Remember the ‘ochel nefesh’ and ‘mitoch’ principles, by which food-related melachos are permitted and extended to even non-food Yom Tov needs? [Ed: For a quick review, please see the beginning of MBY 511:1 ‘Mav’ir’/lighting a fire and heating water on Yom Tov (part 1)]. One of the melachos to which ‘mitoch’ applies is ‘hotza-a’/transporting – i.e. carrying objects into and through a public (reshus harabim) or semi-private (karmelis) domain – without an Eruv! The purpose of the transporting need not be for food – it could be to bring a child somewhere (or even just to take a stroll with the child), to carry one’s talis or siddur to shul or anything else with a similar Yom Tov use. It is forbidden to transport anything that has no Yom Tov purpose, however, and it is debated among the halachic authorities whether this prohibition is on the Torah or Rabbinic level. What is considered “no Yom Tov purpose” - Is it permissible to carry one’s siddur home from shul if he will not be using it again that day? Is it permissible to play catch with a ball on Yom Tov (all without an Eruv)? These and other questions are discussed in the Shulchan Aruch and Mishnah Berura, and the answers are sometimes difficult to determine. For example, some authorities permit carrying for the purpose of keeping valuable objects from getting stolen or lost; others do not. Some authorities consider playing ball with a child to be a legitimate Yom Tov activity and thus permit throwing the ball in the street; others do not. Regarding this issue, the halacha is particularly lenient if, by not being able to carry an object after its use (i.e. bring the siddur home after davening), one would be prevented from using it in the first place. (This is the principle of ‘l’hatir sofo mishum t’chilaso’ – lit. “to permit the end for the sake of the beginning”.)
Question: What effect, if any, does having an Eruv up have on one’s ability to carry on Yom Tov? Answer: It sounds funny – to have an Eruv on Yom Tov - because we associate Yom Tov with permission to carry even without an Eruv. Upon closer examination, however, we see that having an Eruv can make a big difference for Yom Tov carrying as well. Although it is not advisable to establish an Eruv just for Yom Tov use, if an Eruv is already in place for Shabbos, then its existence will extend the permission to carry on Yom Tov, even to those cases where it is not clearly for Yom Tov use, such as the examples given above (e.g. bringing the siddur home from shul, playing catch with a ball etc.)
Not for Non-Jews: It should be implicit from all we have learned in this lesson that a Jew is not permitted to carry on Yom Tov (outside of an Eruv) for the sake of a non-Jew.
Question: What is the role of muktzah on Yom Tov?
Answer: Generally, the rules of muktzah on Yom Tov are the same as on Shabbos (see below), except for those objects which are required for ‘ochel nefesh’ (food preparation). In addition, if an object is muktzah, then, besides the Rabbinic prohibition against handling it, it is forbidden (possibly even by Torah law) to carry it outside, since by definition, it has no (permissible) Yom Tov use.
On the topic of muktzah, the following paragraph is excerpted from Hilchos Shabbos (MBY 308:35), as it has relevance to Yom Tov as well.
The principle of ‘graf shel re-i’ (lit. the “repugnant bed pan”): We have learned previously that the rabbis waived their decrees when there was concern for ‘kavod habriyos’ (human dignity). Urine and feces (including dirty diapers), dead rodents or large bugs, empty but repugnant bed pans (Ed: or even kitchen garbage) are all clearly muktzah, but they are repulsive to people. Accordingly, the halacha permits the handling and removal of these objects and materials from places where people are found. Direct contact and movement is allowed. One may also return the empty container to its place in the house, if either: a) it has not left his hand, b) it is needed again to be used and refilled, or c) it contains potable water that an animal would drink.
For those readers who can “stomach” this halacha:
There is a well-known debate between two of the Tanna Sages, Rabi Yehuda and Rabi Shimon, concerning the level of stringency of the muktzah laws. For Shabbos, we accept the more lenient approach of Rabi Shimon. For Yom Tov, the Shulchan Aruch adopts the more stringent view of Rabi Yehuda (!) while the Rama rules that we follow Rabi Shimon on Yom Tov as well as on Shabbos. One of the classic cases where the two opinions diverge is the following: If a Jew owns an animal (e.g. a cow) that dies on Shabbos or Yom Tov, may he cut it up to feed his dog before the flesh becomes inedible from decomposition? Of course, it depends: If the animal was “on its last leg” (i.e. almost dead) before Shabbos or Yom Tov began, all agree that it is not muktzah (should it die on Shabbos or Yom Tov), because the advent of its death (and thus its use as dog food) was anticipated. If the animal was sick, but not expected to die, all agree that – according to the Rama, whose opinion we generally follow even for Yom Tov – then likewise it is not muktzah and its meat may be cut up for the dog. However, if the animal was completely healthy and it died suddenly, the Poskim are divided whether or not even the Rama would permit its use. (Please ask a ‘shayla’ next time this comes up!)
In conclusion, we will cite here one pertinent excerpt from Rav Cohen’s invaluable sefer on Hilchos Yom Tov (see The Laws of Yom Tov by Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen, p. 115): “Items that could have been carried to their destination before Yom Tov: We have learned that even where there is a legitimate reason for permitting a melacha on Yom Tov, it is permitted only if it could not have been performed with equal results before Yom Tov. This rule does not apply to carrying. When a need exists to carry something through a public domain on Yom Tov, it is permitted even where this could have been done prior to Yom Tov.” (Note: To explain: Unlike other chores, where having them completed before Yom Tov only enhances one’s enjoyment of the Yom Tov itself, the freedom to carry necessary items on Yom Tov itself adds greatly to people’s enjoyment of the festival.)