Q. I’m a nurse at a hospital close to me and although I tried, I can’t avoid having to put some hours during Yom Kippur to care for my patients, mostly Gentiles.
I have often wondered, if I have to put or take off leather shoes from patients on Yom Kippur, are those shoes muktza to me, since I can’t wear them?
A. Shulchan Aruch (O.H. 308: 47) quotes two opinions regarding if a piece of clothing that contains shaatnez (wool and linen) is muktza on Shabbos or not. Mishna Berura (ibid. 160 – 161) explains that since there is a prohibition to wear it, it would be muktza even when being used for a permitted activity, (letzorech gufo) or if the place it occupies is needed, (letzorech mekomo). The reason of the ones that permit the use, is that after all it is still regarded as a vessel, He adds, that the stringent opinion is main.
Shulchan Aruch Horav (ibid. 85) further explains the stringent opinion, mentioning that the shaatnez cloth is worse than a common prohibited item, such as tools and instruments (keli shemelachto leissur), since those are permitted to be used during weekdays, however, the shaatnez prohibition remains. Following his reasoning, leather shoes that are only prohibited in Yom Kippur, should be permitted to be moved when being used for a permitted activity, or when one needs their place.
It also stands to reason that leather shoes are permitted to be worn during Yom Kippur for all, if needed to walk on muddy or dangerous surfaces, so one does not disassociate or separate one’s mind entirely from them and the may not be muktza at all. (See similar shailah on Chasukei Chemed: Yuma 73b).
Horav Shlomo Miller’s Shlit’a opinion is that leather shoes are not muktza on Yom Kippur.
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as advised by Horav Shlomo Miller and Horav Aharon Miller Shlit’a