2 muktza questions:

1)On shabbos, I by accidently left my cell phone on the seforim shelf next to the shabbos table. In the morning the phone’s alarm starting going off very loudly and leaving the phone ringing for hours would be very annoying to the my family and guests. Is there anyway one can move the phone with with an elbow or the like, thereby pushing it into another room, in order to have a normal Shabbos?

2) My 1 year old son took my mp3 player out of a drawer on shabbos and put it on the shabbos table. Does one have to leave it there for the entire shabbos, even though it is embarrasing having guests over with electronic devices on the shabbos table, or can one backhandadly move the muktza item?

Answer:

Both questions depend on the status of such electrical items in terms of muktzeh. If electrical items are considered a keli shemelachto le’issur, it follows that it is permitted to move them for the sake of their place. Therefore, because one needs the place of the Shabbos table, it would be permitted to move the mp3 player. Likewise, the disturbance of the noise of the cellphone might be construed as being machmas mekomo, because the noise prevents the family from making normal use of the living room area.

However, many poskim maintain that electrical items, which have no use on Shabbos, are considered to be muktzeh machmas gufo, or, alternatively, muktzeh machmas chesaron kis, so that the pretext of requiring their place does not help. However, the items can be moved by means of tiltul min hatzad, meaning moving them “indirectly” by means of a book, tray, and so on, and transporting them on the tray. Because you are moving the items not for their own sake, but because you wish to have a normal (and not embarrasing) use of the room, this would be permitted.

In addition, according to Mishnah Berurah it is permitted to move a muktzeh item with one’s body, including one’s elbow. Although Chazon Ish prohibits this, one may be lenient in accordance with Mishnah Berurah’s opinion, in particular in cases of need such as those you describe.

An additional problem related specifically to cell phones is the changing indicators of reception. If moving the cellphone will change the level of reception, and this will be indicated in the display, it would be forbidden to do so.

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