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Kotzair 5 – Storing Items in the Ground 2; Other Flooring (Klal 12 Siman 4) Hilchos Shabbos – S0351

D'var Halacha
D'var Halacha
Kotzair 5 - Storing Items in the Ground 2; Other Flooring (Klal 12 Siman 4) Hilchos Shabbos - S0351
  Sponsorships for the upcoming Klalim, which discuss the 39 melachos of Shabbos, are available. Please contact Rabbi Reingold for more information at or 301.996.5910   We are beginning siman 4, where the Chayei Adam discusses vegetables which tend to sprout, such as onions or potatoes. In siman 3, we discussed the halachos relevant to placing such vegetables inside the ground. A more common scenario is where one has potatoes or onions sitting on top of the ground, and the moisture of the ground allows for the vegetable to sprout. If the vegetable in question is a potato, it is unusable and therefore muktzah anyways. A raw onion or carrot is not muktzah, so the question is whether picking the vegetable off the ground is considered kotzair.  The specific scenario of the Chayei Adam is where it is partially underground, but the scenario we will discuss is where it is above ground. Our scenario is where the person did not intend to place it on the ground for the purpose of planting, and it is not embedded in the ground at all, so it is not a normal method of planting. In this scenario, with this combination of factors, it would not be kotzair to pick the vegetable off the ground. This last point is similar to why one is allowed to remove the moisture of bean sprouts after removing them from their water medium (s346). Even if the leftover moisture allows for the bean sprouts to continue to grow slightly, it is not the normal growth medium, so it is not an issue.    One may carry an onion or other vegetable over open soil without any concern of zoreiah or kotzair. However, carrying a plant which is in a flowerpot with a hole and which has roots is a concern, because it will draw from the ground while it is passing over it. When it does not have a root system, it is not yet drawing nutrients from the dirt in the pot, so there is no concern of passing over the ground. If one stores seeds, and they begin to sprout and have produced roots, there would be a concern to carry it over open soil.   We need to clarify the status of concrete or linoleum floors. The Chazon Ish assumes that these floors serve as a hefsek to prevent nutrients from being drawn from it, similar to metal. Thus, there will not be a concern of moving a pot with a hole which is sitting on the floor of a home, whether the immediate floor is made of concrete, or whether a lower floor is made of concrete. Others disagree, and maintain that since concrete is made of dirt, it is not a hefsek. All would agree that hard plastics or stone which is used as tile would be considered a hefsek. There may still be issues of muktzah, but there is no issue of kotzair.    Summary
  • It is muttar to pick up a detached vegetable off of the ground, provided that:
  1. It is not muktzah;
  2. It is fully above ground;
  3. It was not placed on the ground for the purpose of planting.
  • One may carry a vegetable over open soil without concern for kotzair. However, one may not carry a plant or seed with roots over open soil, out of concern for zoreiah and kotzair.
  • Concrete or linoleum floors are treated as metal floors and create a hefsek between a plant and the ground.

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