Chapter 20, Mishna 5
As we complete Chapter 20 with some seemingly unrelated and highly specific rabbinic decrees like moving straw off a bed on Shabbos or clothes off a “consumer” pressing board, let’s take a moment to read today’s reading from this week’s Torah portion. In the final month of Moses’ life, he teaches the most important wisdom he’s acquired. He reminds the people how stubborn they are how likely they are to stray from the CHUKIM u’MISHPATIM, the laws we don’t understand and even the laws we think we understand, and the consequences for abandoning them. These laws are a lifeline for the Jewish people, and clinging to them as a people has saved us from going the way of all the other lost peoples for 3,000 years, including 2,000 since we lost the Temple. With this in mind, we return to these final laws of Chapter 20. We may move muktzeh items on Shabbos in an atypical way but not in the typical way. We may crush peppers on Shabbos in an atypical way, and only for the immediate needs of a meal before us. We may scrape mud off our shoes on a rock or a wall (mostly), but not on the ground where we may come to fill in holes. We may not wear oversize or torn shoes lest we come to carry them. We may take news shoes off a shoe-form.