If a tray on top of a table has candles on it, what becomes the basis (muktzeh): the table, the tray, or both? Where should the challah be placed: on the table, the tray, or either one?
Similarly, a drawer that has muktzeh inside it: does that render the table muktzeh, or just the drawer, or both? Where should the ‘significant’ non-muktzeh item be placed?
Does the ‘non muktzeh’ significant item need to be as equally important as the muktzeh item or greater in significance? How can one gauge that?
Does the drawer of a desk need to be assumed to have a muktzeh item in it if one doesn’t know?
Why is it that a drawer that one can pull out completely (as opposed to a drawer that one cannot pull out completely) is considered a separate entity and therefore the table become a basis due to the now mukzteh drawer? the drawer became a basis muktzeh because of the item within it, and then also makes the table mukzeh? How far reaching can muktzeh go?
If the tray with the candles is on the table, both the tray and the table become a basis for muktzeh. The bread should be placed on the table, which saves the table from being mukzeh, because it becomes a basis for issur and heter. If you wish to save the tray from becoming a basis, bread would have to be placed on the tray, but some write that this would not help for a silver tray, which is used exclusively for candelabra.
For the drawer, if you wish to use the drawer itself, the item must be placed in the drawer. This helps for the table, too. If you only wish to avoid the table being mukzeh, you may place the item on the table.
Based on the reasoning mentioned by Mishnah Berurah (309:9), the non-mukzeh item needs to be more important than the mukzeh item, for it therefore ‘annuls’ the mukzeh item (however, see 308:5, whose wording is difficult). This is also implied by the wording of Tur and Magen Avraham (277:8).
Importance is gauged, according to a number of authorities, by the requirements of Shabbos. Bread is important because is it required for the meal (Chayei Adam 27). An alternative measure is importance, which is not always measured in terms of price. A sefer, for instance, has inherent importance over regular objects (see Ohr Yisrael, vol. 35, p. 60ff).
The concept of a basis is as ‘far reaching’ as the relationships between the items in question. As noted, a tray becomes a basis for the candles, and the table for the tray, and so on. This applies to a drawer that pulls out, which the table holds, and becomes a basis for.