Dear Rabbi Bloom, Sh'lita
thank you for your copious research for your last answer.
may i ask you - Can one "Meichin" his dog/cat for shabbos to pet,cuddle even to pick up? I heard there is a gemorrah that allows the Hachonoh of a grass-hopper (but, it is possible that since a grasshopper is eatable (even w/o shechita and alive?) it might be different?).
If one can meichin a rock - but it becomes a Keili - so a dog/cat beckomes a doll?
Thank you again for your answers.
Aurel Littman, Brooklyn, NY
1. I think you may be referring to the Gemara in Shabbos (90b) where the Mishnah discusses the size of a grasshopper, Tahor or Tamei, dead or alive, for which one is liable for Hotza'ah (carrying from Reshus ha'Yachid to Reshus ha'Rabim) on Shabbos. Rebbi Yehudah there says that a Tamei grasshopper is significant (and thus one is liable for carrying it out on Shabbos) since it may be used as a toy for a young child. However, I do not think that proof can be brought from there with regard to Muktzeh, because the Sugya there is not discussing Muktzeh but rather the prohibition of carrying in Reshus ha'Rabim.
2. However, there is a source for your question in the Teshuvos Maharach Or Zaru'a, end of #81. He writes that one may permit the moving around on Shabbos of birds which make a pleasant noise in their cage. Since people get pleasure from the bird noises, the birds are not Muktzeh.
3. Nevertheless, in the next section (#82), the Maharach Or Zaru'a cites the Rosh who writes that he did not want to permit moving the birds.
Accordingly, the question about being "Meichin" the dog or cat to touch appears to depend on the dispute between the Maharach Or Zaru'a and the Rosh. This dispute is cited by the contemporary Poskim when they discuss whether an aquarium is Muktzeh on Shabbos.
Re: meichining a pet to pickup on shabbos- in Igros Moshe on page 74 (cheilek #8) - it says pets are meichinable. A similar loshon quoting Rav Moshe in Halochos of Muktzeh by Rabbi Bodner has the last sentence omitted in effect saying that an animal - even a pet bird - cannot be 'meichined" for shabbos. Looks like the editor of Igros Moshe added his own comments w/o giving source? any other sources on this?
Aurel Littmann, Brooklyn, NY, USA
1. Reb Aurel, you are correct that the addition in the Igros Moshe, giving the Heter for pets, was written by the editor and not by Rav Moshe himself. If you look carefully, you will notice that the script of this addition is slightly smaller than the rest of the text. This is the procedure in Igros Moshe, vol. 8 -- that the slightly smaller letters are additions of the editor, and not the words of Rav Moshe.
2. I want to argue that the dispute between the Maharach Or Zaru'a and the Rosh cited above is in fact a dispute between two opinions cited by Tosfos to Shabbos 45b, DH Hacha. Tosfos cites Rabeinu Yosef that a live chick is not Muktzeh because it is "Chazi" -- fit -- for amusing a baby with when he cries. Tosfos himself disagrees with the opinion of Rabeinu Yosef and writes that the Gemara earlier (43a) implies that a chick is Muktzeh. If we look at the Hagahos Ashiri to the Rosh (Shabbos 3:21, DH Efro'ach) we find that the same dispute is cited, and the Ri -- who is the stringent opinion in Tosfos -- adds that if one would say that it is permitted to move the chick, then it should follow that all stones and pretty pieces of wood would not be Muktzeh.
3. Since there is a dispute between major Rishonim about whether pretty creatures, which are specially set aside for people to enjoy, are Muktzeh, it is understandable that the contemporary authorities are not in a hurry to permit this matter. In addition, the conclusion of Tosfos and the Rosh is stringent, and this would seem to bear more weight in practical Halachah than the Maharach Or Zaru'a and Rabeinu Yosef, since Tosfos and the Rosh are more major Rishonim.
4. In Teshuvos Rivevos Efraim (1:239), Rav Egraim Greenblatt shlit'a discusses whether an aquarium is Muktzeh. He cites his Rebbi, Rav Moshe Feinstein zt'l, who wrote to him: "To move on Shabbos and Yom Tov the container with small fish which is made for beauty and to decorate the house, it appears that this is forbidden because live creatures are Muktzeh even in such a form, since they are similar to 'Grogeros and Tzemukim'" -- this refers to the Gemara in Shabbos (45a) where Rabbi Shimon agrees that "dried figs and raisins" which were brought to the roof to dry are muktzeh -- "as explained in Tosfos, Shabbos 45b, DH Hacha, whose conclusion is against Rabeinu Yosef. In this case, the Kli of the fish is also Muktzeh because it is not possible to send the fish away."
The Rivevos Efraim concludes that Rav Moshe Feinstein clearly ruled for us that it is forbidden to move the aquarium.