Talmud Tips

For the week ending 8 June 2013 / 29 Sivan 5773

Eruvin 93 - 99

by Rabbi Moshe Newman
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“Rav turned his face away from Shmuel.”

Why did Rav act in this manner which appears to display a lack of honor for the Sage Shmuel? The gemara on our daf relates dissenting opinions of Rav and Shmuel regarding carrying in courtyards when a wall that divided them fell down on Shabbat, thereby forming one joint courtyard. Shmuel is lenient and Rav is strict. The gemara relates an actual case that occurred while Rav and Shmuel were present in this exact scenario where the wall fell on Shabbat between two courtyards. Shmuel ruled leniently in accordance with his view, whereas Rav turned away and faced away from Shmuel.

The gemara asks why Rav didn’t just say that he disagreed with Shmuel’s ruling? The answer given by the gemara is that “it was the place of Shmuel” — Shmuel was the rav of that city and it would be inappropriate for Rav to issue his dissenting ruling. If so, why did Rav turn away? To hint that he did not agree with Shmuel’s ruling. By turning away he politely communicated his disagreement, to insure that people would not mistakenly say that Rav agreed with Shmuel’s psak.

  • Eruvin 94a

“Rabbi Akiva said that one might say that tefillin is a mitzvah on Shabbat and Yom Tov; however the Torah states, ‘it (tefillin) is an sign for you on your arm (Shemot 13:9)’ — meaning that the mitzvah of tefillin is for days which require a ‘sign’, which excludes Shabbat and Yom which are already ‘signs’ themselves.”

Rashi explains that the idea of having a “sign” is that we should show recognition of our dedication to uphold and fulfill the Torah. During weekdays tefillin serves as this sign. However, Shabbat and Yom Tov days are themselves a sign of this commitment — “because it is a sign between Me and between you” (Shemot 31:13) — and no additional sign is needed.

  • Eruvin 96a

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