Eruvin 102

The Mishna at the end of today’s daf (Eruvin 10:13, 102b) informs us that ‘one may tie up a string [that came loose from a harp which is being used to play the songs accompanying the sacrifices] in the Temple, but not in the rest of the country (i.e. it is forbidden to repair musical […]

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Eruvin 101

Much of today’s daf (Eruvin 101) is interested in doors, keys and locks, with Mishna Eruvin 10:9 (101a) focussing its attention on whether it is possible to stand in a reshut harabim (public domain) while picking up, or placing down, the key for a door on a windowsill above the door (which is considered to […]

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Eruvin 100

Today’s daf (Eruvin 100b) contains what I believe to be one of the most enigmatic passages from the entire Talmud:‘Said Rabbi Yochanan: if the Torah had not been given, we could have learned modesty from the cat, [aversion to] robbery from the ant, chastity from the dove, and sexual mores from the rooster.’As Rav Aharon […]

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Eruvin 99

  One of the Mishnayot in today’s daf (Eruvin 10:6, 99b) informs us that someone who is standing in a reshut harabim (public domaim) may use a cup or other vessel to catch water that is falling from a gutter, and it also teaches us that it is permissible to drink water directly from a […]

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Eruvin 98

‘A person may stand in a reshut hayachid (private domain) and move things in a reshut harabim (public domain), or stand in a reshut harabim (public domain) and move things in a reshut hayachid (private domain)’.These are the opening words of Mishna Eruvin (10:4, 98b) which refer to the laws of ‘hotza’ah’ (carrying on Shabbat) […]

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Eruvin 97

The Mishna in today’s daf (Eruvin 10:3, 97b) speaks of someone reading a sacred scroll (i.e. containing biblical verses) in a raised private domain when, suddenly, one end of the scroll fell and rolled into the space of a public domain.According to the Tana Kamma, if the fallen end of the scroll was more than […]

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Eruvin 96

Today’s daf (Eruvin 96a) mentions Michal Bat Shaul who wore tefillin, and Yona’s wife who ascended to Yerushalayim for the Shalosh Regalim, and in each case לא מיחו בה חכמים – the sages did not object. Significantly, there are those who interpret the fact that ‘the sages did not object’ as suggesting that such behaviour […]

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Eruvin 95

The Mishna in today’s daf (Eruvin 10:2, 95b) presents the creative halachic solution of Rabbi Shimon which was seemingly offered in response to a scenario where someone finds a religious article, such as a pair of tefillin, on Shabbat in a public domain where carrying is forbidden. In terms of his solution, Rabbi Shimon ruled […]

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Eruvin 94

Over the past few days of Daf Yomi we have encountered a series of debates between Rav and Shmuel, and we have also spent time considering the halachic status of two courtyards, each with independent Eruvin, where the boundary between them suddenly collapses on Shabbat. Beyond this, one of the issues mentioned in yesterday’s daf […]

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Eruvin 93

Towards the end of today’s daf (Eruvin 93b), Rav Hoshaya raised the question about the case of a large courtyard that is adjacent to a small courtyard, where the boundary between the two was breached on Shabbat. In such an instance, does the fact that there was an established Eruv around both courtyards on Erev […]

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Eruvin 91-92

Yesterday, for the first time in over five months, I did not post a Daf Yomi thought, and this is because I, like so many others around the world, was still in shock having learnt about the death of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks zt’l from whom – both personally, and from his many books – […]

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Eruvin 90

Just as yesterday’s daf contained a debate between Rav and Shmuel about the application of גוד אסיק מחיצתא (i.e. where a partition or wall exists that is at least ten tefachim high, it is considered to virtually extend upwards), today’s daf (Eruvin 90b) contains a further debate between Rav and Shmuel about the application of […]

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Eruvin 89

 In today’s daf (Eruvin 89) we are taught about the fascinating halachic concept of גוד אסיק מחיצתא (‘extend and raise the partition’) such that where a partition or wall exists which is at least ten tefachim high (approx. 90cm), then this partition or wall is considered to extend upwards ad infinitum.Significantly, the concept of גוד […]

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Eruvin 88

 Like the past few pages of Massechet Eruvin, today’s daf (Eruvin 88) spends much of its time discussing the rules of transferring water on Shabbat. However, while prior dapim concerned themselves with drawing water from springs or rivers for the purpose of drinking and other home uses, today’s daf focusses its attention on the practical […]

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Eruvin 87

In today’s daf (Eruvin 87b) we are taught that Rabbi Chananya Ben Akavya – who was a resident of Tiberias – permitted three practices for the people of Tiberias:1) In the case of a balcony which is above a body of water, notwithstanding the position of many other Rabbis (as reflected in Mishna Eruvin 8:8, […]

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Eruvin 86

In today’s daf (Eruvin 86a) we are taught that both Rabbi Akiva and Rebbi would show respect towards those wealthy people who were dedicated to helping the poor by giving tzedakah and performing acts of Chessed.Interestingly, as Rabbi Baruch Shimon Schneerson points out in his ‘Zera Baruch’ (p. 220), both Rabbi Akiva and Rebbi were […]

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Eruvin 85

As part of its ongoing debate examining the halachic position of Rav concerning the use of airspace, today’s daf (Eruvin 85a-b) notes that Rav Nachman quoted Rabbah bar Avuha who himself was quoting Rav that in a situation where there are three ruins between two houses, each house has rights to the airspace over the […]

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Eruvin 84

If I had to identify a Talmudic debate that captures the spirit of Talmudic legal reasoning, it would probably be the first Mishna in Massechet Bava Metziah which examines the claim of ownership of two people who are holding one side of the same Tallit and who are both claiming ‘I found it, and it’s […]

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Eruvin 83

As part of its discussion about the size of a loaf that can be used for an Eruv, today’s daf (Eruvin 83b) examines the law of ‘Challah’ which, in the time of the Beit HaMikdash, was the portion of dough donated on a daily basis (or whenever bread was made) to the Kohen and is […]

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Eruvin 82

To date, much of Massechet Eruvin has been focussed on explaining ‘how’ to construct various forms of Eruvin, while far less attention has been given to consider ‘why’ an Eruv should be constructed – and especially why a communal Eruv Techumin should be established. Yet embedded in the Mishna in today’s daf (Eruvin 8:1, 82a) […]

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Eruvin 81

We have previously noted (see Eruvin 71b and my commentary on that daf) that while various foodstuffs may be used to establish an Eruv Techumin, and while wine can be used for an Eruv in order to merge courtyards (i.e. shitufei mevo’ot), an Eruv Chatzeirot – which binds houses into a collective unit – is […]

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Eruvin 80

In today’s daf (Eruvin 80a) we are told how Rabbi Chiya rendered a controversial halachic ruling where he forbade the use of an Eruv established by a mother-in-law for her daughter-in-law.At the time, there was much debate in the academy as his students and rabbinic peers struggled to understand the halachic logic that Rabbi Chiya […]

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Eruvin 79

Towards the end of todays’ daf (Eruvin 79b) we are taught three rulings from the Elders of Pumbedita – whom we are told in Sanhedrin 17b were Rav Yehuda and Rav Eina, and whom we are told in Chagigah 13b were proficient in understanding the mystical teachings about creation known as ‘Maaseh Bereishit’. However, in […]

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Eruvin 78

Today’s daf (Eruvin 78b) continues its discussion of walls that divide courtyards, and how the access provided by a ladder to a tall window in such a wall can – along with the sharing of an Eruv Chatzeirot – enable the two courtyards to combine. With this in mind, Rav Yosef to Rabbah asks עשאו […]

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Eruvin 77

Today’s daf (Eruvin 77b) contrasts two types of ladders and their respective efficacy in terms of ‘reducing the height’ of a wall – as defined by the ease with which someone can ascend to a specific height of that wall.We are told that the Egyptian ladder (סולם מצרי) – which is an easy to carry […]

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Eruvin 76

  The Mishna in today’s daf (Eruvin 7:1, 76a) discusses the status of a wall containing a window that divides between two courtyards. We are told that if the window is at least 4×4 tefachim (approx. 36cm square) and is located in the wall such that even just a small part of the window is […]

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Eruvin 75

 The Mishna (Eruvin 6:9-10, 75a) in today’s daf examines the interrelationship of two courtyards, A & B, such that to reach courtyard B you must walk through courtyard A.The problem arises when the residents of courtyard A arrange an Eruv, while the residents of courtyard B do not. This is because, by virtue of their […]

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Eruvin 74

 In his interpretation of Mishna Eruvin (6:8, 73a), Rav explains that a מבוי (an alleyway adjoining a public domain) can only be transformed into a private domain by use of a לחי (a sidepost) or קורה (cross-beam) at its entrance, if houses and courtyards open onto the מבוי.However, we are told in today’s daf (Eruvin […]

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Eruvin 73

‘Baruch Shekivanti!’ (which loosely translates as ‘Thank you G-d for directing me [to the same conclusion as someone far greater than me in Torah knowledge and Torah understanding]’) is a phrase that people exclaim when they discover that an insight or interpretation which they have independently reached matches that of someone of a far higher […]

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Eruvin 72

While addressing the need to establish an Eruv by independent householders, the Mishna in today’s daf (Eruvin 6:7, 72b) speaks of a situation of ‘brothers who eat at their father’s table (אוכלין על שולחן אביהם), but sleep in their own homes’. Though the commentaries debate what precisely is being described here, most agree that this […]

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Eruvin 71

Today’s daf (Eruvin 71b) informs us that while various foodstuffs may be used to establish an Eruv Techumin, and while wine can be used for an Eruv in order to merge courtyards (i.e. shitufei mevo’ot), an Eruv Chatzeirot – which binds houses into a collective unit – is only made from bread. Of course, it […]

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Eruvin 70

Over the past few dapim we’ve been discussing the concept of ‘Bittul Reshut’, meaning ‘renouncing rights to a domain’, which is a halachic solution to a situation where some of the residents of a courtyard joined to make an Eruv [Chatzeirot] before Shabbat. In such a case, a resident who had not joined in with […]

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Eruvin 69

Today’s daf (Eruvin 69) contains a fascinating halachic discussion about core Jewish beliefs and practices, and it is here where we encounter the ruling of Rav Huna that someone who publicly desecrates Shabbat is to be categorized as a ‘mumar’ (apostate). In fact, as Rav Ashi then proceeds t explain, given the centrality of Shabbat […]

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Eruvin 68

Today’s daf (Eruvin 68a) includes a fascinating ruling relating to Hilchot Shabbat, medical needs and mental health.The case begins by telling us that, on a Shabbat, the hot water that was needed to bathe a baby before and after his brit milah had unfortunately spilled.Given this, Rava instructed: “let us ask his mother [who is […]

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Eruvin 67

At the end of today’s daf (Eruvin 67b) we are taught a fascinating principle – originally formulated by Rav Yehuda – relating to halachic authority and the halachic process. Specifically, in a situation where a decision has been rendered by a Sage relating to a biblical law which their students don’t feel is correct, then […]

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Eruvin 66

 Today’s daf (Eruvin 66) explores two possible halachic models relating to the establishment of an Eruv by Jewish tenants who are renting property owned by a non-Jew. According to one model, שוכר במערב דמי – ‘renting is similar to making an Eruv’, while the other model suggests that שוכר כמבטל רשות דמי – ‘renting is […]

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Eruvin 65

Today’s daf (Eruvin 65a) contains a teaching which – if taken at face value – would likely provide a justification for almost all of us to almost never pray:‘Rav Chiya Bar Ashi said in the name of Rav: Whoever lacks a settled mind should not pray, as we have been told, “when a person is […]

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Eruvin 64

Today’s daf (Eruvin 64a) makes reference to an oft-quoted (yet oft-misunderstood) teaching of Mari bar Rav Huna which informs us that ‘a person should only take leave of their friend while engaged in a discussion of [practical] halacha – for by doing so, each will remember the other [on every occasion that they study or […]

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Eruvin 63

Today’s daf (Eruvin 63b) contains a crucial insight into how to maintain a healthy marital relationship and it is a source that I have referenced every time I have taught Chatanim (grooms) and guided prospective and married couples.The Gemara begins with a statement of Rav Bruna quoting Rav who taught: ‘Someone who sleeps in the […]

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Eruvin 62

Much of today’s daf (Eruvin 62) is dedicated to explaining the halachic position of Rabbi Eliezer Ben Yaakov as stated in the previous Mishna (Eruvin 6:1, 61b), and towards the end of the daf we are taught three different views concerning the halachic legitimacy of this position and its usage in practical halacha.According to Rabbi […]

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Eruvin 61

Eruvin 61 contains two debates which – though discussing very different laws – each address how the residence of others in a place where we symbolically or physically live can affect us. The first case presented in the Mishna (Eruvin 5:8-9, 61a) concerns the point from where we measure the 2,000 amot of the techum […]

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Eruvin 60

In yesterday’s Mishna (Eruvin 5:6, 59a) we were taught that in order to construct an Eruv for a town that was previously publicly owned which then became privately owned, a small section of the town had to be left outside of the Eruv.In theory such a demand sounds simple to achieve, but as today’s daf […]

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Eruvin 59

The Mishna in today’s daf (Eruvin 5:6, 59a) discusses the case of towns that change ownership from public to private or vice versa, and whether Eruvin need to be reconfigured in response to such changes: ‘[In the case of] a town belonging to an individual that subsequently became owned by many people, one Eruv can […]

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Eruvin 58

Having been taught in yesterday’s daf that the techum Shabbat may only be measured with a 50-amah rope, today’s daf (Eruvin 58a) cites a teaching of Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Chananya stating that ‘there is nothing more suited for measuring than iron chains.’ As the commentaries explain, this means that in contrast to rope which stretches […]

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Eruvin 57

Having provided a series of detailed measurements relating to spaces that surround or that separate different towns, the Mishna at the end of today’s daf (Eruvin 5:4, 57b) informs us of the method required to measure the 2,000 amot of the techum Shabbat (Shabbat boundary):‘We may only measure with a 50-amah (approx. 25 metre) rope, […]

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Eruvin 56

Today’s daf (Eruvin 56b) returns back to a theme previously referenced in Eruvin 51a, where biblical support for the 2,000 amot Shabbat limit is derived from the Arei Miklat (Cities of Refuge) – about which we are told (in Bemidbar 35:5) that each was surrounded by a non-residential border of 2,000 amot.Before proceeding, it should […]

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Eruvin 55

Today’s daf (Eruvin 55a) begins with three different interpretations to Devarim 30:12-13 which states that, ‘[This mitzvah that I am prescribing to you today is not too mysterious or remote from you]. It is not in heaven, so [that you should] say, “Who shall go up to heaven and bring it to us so that […]

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Eruvin 54

There are times in our lives when all we need to do is to truly listen – with our hearts – to the messages being shared by sincere, passionate and growth-oriented people, and to put those messages into practice. And in my thought on today’s daf (Eruvin 54a) I’d like to tell a story about […]

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Eruvin 53

Today’s daf (Eruvin 53) is rich with insights and examples about what can be learnt from those who are thoughtful and precise with their words, and how a failure to communicate ideas with precision can lead to missed opportunities and misunderstanding. Interestingly, this topic is stimulated by a debate between Rav and Shmuel about whether […]

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Eruvin 52

As we know, one of the most revered prayer services throughout the Jewish year is Kol Nidrei, which is a prayer that annuls the vows that we make with God. As numerous scholars have explained, Kol Nidrei has its origins in the forced conversions of Spanish Jews, with the prayer being a plea to God […]

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Eruvin 51

In attempting to provide a biblical support for the rabbinic concept of the 2,000 amot Shabbat limit, today’s daf (Eruvin 51a) contains a fascinating Gezeira Shava (word association) ‘chain’ and an even more fascinating association between two seemingly disconnected areas of Jewish law.We are first told that an allusion to the 2,000 amot rule is […]

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Eruvin 50

[As this is the first year when part of my Motzei Yom Kippur activities includes learning and writing a short thought on the Daf, I wanted to begin this thought by thanking all of you who read and respond to these daily thoughts, and by wishing you all a healthy, happy and blessed new year]. […]

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Eruvin 49

The Mishna in today’s daf (4:7, 49b) describes someone who is travelling on Friday afternoon and who, notwithstanding their best efforts, is unable to make it home for Shabbat. However, as I explained with reference to an earlier Mishna (Eruvin 4:4, 45a), dispensation is given to a traveller to designate a symbolic residence for themselves […]

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Eruvin 48

Today’s daf (Eruvin 48a) begins by quoting a Beraita taught by Rabbi Chiya stating that where a water-filled ditch separates between the Shabbat boundary of two towns, an iron partition must be placed in the water in order to divide the water of one town and that of the other so that residents of both […]

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Eruvin 47

Jewish law prohibits a Kohen from having contact with the dead (see Vayikra Ch. 21), and consequently, a Kohen may not enter a בית הקברות – a cemetery – with the exception of burying a close relative. Significantly, this is a biblical prohibition. However, as we are taught in the Mishna (Ohalot 17:1), if a […]

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Eruvin 46

  When laypeople, Torah scholars and rabbis discuss concepts of halacha (Jewish law), they invoke various halachic principles in order to help understand and determine a particular halacha. In particular, one of the most oft-cited halachic principles in such conversations is יחיד ורבים הלכה כרבים, meaning ‘where there is a disagreement between a single Torah […]

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Eruvin 45

In today’s daf we are taught in a Mishna (Eruvin 4:4, 45a) that a traveler may designate a symbolic residence for themselves (e.g. a nearby city) for Shabbat which can be up to 2,000 amot from where they are presently located, without having physically visited this place before Shabbat, and without having placed an Eruv […]

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Eruvin 44

Towards the end of yesterday’s daf (Eruvin 43b), an innovative halachic solution was offered in response to a situation where someone had veered beyond their ‘techum shabbat’ and was now limited to his immediate 4-amot radius. Having heard about this situation, Rabbi Nachman suggested that a group of people surround this person – thereby creating […]

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Eruvin 43

In today’s daf (Eruvin 43b), reference is made to the timing and the coming of Moshiach (the Messiah), and as the Gemara explains, we learn from Malachi 3:23 that this great and awesome day will be preceded by the arrival of the prophet Eliyahu (Elijah) whose task it will be to inform and inspire us […]

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Eruvin 41-42

Shana Tova! In April of this year, while reflecting on the severe impact of the Coronavirus pandemic as well as the oft-used remark that “We are all in the same boat …”, Damian Barr wrote on his twitter feed that, “We are not all in the same boat. We are all in the same storm. […]

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Eruvin 40

As many of you will know, I have a particular affinity with the Shehecheyanu bracha and that I am writing a book on the subject (which I’d love to complete and publish in the coming year!). And one of the reasons why I have immersed myself into understanding the Shehecheyanu bracha is because – like […]

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Eruvin 39

Nowadays, Rosh Hashanah is celebrated both in Israel and the Diaspora as a two-day festival. However, it is noteworthy that the Torah mandates only one day of Rosh Hashanah (see Vayikra 23:24). We understand why Rosh Hashanah is celebrated for two days in the Diaspora, like other Yamim Tovim, because when the calendar was determined […]

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Eruvin 38

Given that the concept of an Eruv is to establish a symbolic home, the Rabbis were insistent that for any given Shabbat or Yom Tov period, a person can only have one symbolic home which means that they may only establish a single Eruv in a single place. The question raised in the Mishna (Eruvin […]

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Eruvin 37

Today’s daf (Eruvin 37) is tricky to follow. Having previously been taught in the Mishna (Eruvin 3:5, 36b) about the concept of ברירה (literally, ‘selection’, but referring to the retroactive designation of an Eruv in response to events that have yet to occur eg. ‘if this thing happens, then this Eruv shall be valid’), the […]

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Eruvin 36

We often forget that there is a big difference between something that is technically available, and something that is practically and easily accessible.In today’s daf (Eruvin 36a) we are told of a case of two terumah loaves, of which one is ‘tahor’ (pure) and may be eaten, the other is ‘tamei’ (impure) and may not […]

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Eruvin 35

In attempting to make sense of the Mishna in today’s daf (Eruvin 3:4, 35a), we are informed that Rabbi Meir concurs with the opinion of his teacher Rabbi Akiva that the laws of techumin (forbidding someone from walking more than 2,000 amot on Shabbat) are a DeOraita (i.e. they are directly derived from the Torah […]

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Eruvin 34

The Mishna in today’s daf (Eruvin 3:3, 34b) discusses the question of whether we may rely on an Eruv (Chatzeirot) which cannot be accessed in the Bein Hashmashot period of Erev Shabbat because – for example – the Eruv is locked in a box or building that cannot be opened.As Rabbi Gil Student explains in […]

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Eruvin 33

Today’s daf (Eruvin 33) discusses the status of an Eruv which has been placed or hung on a tree, and while doing so, it also teaches us an important lesson about inclusion and access. As previously taught in the Mishna (Eruvin 3:3, 32b), if an Eruv is placed on a tree above ten tefachim (approx. […]

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Eruvin 32

On a number of occasions in today’s daf (Eruvin 32a-b) reference is made to a חבר (chaver) which, though generally translated as ‘friend’, actually refers to someone who is very meticulous in their mitzvah observance and who is מחובר (deeply ‘connected’) to the observance of halacha.In particular, the Gemara records a disagreement between Rebbi and […]

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Eruvin 31

Towards the end of today’s daf (Eruvin 31b), while discussing the extent to which various people can be relied upon to deposit an Eruv Techumin in the right location, we are introduced to the fascinating halachic principle of חזקה שליח עושה שליחותו – meaning, ‘it is presumed that an agent will perform their agency’.What this […]

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Eruvin 30

  As previously mentioned, an Eruv Techumin allows someone to walk beyond 2,000 amot from the boundaries of a town or city on Shabbat by establishing a symbolic home – known as an ‘Eruv Techumin’ but which is often simply referred to as an ‘Eruv’ – within those 2,000 amot, which thereby enables them to […]

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Eruvin 29

In general, I only comment on passages in the Gemara whose meaning I believe I have grasped at least on a basic level. However, once in a while I encounter a passage whose basic meaning eludes me, but which nevertheless still speaks to me. A case in point is today’s daf (Eruvin 29a) where, having […]

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Eruvin 28

Today’s daf (Eruvin 28b) informs us that when Rabbi Zeira felt weak from his Torah studies, he would go and sit at the entrance to Rav Yehuda bar Ami’s Beit Midrash in order to show honour to the Torah scholars who were going in and out of the Beit Midrash. Significantly, this is not the […]

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Eruvin 27

Much of today’s daf (Eruvin 27a) is focused on exploring Rabbi Yochanan’s principle of אין למדים מן הכללות ואפילו במקום שנאמר בו ”חוץ”, which means that ‘we cannot deduce laws from general rules [stated in the Mishna], even when those general rules seem to be very specific by stating specific exceptions to those rules’. Significantly, […]

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Eruvin 26

One of my all-time favourite movies is ‘The Shawshank Redemption’. However, what many people don’t realise is that while ‘Shawshank’ tells a series of powerful stories about prisoners, Shawshank is a profound philosophical debate about the concept of ‘Hope’. While ‘Red’ – having been in prison for many years – had come to believe that […]

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Eruvin 25

Today’s daf (Eruvin 25a) makes reference to various acts used to halachically ‘shotgun’ (i.e. claim rights and acquire) an ownerless field (i.e. what is known as a קנין חזקה), with the general rule of thumb being that an action performed by someone to improve a field enables someone to acquire the field.   With this […]

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Eruvin 24

I have an admission to make which is that I love watching TV shows – like the British DIY SOS – where a house in need of significant improvements and which is not meeting the physical needs of its inhabitants is overhauled by a team of professionals over a short period of time.It is hard […]

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Eruvin 23

The Mishna in today’s daf (2:5, Eruvin 23a) discusses a garden or what is known as a קרפף – an enclosed non-residential space which, despite it being an enclosed and therefore a private domain according to biblical law, was categorized by the Rabbis as being a כרמלית (a semi public/private area) – thereby forbidding carrying […]

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Eruvin 22

Today’s daf (Eruvin 22a) contains a Mishna (2:4) wherein Rabbi Yehuda and the Chachamim (Sages) debate whether the unique private enclosure created by affixing four right-angled posts – known as פסי ביראות – around a public well to enable pilgrims to feed their animals as they journeyed to and from Jerusalem, is halachically undermined if […]

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Eruvin 21

In contrast to the various detailed discussions about the finite physical boundaries of different types of Eruvin, today’s daf (Eruvin 21a) includes an exquisite teaching – quoted by Rav Chisda in the name of Mari bar Mar – about the sheer vastness of Torah.The teaching begins by citing a verse from Tehillim 119:96 stating, “I […]

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Eruvin 20

We were previously taught in the Mishna (Eruvin 2:2, 17b) about the enclosure created by affixing four right-angled posts around a public well to enable pilgrims to feed their animals as they journeyed to and from Jerusalem, and as the Mishna explained, this enclosure had to be sufficiently large to enable the head and most […]

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Eruvin 19

There are times when the Halachic and Aggadic masters of the Gemara teach ideas and laws that are clearly understandable, while there are other times when we encounter veiled and cryptic teachings which we – as the learner – are then invited to explore what their possible meanings may be.A good example of this is […]

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Eruvin 18

Among the many fascinating lessons found in today’s daf (Eruvin 18b) are a series of teachings from Rabbi Yirmiyah Ben Elazar – one of which I had known for quite some time, but until today, had completely misunderstood.This specific teaching – which, it should be noted, is regularly referenced when introducing a guest of honour […]

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Eruvin 17

Like most people, one of my greatest fears is being alone and in need of assistance – yet when I call out to others to come and help me, they do not hear me and they do not come.I mention this in connection to today’s daf (Eruvin 17a) where we are taught in a Beraita […]

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Eruvin 16

Much of today’s daf (Eruvin 16a-b) discusses the various ways in which partitions (מחיצות) can be constructed to create halachic boundaries and to thereby enable carrying on Shabbat.Having already discussed a variety of such examples, our Gemara cites a Tosefta from Massechet Kilayim (4:2-3) which categorises the various different halachic partitions into three groups – […]

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Eruvin 15

Much of today’s daf (Eruvin 15a) addresses a disagreement between Abaye and Rava concerning a לחי (sidepost) found at the side of a מבוי (an alleyway coming off a public domain and leading to a residential area) which was not initially placed there to halachically function as a לחי. According to Abaye, הוי לחי – […]

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Eruvin 14

There is a fascinating contrast found in today’s daf (Eruvin 14a-b) which speaks volumes about a tension within – as well as the ingredients of – the halachic system. For almost all of today’s daf we are taught about the halachically required physical properties of a קורה (crossbeam) – such as how wide it must […]

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Eruvin 13

While there are certain dapim (pages) in the Gemara that, on first glance, seemingly contain a variety of disjointed themes, it is often the case that, upon closer examination, a unifying theme is found that connects the many different teachings and incidents being discussed.A case in point is today’s daf (Eruvin 13a-b) which begins by […]

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Eruvin 12

Today’s daf (Eruvin 12a) tells us about an incident that occurred in a shepherds’ village, where an inlet of the sea breached the outer wall of the courtyard (חצר) of the village leaving that side of the courtyard entirely open to the sea which meant that the residents of the village would no longer be […]

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Eruvin 11

Today’s daf (Eruvin 11a-b) discusses the צורת הפתח (‘a form of a doorway’ – consisting of two vertical sideposts [לחי], on which sits a horizontal beam, pole or twine [קורה], to create ‘a form of a doorway’) which operates as a substantive halachic boundary such that an opening with a צורת הפתח is considered to […]

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Eruvin 10

 We have previously discussed how a קורה (crossbeam) or a לחי (sidepost) placed at the entrace of a מבוי enable carrying in the מבוי. However, as should be clear from the ongoing Talmudic discussion, while a קורה and a לחי must have certain physical properties, their function is primarily symbolic, and thus the first teaching […]

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Eruvin 9

In addition to my belief that rich Jewish values can be found in nuanced halachic details, I also believe that halachic writings are deeply spiritual texts which are even, on occasion, profoundly poetic – and a case in point is an exquisite phrase found twice in today’s daf (Eruvin 9a).In terms of the nuanced halachic […]

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Eruvin 8

One of the great fascinations of the Rabbis of the Talmud were threshholds and boundaries in space and time, and in today’s daf (Eruvin 8b) we encounter a lengthy discussion about the liminal space immediately below a קורה (crossbeam) at the entrance of a מבוי (an alleyway coming off a public domain and leading to […]

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Eruvin 7

Yesterday, in the Torah reading of Parshat Re’eh (Devarim 13:15), we encountered a fascinating phrase which appears once again in the Torah reading of Parshat Shoftim (Devarim 17:4) that we will be reading next Shabbat.In both instances, the verses are describing the task of a judge to verify a matter of legal weight, and in […]

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Eruvin 6

Today’s daf (Eruvin 6a-b) is one of the most fundamental throughout Massechet Eruvin in outlining the principles and details necessary for the contemporary eruvin that surround various cities around the world:“Our Rabbis taught [in a Beraita]: How do we create an eruv [and therefore halachically privatise] a street of the public domain (רשות הרבים)? [The […]

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Eruvin 5

We have previously explained that a קורה (cross-beam) can be placed across the entrance of a מבוי (an alleyway adjoining a public domain and leading to a residential area which, though an area where carrying is permitted on Shabbat according to biblical law, was decided by our rabbis to be an area where carrying is […]

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Eruvin 4

Kohelet 4:12 famously states that ‘a three- stranded cord will not quickly be broken’ – which is understood to teach us that a three-stranded cord has a level of strength far exceeding a single or two-stranded cord.However, in todays daf (Eruvin 4b) we seem to encounter a quite different message. While we are told that […]

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Eruvin 3

In yesterday’s daf (Eruvin 2a) we contrasted the law of the מבוי with the law of the Sukkah, and in today’s daf (Eruvin 3a) we continue this discussion and are taught by Rabbah that while a קורה crossbeam (which bridges and thereby ‘closes’ the opening of a מבוי to a public domain) that is positioned […]

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Eruvin 2

The opening line of the first Mishna of Massechet Eruvin (Eruvin 1:1, 2a) informs us that an קורה (cross-beam), which has been placed across the entrance of a מבוי (an alleyway coming off a public domain and leading to a residential area) to permit carrying in that area at a height greater than 20 amot […]

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