item itself”
 That food does not become Muktzah even when set aside from one’s mind, as is done when placed into the ground to become a plant.
 Vetzaruch Iyun from Chapter 309 Halacha 9 where Admur rules that even when it serves benefit from the Basis such as placing a stone to cover a barrel, then it has the status of a basis. See there in the footnotes.
 Lit. comes
 Lit. to float
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