ג׳ בכסלו ה׳תשע״ג (November 17, 2012)

Shabbat 45a-b: Drying Figs and raisins on Shabbat

The Gemara on today’s daf continues its discussion of the laws of muktzeh – the rabbinic prohibition against moving objects that were “set aside” as being unusable on Shabbat – and discusses the position of Rabbi Shimon who is reputed to reject the concept of muktzeh on Shabbat. The Gemara does note one exception to this rule:

Rav Yehuda said that Shmuel said: There is only a prohibition of muktzeh according to Rabbi Shimon in the cases of dried figs and raisins alone.

The case of one who takes figs and raisins up to his roof in order to dry them in the sun is the only situation in which Rabbi Shimon holds that they are prohibited on Shabbat due to the prohibition of set-aside. Since in the initial stages of the process they emit a bad odor and are unfit for consumption, one consciously sets them aside.

Does this apply to all fruits that are put out to dry? This question is raised by the Gemara itself:

Rabbi Shimon bar Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, raised a dilemma before his father, Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi: Unripe dates that are placed in baskets to ripen and until they are ripe can only be eaten with difficulty, according to the opinion of Rabbi Shimon, what is their legal status as far as moving them on Shabbat is concerned? Are they considered set-aside? Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi said to him: There is only a prohibition of muktzeh according to Rabbi Shimon in the cases of dried figs and raisins alone.

Some explain the difference between unripe dates, on the one hand, and dried figs and raisins, on the other. Figs and raisins are expressly set-aside, while unripe dates are not. They are simply not yet edible, but they will become so over time. Therefore, because one only set them aside temporarily, they are not prohibited (Tosefot Yeshanim).

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