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One of the thirty-nine prohibited melachot on Shabbat is carrying an object from a private domain, reshut hayachid, to a public domain, reshut harabim, or carrying an object a distance of four amot, six to eight feet, in a reshut harabim. The Torah does permit, however, carrying within the reshut hayachid itself. The definition of a reshut hayachid and a reshut harabim is crucial, therefore, to the laws of carrying on Shabbat.
A reshut hayachid is an area of at least four by four tefachim (approximately 15 inches) square, enclosed by walls or other partitions that are at least ten tefachim, approximately three feet high. The usual form of a reshut hayachid is a house or a garden, but the term also includes a depression or an elevation of not less than the above dimensions in a public space, such as a ditch or a mound. A reshut hayachid may extend for miles in each direction. The partitions of a reshut hayachid can be natural, such as the canals surrounding the Hague in Holland, or even, as has been suggested, the cliffs surrounding all of the British Isle. Private ownership is not a requirement for a reshut hayachid and even a ditch of the described dimensions in a reshut harabim can constitute a reshut hayachid.
One of the more controversial aspects of the laws of eruvin – which has direct bearing upon how and if the construction of an eruv, as we know it, is possible – lies in the definition of a reshut harabim. Although there is a wide spectrum of opinions among the Rishonim, the generally accepted definition is as follows: A reshut harabim is an unroofed, public area or highway, open at both ends – mefulash – being at least sixteen amot (24 to 32 feet) wide, through which at least 600,000 people (equivalent to the counted male adult population of the Jewish encampment in the desert) might pass in one day.
Then too there is an area that qualifies neither as a reshut hayachid nor as a reshut harabim because it lacks one of the necessary conditions. Such a betwixt and between area is known as a karmelit.
In a typical city most streets are not mefulash, in that they do not cut through the entire city in a straight line from one end of the city to the other. Rather, they wind and curve so that they are always surrounded by walls and buildings on all three sides. Such streets that are portioned off on all three sides are considered by the Torah to be a reshut hayachid, in which carrying would be biblically permitted. The rabbis, however, fearing that people would not be able to distinguish between such streets and other streets that do qualify as a reshut harabim classify those streets as karmelit. Accordingly, they prohibit carrying in streets unless a halachically valid enclosure is positioned at the open end and an eruv ceremony is performed. The purpose of the eruv is to enclose the area in question, on all sides, so that it becomes a reshut hayachid, recognized as such by the rabbis.
If the area in question qualifies as a reshut harabim, it can only be converted into a reshut hayachid by installing real doors or gates at its perimeter, which, like the gates of Jerusalem of old, must be capable of being closed at night. If, however, the area in question is not a reshut harabim, but only a karmelit, then it may be converted into a reshut hayachid by simply constructing a form of a symbolic doorway known as a tzurat hapetach, which usually takes the form of two poles with a wire across the top, or some similar construction.
The halachic license to carry in a street enclosed by a symbolic doorway rather than by real doors that can be closed at night is based on the theory that most streets, as we know them today, are not in the category of reshuyot harabim. But if there is doubt whether a particular street is of such dimensions that it might qualify as a reshut harabim, then a potential biblical violation of carrying is involved and a tzurat hapetach may not be acceptable. Most modern tzurat hapetach eruvin utilize preexisting structures such as fences, walls, embankments, sides of buildings and long lines of overhead cables. Most gaps of up to ten amot do not disqualify an eruv, because they are considered entrances to the enclosure. Gaps in excess of ten amot do disqualify the eruv, but can be fixed by bridging them with a tzurat hapetach, such as overhead cables or strategically placed wire.
About the Author: Raphael Grunfeld’s book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Moed” (distributed by Mesorah) is available at OU.org and your local Jewish bookstore. His new book, “Ner Eyal on Seder Nashim & Nezikin,” will be available shortly.
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Leading by example must be visible, regarding where, when and how-like Nachshon entering the Red Sea
Rabbi Yaakov Nagen, a Ram at Yeshivat Otniel, notes that the verse is suggesting that retelling the story of the Exodus is so important that Hashem is performing ever-greater miracles specifically so that parents can tell their stories to future generations.
Before performing the 10th plague God makes a fundamental argument about the ultimate nature of justice.
How is it possible that the clothing was more valuable to them than gold or silver?
Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.
“It means that the disqualification of relatives as witnesses is a procedural issue, not a question of honesty,” explained Rabbi Dayan.
Property ownership is an extremely important and fundamental right and principle according to the Torah.
The tenderest description of the husband/wife relationship is “re’im v’ahuvim/loving, kind friends”
And if a person can take steps to perform the mitzvah, he should do so (even if he won’t be held accountable for not performing it due to circumstances beyond his control).
Suddenly, she turns to me and says, “B’emet, I need to thank you, you made me excited to come back to Israel.”
Pesach is called “zikaron,” a Biblical term used describing an object eliciting a certain memory
Recouping $ and assets from Germans and Swiss for their Holocaust actions is rooted in the Exodus
Pharaoh perverted symbols of life (the Nile and midwives) into agents of death.
A more difficult situation arises when there is no evidence placing the missing husband at the site of the death.
When the inability cannot be clearly attributed to either spouse, the halacha is the subject of debate among the Rishonim.
The child of a Jewish mother from a union with a non-Jewish father is not a mamzer.
Although the conversion ceremony involves more than circumcision and immersion, these are the two essential requirements, without which the conversion is ineffective.
If a man dies childless, the Torah commands the deceased’s brother to marry his brother’s widow in a ceremony known as yibum, or to perform a special form of divorce ceremony with her known as chalitzah.
What if, at the moment of the late brother’s death, the surviving brother cannot effect yibum because the widow is a niddah?
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/carrying-eruvin-and-manhattan/2013/05/22/
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