For the week ending 8 June 2013 / 29 Sivan 5773

Eiruvin 93 - 99

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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  • When a barrier makes things tougher
  • Adjoining backyards of varying sizes
  • Combining elevated earth and a fence to create a wall between courtyards
  • The wall between courtyards which fell and the opening which became closed
  • Status of the courtyard which became open to the reshut harabim (public domain) during the weekdays or on Shabbat
  • Roof edge serving as wall
  • Carrying under the bridge
  • Tefillin found in the field on Shabbat
  • Is there a mitzvah of tefilin on Shabbat?
  • Women performing mitzvot in which they are not obligated
  • Determining the kashrut of found tzitzit and tefillin and checking of tefillin from a non-expert
  • Rescuing tefillin found in the field and the baby born there
  • Carrying water beyond the techum limit
  • The sacred scroll that rolled into the street
  • Status of shelf protruding from wall of house into the street
  • Standing in one domain and performing activity in another
  • Water dripping from drain and cistern or garbage pile in the street

Rescuing Tefillin on Shabbat

  • Eiruvin 97

If someone finds tefillin boxes in a field outside the city on Shabbat, he must make an effort to rescue them from being disgraced without violating the prohibition of carrying on Shabbat. A few different scenarios are described in the mishna at the beginning of this perek.

  1. If the boxes have the proper knots and can therefore be assumed to be kosher tefillin and not some charm, the finder must put them on his arm and head and thus bring pair after pair into the safety of the city. Wearing the tefillin in this way is not considered carrying.
  2. If there are too many pairs of tefillin for him to be able to complete this rescue effort before the end of Shabbat and he will have to come back after Shabbat, he should remain at the site of the tefillin until Shabbat is over and then carry all of the pairs to the city in regular fashion.
  3. If he is afraid to wear the tefillin as prescribed in the first case because the government has banned the performance of the mitzvah of tefillin, he must cover the tefillin to prevent them from lying in disgrace and he can then leave them there and go home.
  4. If he is afraid to remain guarding the tefillin until Shabbat is over as prescribed in the second case because bandits may attack him at night in this lonely spot, he must then make an effort to transport them to safety in a manner which does not constitute a violation of Torah Law. Two options are available:
    1. The tana kama (first Sage) in the mishna states that he should carry them by making a full stop before he has moved four amot and then continue in that pattern of stopping and starting. Since carrying in the public domain is forbidden by Torah Law only if one carries the distance of four amot between his start and stop, he is violating only the rabbinical restriction on carrying even a shorter distance, a restriction which is waived in order to rescue the tefillin.
    2. Rabbi Shimon suggests a different solution. The finder must try to organize a human chain with each member handing the tefillin to the other until they reach their destination without anyone carrying them the distance banned by Torah Law.

What is the logic behind each of these solutions?

The first opinion favors the finder doing the job by himself in order to avoid the involvement of many people and a public scene which violates the spirit of the Shabbat. Rabbi Shimon, on the other hand, hesitates to recommend a single person starting and stopping for fear that he may forget to make the stop in time and will be guilty of violating Torah Law.

What the Sages Say

“Lest we assume that there is a mitzvah of tefillin on Shabbat and Holidays, we are taught by the Torah that ‘It shall be a sign upon your arm.’ (Shmot 13:9) We need a sign (to demonstrate the bond we have with G-d’s Torah) on regular days but not on days which are themselves signs (of the bond between G-d and His people).”

  • Rabbi Akiva - Eiruvin 96a

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