Eruvin 84 – 90

Eruvin 84: Child’s Play

This daf discusses when one may carry on a roof.

Without an eruv, many complications can arise every single Shabbos. One talmid chochom recalled his fascination with playing ball as a child. He had often played kickball on Shabbos in a fenced-in backyard. When the ball had landed on the roof of the first story of the building, he had been the one to climb up and retrieve it. The roof was easily accessible from the window of the second story. He had gone into the building, climbed to the second story, crawled out the window and thrown the ball down.

This had come back to him many years later when he learned the halachos of eruvin. He wondered if he had been permitted to carry or throw the ball more than four amos on the roof as he had often done. Had he violated a rabbinic prohibition every Shabbos? After all, the mechitzah of the house or garden presumably did not help for the roof, which was flat and certainly jutted out more than three tefachim from the walls below.

When he asked Rav Yaakov Blau zt”l about this situation, Rav Blau ruled that it was permitted to carry on such a roof. “Nowadays, there are many roofs without mechitzos on which one may not carry on Shabbos. But the case you describe is an exception to this rule. The reason we are lenient here is because of the window. A window renders the roof tzidei reshus hayochid, a kind of reshus hayochid – in this case, the house. It is therefore permitted to carry on the roof without an eruv” (Nesivos HaShabbos, p. 15, note 34).

 

Eruvin 85: Breaking with Custom

Naming a child is a serious matter in many families. Sometimes, parents fight over whom a baby will be named after. The Sefer Chassidim writes that Jews are careful not to name after someone who is still alive.

Although the Chidah clearly holds that a child shouldn’t be named after his living parent, other Sefardic sources suggest that parents should name their children after themselves. In the words of the Sefer Habris, “It is the established custom among Sefardim to call a child after his father’s name in his lifetime. This is a segulah for the parent to live long.”

Rav Yehudah Hakohein Vistinetzky zt”l pointed out that the Sefer Chassidim seems somewhat perplexing at first. “It is clear in the Gemara in several places that people did name their children after themselves. For example, in Eruvin 85 we find a reference to Bonius ben Bonius. It is clear from thisGemara that the elder Bonius was still alive; obviously he called his son after himself. There are many other examples.”

 The Maharsham explains that the many cases do not contradict the Sefer Chassidim. “The potential problem with calling a child after his father is only because people are makpid, as the Sefer Chassidim writes. In earlier times, they were not makpid.”

The Nesivos actually bore his father’s name. How did this come about?

Rav Yaakov, the father of the Nesivos, was known for his amazing hasmadah. He never wasted an instant from learning. During the bris of his son, he was working out a difficult question – as was his wont – when the mohel asked him for a name for the boy. He got confused and said, “Yaakov.”

The mohel then gave the baby this name despite his father also being called Yaakov.

Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein adds. “Apparently, his father did not bother changing the name, despite the deviation from normal custom. Every time they called the boy to the Torah, it would generate a huge kiddush Hashem by reminding everyone just how important it is to always be focused on learning!” (Sefer Chassidim #460;Bris Olam and Hagahos Mariya,ad loc; Tuvcha Yabiu, Part I, p. 39).

 

Eruvin 86: Honoring the Wealthy

Once, Rav Yochanan of Rachmastrivka was confronted by a person with a grievance. “The wealthy man who employed me until now has fired me and I have no livelihood.”

When the wealthy man – also a chossid of the rebbe – visited the rebbe, he asked him about this. The wealthy man began to explain himself, but the rebbe was having none of it. “You must reinstate him to his old position,” said the rebbe.

The wealthy man again tried to explain why he had removed the man from his position, but the rebbe rejected it completely. “If you do not take him back, you are a rasha! I must ask you to leave. The Gemara in Maseches Megillah tells us not to even look in the face of a rasha.”

“But don’t we find in Eruvin 86 that Rebbi was mechabeid the wealthy?”

“You misunderstood the Gemara. It doesn’t mean that Rebbi honored all wealthy people. Although mechabeid means honored, it also means swept away, as in kibbud habayis, cleansing the house of dirt. If a wealthy man acted properly, Rebbi honored him. If not, he swept him out of his presence” (Me’orei Ohr,p. 196).

 

Eruvin 87: The Nature of Teveria

In Megillah 6 we find that Teveria was called Rekes because even the reikim, the emptiest ones, of this city are filled with mitzvos like a pomegranate is filled with seeds.

The Chidah explains one reason why only Teveria is mentioned in this regard. “Perhaps their specialness stemmed from their practice to accept Shabbos while it was still day, as we find in Shabbos 118. In the merit of keeping Shabbos so carefully, they became filled with mitzvos like a pomegranate. It is plausible that this is one reason why the Shechinah and the great bais din will first return to Teveria. This was the last place to which the Sanhedrin was exiled and it will be the first place to where they return before being restored to the third Bais Hamikdosh. All of this in the merit of keeping Shabbos meticulously.”

The Tavur Ha’aretz brings this Chidah and adds, “It emerges from Eruvin 87 that the people of Teveria were baalei melachah, they worked for a living, which our sages say is greater than yiras Shomayim.”

The Sha’ar Hachatzer adds another dimension to the greatness of Teveria: “The uniqueness of Teveria is due to the well of Miriam which resides in its midst. We know that when the Arizal first began teaching Rav Chaim Vital Kabbolah, he would forget everything they learned. One day, the Arizal took his student to Teveria and gave him a drink from the well of Miriam. From that time, Rav Chaim Vital began to remember and delve into the depths of Kabbolah.”

The Tavur Ha’aretz brings this and adds, “This is another possible reason why even the empty ones of Teveria are filled with mitzvos like a pomegranate. They drink from the Kinneret, which contains the well of Miriam. This purifies their bodies and they seek to fulfill mitzvos and are filled with them” (Pesach Einayim, Megillah 6; Tavur Ha’aretz Part I, #1; Sha’ar Hechatzer, #281).

 

Eruvin 88: Cleanliness is Next to…

The Klolei Torah learns a practical lesson from this daf. “In Eruvin 88 we find that every person uses two se’ah of water every day. This adds up to an astonishing amount of water – 48 lug. Even if you add what one uses for his face, hands and feet and what one cooks his food with, this still leaves an astonishing amount of water. This teaches us the importance of being clean in everything one does. Clearly, they were careful to wash often, as Rav Pinchos ben Yair famously says, ‘cleanlinessleads to prishus.’”

In the words of Rav Yaakov Emden, “When the Tanna discusses nekius here, he also means personal hygiene and clean garments. As Shmuel says in Nedorim 81, failure to clean one’s body or garments can cause madness. A person who is careful about his soul’s cleanliness will surely be circumspect regarding his garments and body, which are the tools used by his soul. It shows seichel for a wise person to keep clean” (Klolei Torah, “Odom,” #9; Yaavetz on Rav Pinchos ben Yair in Avodah Zara 20).

 

Eruvin 89:  Changing the Airspace

Many roofs today do not have a ma’akeh. When someone asked Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv zt”l if a roof one only goes on to to fix his solar water heater or the like required a ma’akeh, he ruled that it did not.

There is an intriguing application of an important principle regarding halachic mechitzos. “Gud asik” means that walls are viewed as if they continue to extend above their actual height. On a roof, for example, it is as if the walls continue to extend and the roof is walled in.

Practically speaking, one would have thought that this principle changes the status of any roof of a building or room, but when someone asked Rav Yaakov Blau zt”l about this, he explained that this is quite complex. “It comes out of Rava’s statement on Eruvin 89 that if the roof juts out more than the walls, it interferes with this principle. That means that wherever the wall juts, they do not impart a mechitzah in the airspace above them. If only a little juts out, it may be that the remaining halachic walls constitute a mechitzah.

“The Biur Halachah brings the Pri Megadim that even the slightest jutting out interrupts gud asik. Even a pillar that is slightly wider than the walls of the building renders gud asik inapplicable for the entire width of the pillar. But that is only if the roof is flat. If there is an extension of the wall above the floor of the roof for more than three tefachim, gud asik is inapplicable” (Habayis, 11:32; Nesivos Shabbos, p. 14, note 31).

 

Eruvin 90: The Straight Path of the Vilna Gaon

On thisdaf,we find that due to Rami bar Chama’s charifus,sharpness, he did not ask correctly.

Rav Tzvi from Smiatitch enjoyed learning in a sharp manner, unlike his rebbi, the Vilna Gaon, who learned more straightforwardly. Once, when a new sefer was released, he was thrilled and quickly purchased a copy. When he suggested it to his rebbi, the Vilna Gaon asked him to pick any piece and tell it to him. When Rav Tzvi did so, the Gaon immediately began to expound. “But if you say that, can’t we continue…”

Even Rav Tzvi, who was very sharp, had a hard time keeping track of the many deep connections the Vilna Gaon made.

“If one goes in this way, he can easily err,” concluded the Gaon. “If he keeps making his own brilliant connections, it is easy to feel hubris from what one learns. One will naturally value his opinion and feel that he is at least on par with earlier authorities. But if we learn Torah with true iyun, like the Rishonim before us, we are naturally humbled. We begin to see our puny understanding compared to them. What one works many long hours to understand, he sees that Rashi or the other Rishonim, in a word or two, answer his concern in the most concise and elegant manner possible” (Aliyas Eliyahu, note to #77).

ning halachic walls constitute a mechitzah.”