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Is It Permissible To Move Frozen Meat On Shabbat Or Is It Muktze

Is it permissible to move raw or frozen meat on Shabbat, or does such meat have the status of "Muktzeh"?

The Halachic authorities write that although people generally do not eat raw meat, nevertheless, since raw meat is suitable for human consumption, and people would eat uncooked meat under extenuating circumstances, we do not consider it Muktzeh on Shabbat. This is particularly so nowadays, when the raw meat one purchases in the shop has already undergone the process of salting. This applies to both red meat and fowl. (See Shulhan Aruch OH, Siman 308:31.)

With respect to frozen meat, Rabbi Moshe Halevi, in his work Menuchat Ahava, Helek 1, page 280, rules that the status of a frozen piece of meat depends on whether or not it could potentially be thawed before Shabbat ends. If not enough time remains for the piece to defrost before the end of Shabbat, then it is indeed deemed Muktzeh and one may not move it on Shabbat, even if he needs its space. If, however, the meat could defrost before the end of Shabbat, we do not classify it as Muktzeh and one may move it on Shabbat.

Therefore, when one goes into his freezer on Shabbat to take out some cookies or ices, for example, he must ensure not to move any meat in the freezer, given the likelihood that not enough time remains for the meat to defrost before Shabbat ends, in which case the meat is Muktzeh. This is particularly so late in the day on Shabbat afternoon, at which point one can be certain that his frozen meat could not defrost before Shabbat's end.

Summary: It is permissible to move raw meat on Shabbat. Frozen meat should not be moved on Shabbat unless enough time remains before the end of Shabbat for the meat to defrost.


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