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The tractate of Beitzah discusses the generic laws that apply to yom tov, Biblical holidays—which greatly differ from the Shabbat laws, as many food-preparation related activities that are forbidden on Shabbos are permitted on yom tov.

There is, however, one area where yom tov is more stringent than Shabbos, and that is that the use of a muktzeh item is proscribed on yom tov, but not Shabbos. This is not to be confused with the popular definition of muktzeh – an object that serves a forbidden purpose – which is forbidden on Shabbos and yom tov. The muktzeh we refer to here is an item that serves a permissible goal, but was "separated" from the person, because when the yom tov entered it was either unfit for use, designated for post-yom tov, or simply unavailable for use.1

The last Mishnah of the tractate says: "On yom tov we don't slaughter or give drink to midbariyos ('desert denizens,') (because they are muktzeh), but we do slaughter and give drink to baysiyos ('city denizens'). Midbariyos: those that spend the night in the city. Baysiyos: those that spend the night in the meadow."

The rabbis taught: Midbariyos are those that leave the city around Pesach time and pasture in the meadow, and only return with the first rainfall (in the month of Cheshvan). Baysiyos are those that go out to pasture by day, but return to the city's outskirts every night. Rebbe said, both the aforementioned are considered baysiyos. But what are midbariyos? Those that go out to pasture and do not return—not in the summer and not in the rainy season.

The Talmud asks: But does Rebbe even hold of the concept of muktzeh? Didn't Rabbi Shimon the son of Rebbe ask of his father: "What is Rabbi Shimon's opinion regarding unripe dates that must be placed in palm baskets in order to ripen (if they ripen on yom tov, can one partake of them—considering that they were not fit for consumption before yom tov)?"

Rebbe responded: "Rabbi Shimon only holds of the idea of muktzeh in cases such as dried figs and raisins (which were originally fit for consumption and nevertheless the person deliberately designated them before yom tov for drying)."

The Talmud assumes that since Rebbe explains Rabbi Shimon's opinion, it follows that he agrees with it. Why then does Rebbe proffer an opinion regarding midbariyos, an issue of muktzeh?

The Talmud supplies three possible answers:

a) The midbariyos are also like "dried figs and raisins," for the person has resigned himself to not using them over yom tov.

b) Rebbe was merely stating Rabbi Shimon's opinion—but he himself disagrees with Rabbi Shimon.

c) Rebbe was arguing with the Sages regarding the logic of their opinion. He was saying: "I don't hold of the concept of muktzeh in the instance of animals. But you, concede to me at least that animals that go out to pasture around Pesach time and return with the first rainfall are considered baysiyos (and as such even according to your opinion are permitted on yom tov). But the Sages disagreed, considering them midbariyos.