Shabbat 46 - Finer distinctions in muktzeh

Rav Yosef (who lived in Babylon) wanted to know the opinion of Rabbi Yochanan (who lived in Israel) on muktzeh - objects set aside and not used on Shabbat. When Rav Yitzhak arrived from Israel, he said, "Rabbi Yochanan agrees with the stricter, more inclusive prohibitions of Rabbi Yehudah on muktzeh." At this, Rav Yosef exclaimed, "Now I understand the previous report!" For Rabbi Yochanan had said, "They (my colleagues) hold that the law agrees with the less strict opinion of Rabbi Shimon." Now Rav Yosef understood that it meant, "They hold so, but I (Rabbi Yochanan) don't agree to it!"

At this, Abaye said to Rav Yosef, "How come you did not deduce this on your own!? For when Rabbi Assi, a choice student of Rabbi Yochanan, came to Rabbi Abba's house on Shabbat, a candelabra fell on his cloak, and he did not move it! That can only agree with the strict opinion on muktzeh, and surely Rabbi Assi behaved like his teacher, Rabbi Yochanan, would." However, Rav Yosef replied, "You cannot deduce anything from this. For candelabra is different: if it is large and consists of part, one may come to assemble the parts, thus performing the forbidden labor of building, and other candelabras were prohibited on the account of this one."

But Rabbi Shimon's opinion contradicts his other rulings. For while it is true that he permits to use the oil in the Shabbat lamp, after the light went out, he at the same time does not permit to slaughter a firstborn animal which developed a blemish on a holiday (Yom Tov), and says that the animal is muktzeh, not prepared for use on a Yom Tov! - Rabbi Shimon will answer that there is a big difference: a man sits and waits till his lamp goes out and he can use the oil; however, a blemish occurring in an animal is completely unforeseen, people do not sit and wait for it to develop, so the animal is indeed not prepared for slaughter on a Yom Tov.

Art: Georges Croegaert - A Gentleman Waiting in an Interior