Hello, I have a question. I did not observe Sabbath until a few years ago even though I obviously knew that going in cars, etc. were transgressions. So, I own many things that are associated with these transgressions (e.g., clothes I wore in the car on Saturdays, blankets, coolers, etc. that traveled in the car on Saturdays, etc. –even just a few years ago). I feel guilty about not having observed Shabbat then and wonder if these items are off limits now because they are associated with my “bad” actions? Is it ok to touch them? Or even use them? Similarly, my family is not observant, but I live with them for medical reasons. A few weeks ago, on Shabbat I had a medical emergency and my mom may have turned on heat (she does this anyway but I worry it was for me.) I did not ask her to and was not exactly in good shape, but would it now be forbidden for me to touch that heater? thank you
The halacha that you are referring to is called Ma’aseh Shabbos, which is, that chazal prohibited us from benefitting from melacha that was done on Shabbos. This prohibition only applies to benefit that was actually created via the melacha. For example, food that was cooked on Shabbos, may not be eaten, because the food became edible thru the prohibited action. Or a dress that was sewn on Shabbos may not be worn, because the dress was created thru melacha. However, if a car was used to drive on Shabbos, we are not forbidden from benefitting from the car during the week. Additionally, it will not prohibit merely touching the car.
An additionally permitting factor according to some poskim, is that even when melacha was done, it is only prohibited forever if it was done knowing that he action is prohibited. However, while you weren’t religious, although you did know that there was a Sabbath, you didn’t know the halachos. Therefore, most of the things done then are considered shogeg, or unintentional. Ma’aseh Shabbos will not apply after Shabbos to melacha that was done b’shogeg. Therefore, you don’t have to be concerned with benefitting from the car, etc.
Therefore, regarding the heater, I can’t comment if what your mother did was correct or not, because I don’t know the circumstances. Regardless though, it will not prohibit you from touching the heater in the future.
שולחן ערוך אורח חיים סימן שיח סעיף א, “המבשל בשבת, (או שעשה אחת משאר מלאכות), (טור), במזיד, אסור לו לעולם ולאחרים מותר למוצאי שבת מיד; ובשוגג, אסור בו ביום גם לאחרים, ולערב מותר גם לו מיד” וע’ במשנה ברורה סימן שיח מ”ב ס”ק ב’ “דכל האיסור הזה הוא רק מדרבנן שקנסוהו”. וס”ק ד’ “ליהנות מאותה מלאכה דקנסוהו רבנן ומ”מ מותר לו ליהנות מדמיה של המלאכה”. שולחן שלמה ס’ שכ”ו -א “ומה שאמרו ב”ק דף ע”א דמעשה שבת א מותר בהנאה היינו דלא נהפך להיות כערלה וכלאי הכרם ומותר בהנאה כזו שהיה יכול ליהנות גם אם לא עשה המלאכה”.