Talmud Tips

For the week ending 20 April 2013 / 9 Iyyar 5773

Eruvin 44 - 50

by Rabbi Moshe Newman
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“A person might not merit to be able to learn Torah from every teacher.”

This is the reasoning given by Rabbi Yossi in a beraita on our daf for permitting a kohen to do something normally forbidden to him. In general, a kohen may not pass through a beit hapras – a cemetery-like field that has the status of tumah according to Rabbinical law. However, to learn Torah from a teacher in a foreign land the kohen may traverse this field even if there exists a Torah teacher in his own locale.

A person may learn Torah better from one rabbi teacher than from others, if his teacher’s Torah knowledge is more organized, clear and taught in a concise manner (Rashi). This “edge” is reason to permit the otherwise forbidden action of the kohen according to Rabbi Yossi. Although Rabbi Yehuda disagrees and does not permit the kohen to travel through a beit hapras if a Torah teacher is present in his own location, the halacha is according to Rabbi Yossi (Shulchan Aruch Yorah De’ah 372:1).

  • Eruvin 47 a-b

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, wrote Shakespeare. This shows the lack of meaning and significance of the object’s name. When Chazal coined a name for an item, however, it carries great meaning and significance – including halachic ramifications.

An “Eruv” for a courtyard is needed to allow all the people who dwell in the courtyard to carry from their homes into the courtyard and back. This is accomplished by the mitzvah of each household placing a loaf of bread in one of the homes, which indicates that they are in a sense all partners in that one dwelling and therefore the yard is the domain that belongs to that common dwelling.

What happens if one person agrees to place his loaf in that home, but will not allow anyone from another home to eat it? Rav Yehuda says in the name of Shmuel in our gemara that his “Eruv” loaf does not help fulfill the mitzvah and permit carrying into the yard.

This is due to an examination of the meaning of the word “Eruv”. The word “Eruv” means “mixture”, which signifies that the domains of the various tenants are considered mixed together and combined. The word “Eruv” also means “sweet and pleasant”. A person who is unwilling to share his food with his neighbors is not deemed as sharing the same home with them, and is not living with them as partners in a pleasant and sweet manner (Rashi).

  • Eruvin 49b

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