אִם חַס וְשָׁלוֹם נָפְלָה דְּלֵקָה בַּשַׁבָּת, חָשׁוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה, כִּי בַּעַל הַבַּיִת וּבְנֵי בֵּיתוֹ אֲשֶׁר שָׁם הַדְּלֵקָה, אִם יִתְעַסְּקוּ בְּהַצָּלָה, וְהֵמָּה נֶחְפָּזִים וּבְהוּלִים עַל מָמוֹנָם, שֶׁמָּא מִתּוֹךְ כָּךְ יִשְׁכְּחוּ שֶׁהַיּוֹם שַׁבָּת וִיכַבּוּ אֶת הַדְּלֵקָה, עַל כֵּן אָסְרוּ לְהַצִּיל אֲפִלּוּ חֲפָצִים שֶׁהֵן מֻתָּרִין בְּטִלְטוּל לְמָקוֹם שֶׁמֻּתָּרִין לְהוֹצִיא, וְרַק מַה שֶּׁהוּא צָרִיךְ לוֹ לְהַיּוֹם, מֻתָּר לוֹ לְהַצִּיל. כֵּיצַד. נָפְלָה דְּלֵקָה בְּלֵיל שַׁבָּת קֹדֶם הַסְּעוּדָּה, מַצִּיל מְזוֹן שָׁלֹשׁ סְעוּדּוֹת, הָרָאוּי לָאָדָם, לָאָדָם. הָרָאוּי לַבְּהֵמָה, לַבְּהֵמָה. וּבְשַׁחֲרִית, מְזוֹן שְׁתֵּי סְעוּדּוֹת. וּבְמִנְחָה, מְזוֹן סְעוּדָּה אַחַת. וְאִם יֵשׁ בִּכְלִי אֶחָד מַאֲכָלִים הַרְבֵּה, כְּגוֹן סַל מָלֵא כִּכָּרוֹת, וְחָבִית מְלֵאָה יַיִן וְכַדּוֹמֶה, כֵּיוָן שֶׁמּוֹצִיאָם בְּפַעַם אַחַת, מֻתָּר. וְכֵן אִם פֵּרַשׂ סָדִין וְכַדּוֹמֶה וְקִבֵּץ בּוֹ כָּל מַה שֶּׁיָּכוֹל לְהוֹצִיא מִמַּאֲכָלִים וּמַשְׁקָאוֹת וּמוֹצִיאָן בְּפַעַם אַחַת, מֻתָּר. גַּם מֻתָּר לוֹ לְהוֹצִיא כָּל הַכֵּלִים שֶׁהוּא צָרִיךְ לְהִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בָּהֶם הַיּוֹם. If, Heaven forbid, a fire breaks out on Shabbos, our Sages were concerned that the head of the household and his family [who are] in the vicinity of the fire, will be occupied with rescuing their belongings. They will be hasty and panicky at the prospect of losing their valuables, and, as a result, forget that it is Shabbos, and they might extinguish the fire. They, therefore, forbade rescuing even objects that are [normally] permitted to be handled. They forbid even to move them to a place where it is permitted to carry. Only that which is needed for the day is permitted to be rescued.1Some argue that this prohibition applies only where the salvaged objects are carried to your neighbor’s unroofed yard which borders a public domain, for there is concern that you may also carry into a public domain. But to your own yard or friend’s house you may salvage all the food and items you are able to. (Shulchan Aruch 334: 11)
Mishnah Berurah rules that you may be lenient since the prohibition involved is only Rabbinic. Shulchan Aruch Harav, however, rules that you must be stringent. For instance: If a fire broke out on Shabbos eve before the [Shabbos] meal, you may rescue [enough] food for three meals, [food] fit for humans—for humans,2Enough for three meals for each member of your household [Biur Halachah 334: 1] [food] fit for animals—for animals.3Since you yourself may not eat before feeding your animals. [Tosafos, Shabbos] [If the fire broke out] in the morning, [you may rescue] food for two meals. [If the fire broke out] in the afternoon, [you may rescue] food for one meal. If one vessel contains much food [i.e. more than you need], for example, a basket full of breads, or a barrel full of wine4Otherwise you may rescue only enough wine for three meals. You may rescue other liquids to have a sufficient amount for the entire day. [Biur Halachah 334: 1] or something similar; since you can remove it [all] at the same time, it is permissible [although you are rescuing more than you need]. Similarly, if you spread a sheet or something similar, and gather into it everything you can remove, even quantities of food and drink, and you remove them all at once, it is permissible.5According to some this applies to “loose” food, not in containers. If the food is in containers, then each container is considered separately. (Magein Avraham 334: 8, Mishnah Berurah, ibid.). Others do not distinguish between “loose” and containered food. [Tehillah Ledavid] You may also remove all the utensils that you need to use on that day [Shabbos].
וְאוֹמֵר לַאֲחֵרִים בֹּאוּ וְהַצִּילוּ לָכֶם, וְכָל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד מַצִּיל מָזוֹן שֶׁהוּא צָרִיךְ לוֹ אוֹ כְּלִי אֶחָד שֶׁמַּחְזִיק אֲפִלּוּ הַרְבֵּה וַהֲרֵי הוּא שֶׁל הַמַּצִּיל, כֵּיוָן שֶׁבַּעַל הַבַּיִת הִפְקִיר וְזָכָה זֶה מִן הַהֶפְקֵר. וְאִם הוּא יְרֵא שָׁמַיִם וּמַחְזִיר לְבַעַל הַבַּיִת מַה שֶּׁהִצִּיל, כֵּיוָן שֶׁיּוֹדֵעַ שֶׁלֹּא הִפְקִיר בִּרְצוֹנוֹ, מֻתָּר לוֹ לָקַחַת שְׂכַר הַהַצָּלָה, וְאֵין זֶה שְׂכַר שַׁבָּת, כֵּיוָן שֶׁמִּצַּד הַדִּין הַכֹּל הוּא שֶׁלּוֹ. וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם מִדַּת חֲסִידוּת שֶׁלֹּא לִטּוֹל שָׂכָר עַל טֹרַח הַצָּלָה שֶׁבְּשַׁבָּת, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ שְׂכַר שַׁבָּת, כִּי הֶחָסִיד יֵשׁ לוֹ לְוַתֵּר מִשֶּׁלוֹ בְּכָל דָּבָר שֶׁיֵּשׁ בּוֹ נִדְנוּד עֲבֵרָה. You may say to others: "Come and rescue [something] for yourselves,"6It is essential to say “for yourselves,” so that it be a valid renunciation of ownership. [Magein Avraham, Mishnah Berurah] and each person may rescue the food that he needs, or a vessel that contains even a great amount [of food] and it will belong to the rescuer, since the owner renounced his ownership, and he [the rescuer] acquired it from ownerless property. If he [the rescuer] is a God-fearing person and returns to the owner that which he rescued because he knows [that the owner] did not willingly renounce ownership, he may receive payment for the rescue and it is not considered Shabbos wages,7It is prohibited to receive pay for any service performed on Shabbos. In this case if the rescuer returned the items before Shabbos ended he may not accept a fee. [Biur Halachah 334: 1] since, legally, it is all his.8It is, therefore, considered that the rescuer is selling that which is his, rather than receiving a fee for performing a service on Shabbos. [Rashi] Nevertheless, it is virtuous not to accept payment for the trouble of rescuing [anything] on Shabbos, although it is not [considered] Shabbos wages, because a virtuous person should give up his rights concerning anything that has the slightest taint of sin.
וְכָל זֹאת, רַק לְמָקוֹם שֶׁמֻּתָּרִין לְהוֹצִיא לְשָׁם. אֲבָל לְמָקוֹם שֶׁאֲסוּרִין לְהוֹצִיא, אָסוּר לְהַצִּיל שׁוּם דָּבָר. אַךְ בְּגָדִים שֶׁיְכוֹלִין לְלָבְשָׁם, מֻתָּר לוֹ לִלְבּוֹשׁ, וְלַעֲטֹף כָּל מַה שֶּׁיָּכוֹל, וּמוֹצִיא אֲפִלּוּ לִרְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים, וּפוֹשֵׁט וְחוֹזֵר וְלוֹבֵשׁ וּמוֹצִיא אֲפִלּוּ כָּל הַיּוֹם. וְיָכוֹל לוֹמַר גַּם לַאֲחֵרִים, בֹּאוּ וְהַצִּילוּ, וּמַצִּילִין כֵּן. All that was said above applies only [when taken] to a place to which it is permitted to carry things. But, to a place where it is forbidden to carry, it is forbidden to rescue anything. However, clothes that you can wear may be put on, and you may wrap everything you can around you and carry them out even to a public domain. Then, you may remove the clothing, [return] and again put on clothes and carry them out. [You may do this] even the entire day.9The necessity of putting the clothing on is to serve as a constant reminder not to extinguish the fire. [Taz, Rashba] Carrying the clothing is permitted only for clothes needed for Shabbos. [Mishnah Berurah 334: 18] You may also tell others: "Come and rescue!"10And add: “for yourselves.” See note 6. and they, too, may rescue.
וְהַבָּתִּים שֶׁאֵין שָׁם הַדְּלֵקָה, אֶלָּא שֶׁהֵם קְרוֹבִים וִירֵאִים שֶׁתַּגִּיעַ גַּם לָהֶם, כֵּיוָן שֶׁהֵם אֵינָם בְּהוּלִים כָּל כָּךְ, מֻתָּרִין לְהַצִּיל כָּל דָּבָר לַמָּקוֹם שֶׁמֻּתָּרִין לְהוֹצִיא לְשָׁם. יֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים, דְּגַם מָעוֹת וּשְׁאָר דְּבָרִים יְקָרִים אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן מֻקְצִין, מֻתָּר לְהַצִּילָן מִן הַהֶפְסֵד הַגָּדוֹל הַפִּתְאוֹמִי, כְּגוֹן דְּלֵקָה אוֹ שֶׁטֶף מַיִם אוֹ גְּזֵלָה, עַל יְדֵי מַה שֶּׁמַּנִּיחִין עֲלֵיהֶם אֵיזֶה דְּבַר מַאֲכָל וּמְטַלְטְלִין אוֹתן כֵּן בְּיַחַד. (אֲבָל בְּמָקוֹם אַחֵר, אֵין שׁוּם הֶתֵּר לְטַלְטֵל כֵּן מַקְצֶה). וְיֵשׁ מְקִלִּין עוֹד יוֹתֵר, שֶׁאֲפִלּוּ לְבַדָּן יְכוֹלִין לְטַלְטְלָן, מִשּׁוּם דְּבִמְקוֹם הֶפְסֵד גָּדוֹל פִּתְאוֹמִי, נִדְחֶה אִסּוּר מֻקְצֶה, וּבִלְבַד שֶׁלֹּא יוֹצִיא לַמָּקוֹם שֶׁאֲסוּרִין לְהוֹצִיא. Since the owners of the houses that are near the fire are less panicky11And are less likely to forget themselves and extinguish the fire. even though they are afraid that [the fire] will also reach them, they may rescue everything [by taking it] to a place where it is permitted to carry.12Perhaps others may rescue the owner’s objects since they are calmer and are unlikely to forget themselves and extinguish the fire. [Mishnah Berurah 334: 4—Chayei Adam] Some say that money as well as other valuables, though they are muktzeh, may be rescued from a great, sudden loss, such as a fire, a flood or a robbery, by placing on them some food item, and handling them together in that manner. (However, under other circumstances, there is no allowance whatsoever to handle muktzeh in this manner.)13Where there is no threat of loss, placing food on a muktzeh object does not permit handling it. There are those even more lenient [who rule] that the valuables themselves may be handled,14I.e. without the placing of food. because where a great sudden loss15I.e. where there is a panic situation. However, in a situation such as where rain is involved, muktzeh may not be handled [Mishnah Berurah ibid.] [is involved] the prohibition of muktzeh is set aside 16There is great controversy concerning this statement of the author. Ran (Maseches Shabbos) writes that monetary loss alone is not sufficient grounds to dispense with the prohibition of muktzeh. Monetary loss is of avail only to prevent the transgression of a de’oraisa (Biblical) prohibition (e.g. where due to fear of loss, the person may transgress the de’oraisa prohibition of extinguishing a fire on Shabbos.)
Chasam Sofer (Even Ha’ezer 35), however, cites the Bach that where great loss is involved, even the derabanan (Rabbinic) prohibition of muktzeh is dispensed with.
Magein Avraham (338) rules leniently that monetary loss is of avail only where a non-active prohibition such as speech is involved. But an active transgression such as handling muktzeh is prohibited. Similarly carrying the object to a karmelis would also be prohibited. provided that you do not carry them out to a place wherein it is forbidden to carry.17See end of note 16.
כָּל סִפְרֵי קֹדֶשׁ, בֵּין שֶׁהֵן בִּכְתָב בֵּין שֶׁהֵן בִּדְפוּס, מַצִּילִין אוֹתָן מִפְּנֵי הַדְּלֵקָה אוֹ שֶׁטֶף מַיִם וְכַדּוֹמֶה, אֲפִלּוּ לֶחָצֵר אוֹ לְמָבוֹי שֶׁאֲסוּרִין לְהוֹצִיא לְשָׁם מֵחֲמַת שֶׁלֹּא עָשׂוּ עֵרוּב. וְהוּא כְּשֶׁהֵן מְתֻקָּנִין בְּעִנְיָן שֶׁהָיוּ מוֹעִילִים עֵרוּבֵי חֲצֵרוֹת אוֹ שִׁתּוּפֵי מְבוֹאוֹת. וְעַל יְדֵי אֵינוֹ יְהוּדִי, מֻתָּר לְהַצִּילָן אֲפִלּוּ דֶּרֶךְ רְשׁוּת הָרַבִּים (הַצָּלַת הַמֵּת מִן הַדְּלֵקָה, עַיֵן לְקַמָּן סִימָן פ"ח סָעִיף ט"ז). All sacred books, whether they be handwritten or printed, may be rescued from a fire, a flood, and the like, even to a yard or an alleyway to which it is forbidden to carry due to the lack of an eiruv18Where only a lesser derabanan is involved. Shulchan Aruch Harav permits carrying sacred writings even to a karmelis.; provided the yard or alley is constructed in a manner that an eiruvei chatzeiros or shitufei mevo'os19See Chapter 94. could be set up. It is permitted to use a non-Jew to rescue these books even [if it means] carrying through a public domain.20Where the prohibition is de’oraisa. Where there is no alternative, you may tell a non-Jew to extinguish the fire to save the sacred books. [Peri Megadim, Shulchan Aruch Harav] Machatzis Hashekel (329: 1) quotes Tosafos Shabbos that it is even preferable to have a non-Jew extinguish the fire rather than have him carry the books out. Chayei Adam disagrees and prefers that the non-Jew carry the books out to a karmelis etc. (Salvaging the dead from fire is discussed further on in Chapter 88, paragraph 16.)
מַצִּילִין תִּיק הַסֵּפֶר עִם הַסֵּפֶר, וְתִיק הַתְּפִלִּין עִם הַתְּפִלִּין. You may rescue the book-bag along with the [sacred] book, and the tefillin-bag along with the tefillin.21Even if there is money in the bag you need not shake the money out. [Shulchan Aruch 334: 15] The Vilna Gaon rules that you may place the tefillin inside the money bag in order to salvage the money along with the tefillin. Taz and Magein Avraham disagree. Shulchan Aruch Harav seems to rule that even having already placed the tefillin with the money, the money may not be saved.
סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה קוֹדֵם לְהַצִּיל לִשְׁאָר סְפָרִים. A Seifer Torah should be rescued before other books.
כְּשֶׁיֵּשׁ חֲשַׁשׁ סְפֵק סַכָּנַת נְפָשׁוֹת, מֻתָּר לְכַבּוֹת אֶת הַדְּלֵקָה. וְלָכֵן בִּמְקוֹמוֹת שֶׁהַיִשְׂרְאֵלִים דָּרִים בֵּין הַנָּכְרִים, מֻתָּר לְכַבּוֹת אֶת הַדְּלֵקָה, אֲפִלּוּ הוּא בְּבֵית נָכְרִי, וְהַכֹּל לְפִי הָעִנְיָן. וְדַוְקָא לְכַבּוֹת מֻתָּר. אֲבָל אָסוּר לְחַלֵּל שַׁבָּת כְּדֵי לְהַצִּיל מָמוֹן. וְאִם עָבַר וְחִלֵּל, יֵלֵךְ אֶל הָרַב לְבַקֵּשׁ שֶׁיּוֹרֵהוּ תְּשׁוּבָה. When life is endangered you may extinguish the fire. Therefore, in areas that Jews reside amongst non-Jews, you may extinguish the fire even if it is in a non-Jew's house. It all depends on the circumstances. Only extinguishing is permitted, but it is prohibited to desecrate the Shabbos22Even where a derabanan is involved. [Peri Megadim, Mishnah Berurah 334: 76] to save some valuables. If you violated the law and did desecrate [the Shabbos], you should consult a rabbi to learn the way of repentance.