1) A "KLI SHE'MELACHTO L'HETER" WHICH IS FORBIDDEN TO BE USED ON SHABBOS
QUESTION: The Gemara says that in the Beis ha'Mikdash, small, smooth sticks were used to suspend the animal used for the Korban Pesach while it was skinned. The Gemara says that these sticks were not used on Shabbos. Rabah says that even though the use of a Kli she'Melachto l'Heter (a utensil used for an act that is permitted on Shabbos) is permitted, these sticks were not permitted to be used because it was possible to skin the Korban without them. Two people could place their arms on each other's shoulders and hang the animal over their arms while they skin it. The Gemara gives the same ruling for the sticks that separated the loaves of the Lechem ha'Panim from each other to allow air to circulate around them; since it was not necessary to use these sticks, they may not be moved on Shabbos.
Why should these items be prohibited to be moved simply because it was not necessary to use them? Since they are utensils that are used for permitted purposes, they should not be considered Muktzah at all.
(a) The TOSFOS HA'ROSH and RASHBA answer that Rabah here is consistent with his reasoning elsewhere. Rabah (later on 124a) maintains that a Kli she'Melachto l'Heter may not be moved solely for the sake of protecting the utensil ("me'Chamah l'Tzel" -- "from the sun to the shade"). It may be moved only in order to use it or to use its place (see Chart). Since it was possible to hang the animal on the arms of two people and it was not necessary to use the sticks, using the sticks would be akin to moving them me'Chamah l'Tzel, and therefore it was prohibited.
(b) The Rishonim cite a variant text of the Gemara in which it is Rava, and not Rabah, who made this statement. This is even more difficult to understand, because Rava permits moving utensils of permitted usage even me'Chamah l'Tzel (124a)!
The annotator of the "Oraisa" edition of the RASHBA (Rav Moshe Mordechai Karp of Kiryat Sefer) points out that according to the MAGID MISHNAH, the RAMBAM (Hilchos Shabbos 25:3) maintains that even a Kli she'Melachto l'Heter may not be moved for no purpose at all. It may be moved only for a definite purpose. (The Rashba on 43b also records such an opinion.) According to this opinion, we can understand the ruling of the Gemara here. Moving the sticks in order to hang the Korban Pesach on them was considered moving them for no purpose, since the animal could be suspended without the sticks.
2) DECREES THAT FORBID THINGS ON YOM TOV BECAUSE OF SHABBOS
QUESTION: The Gemara (124a) cites the Mishnah in Beitzah (32b) that states that one may not use a piece of wood to support a pot or a door on Yom Tov. The Gemara explains that Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel argue whether or not the Rabanan enacted decrees to forbid certain things (such as firewood) from being moved on Yom Tov lest one move them on Shabbos. Beis Shamai says that the Rabanan did enact such decrees, and Beis Hillel says that they did not.
Does the Gemara's conclusion imply that the Mishnah in Beitzah follows the opinion of Beis Shamai?
(a) The RITVA and the SHITAH L'RAN explain that the Mishnah in Beitzah indeed expresses the opinion of Beis Shamai. Since the Mishnah there expresses the opinion of Beis Shamai, it would seem that the Halachah does not follow the ruling of the Mishnah there. However, the Ritva explains that the Halachah does follow the ruling of the Mishnah there, because there is another Sugya in Beitzah that gives a different reason for why one is prohibited to lean a pot on a piece of wood on Yom Tov. The Gemara says that since pieces of wood are designated to be used exclusively as fuel for fires, they are Muktzah and may not be used for any other purpose. According to that reason, the Mishnah in Beitzah follows the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah, who is stringent with regard to the laws of Muktzah.
(b) The TOSFOS HA'ROSH explains that when the Gemara here says that "this [Mishnah] expresses the opinion of Beis Shamai," it does not refer to the abovementioned Mishnah in Beitzah. That Mishnah indeed follows Beis Hillel, and the reason why pieces of wood may not be used on Yom Tov is because pieces of wood are designated exclusively for lighting fires (as mentioned in (a) above). When the Gemara says that "this [Mishnah] expresses the opinion of Beis Shamai," it refers to the Mishnah that the Gemara cites from Megilah (7b) which states that the only difference between Shabbos and Yom Tov is food preparation.
(c) The Tosfos ha'Rosh cites RABEINU TAM who explains that the Gemara here and the Gemara in Beitzah are saying the same thing. Although the Gemara here says that the Mishnah in Beitzah follows Beis Shamai, the Gemara here agrees with the Gemara in Beitzah that says that pieces of wood are designated exclusively for lighting fires. The Gemara here understands that the reason why pieces of wood are Muktzah for any other purpose other than fuel for fires is because of the Gezeirah that forbids them to be moved on Yom Tov, lest one think that he may move them on Shabbos as well.
3) THE MUKTZAH-STATUS OF A BROKEN PIECE OF EARTHENWARE
OPINIONS: The Gemara records a dispute between three Amora'im with regard to the status of a broken piece of earthenware (Cheres) in the various domains on Shabbos. Everyone agrees that one may handle a Cheres in a Chatzer. However, Shmuel says that it may be handled only in a Chatzer, but not in a Karmelis (and certainly not in a Reshus ha'Rabim). Rav Nachman says that a Cheres may be handled in a Karmelis as well, but not in a Reshus ha'Rabim. Rava permits one to handle a Cheres even in Reshus ha'Rabim.
What is the basis of their dispute?
(a) RASHI explains that Shmuel permits one to handle a Cheres only in a Chatzer, because in a Chatzer there are plenty of vessels. A broken piece of earthenware can be used to serve as a cover for other vessels. In contrast, vessels are not usually found in a Karmelis, and thus a Cheres in a Karmelis has no use and is Muktzah.
Rav Nachman maintains that even in a Karmelis a Cheres is not Muktzah. Even though there are no vessels in a Karmelis, nevertheless the Cheres can be used to cover spittle, and thus it has a use and is permitted to be handled. Shmuel does not consider such an uncommon and trivial use to be significant.
Rava, who permits one to handle a Cheres even in Reshus ha'Rabim, maintains that since a Cheres in a Chatzer has a normal use (a cover for vessels) and thus it retains its status as a usable utensil, one is permitted to handle a Cheres even in Reshus ha'Rabim. (The fact that it can be used to wipe mud off of one's shoes in Reshus ha'Rabim does not make it into a usable utensil, because wiping off mud is done even with a stone or a piece of garbage which one intends to discard. Such a usage does not serve the purpose of a "utensil.")
(b) RABEINU CHANANEL explains, as Rashi does, that everyone permits using a Cheres in a Chatzer, because it may be used to cover vessels.
He explains Rav Nachman's reason for permitting the use of a Cheres in a Karmelis as follows. Since carrying from a Karmelis into a Chatzer is prohibited only mid'Rabanan, one might accidentally carry the Cheres from the Karmelis into a Chatzer, where it will then serve a significant purpose of covering a vessel. Therefore, one is permitted to handle a Cheres even in a Karmelis.
Rava permits one to handle a Cheres even in Reshus ha'Rabim, because he maintains that even the relatively insignificant use of wiping mud off of shoes is sufficient to give it the status of a utensil.