Meir Panim’s Tiberias Free Restaurant not only provides warm meals, but the opportunity to socialize as well.
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.
Whether the entire island of Manhattan can be enclosed by an eruv remains a controversial question. The issues are whether the eighteen bridges around the island that can transport in excess of 600,000 people to and fro are considered directly connected to the highways running through Manhattan, so as to render them mefulash and thereby make the island a reshut harabim. If they indeed do, then traffic transporting in excess of 600,000 people in one day through mefulash highways means the island cannot be enclosed by the unobtrusive device of tzurat hapetach, and the impractical device of gates capable of being closed at night would be required.
Many poskim, starting in 1949 with the Amshinover Rebbe, endorsed the enclosure of Manhattan by a tzurat hapetach eruv. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, in a 1951 teshuvah concerning Manhattan addressed to Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Eisenstadt and in a 1981 teshuvah concerning Brooklyn, questions the halachic basis of such an eruv. Rav Feinstein’s main concern is that the access to and from Manhattan of numbers of people far in access of 600,000, through bridges that connect to the highways, renders Manhattan a reshut harabim. Some poskim of great stature disagree, however.
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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On the ninth of Teves Ezra HaSofer was niftar. The Gemara (Megilah 15a) tells us that Ezra was actually Malachi – the last prophet. With his passing, the glorious era of nevuah, prophecy, came to an end.
The belief in the power of the evil eye and the desire to ward off its deleterious spell are rooted firmly in Jewish historical consciousness. Indeed, the Talmud is replete with numerous references to the notion of ayin hara and takes its existence for granted.
Yaakov Avinu spent the final seventeen years of his life in Mitzrayim. While there he lived in peace for the first time in many years and remained in that state for the rest of his life. Near the end of his days he called in his beloved son Yosef and made an impassioned request: “Please do not bury me in Mitzrayim.”
This week’s parshah begins with Yaakov Avinu on his deathbed. He called for and requested of Yosef not to bury him in Mitzrayim, but rather in Eretz Yisrael. Although Yosef agreed to fulfill this request, Yaakov asked him to swear that he would keep his word, which he did.
Question: I have noticed that some people stand during the Birkot Keriat Shema. I was always under the impression that one is supposed to sit for Shema and its berachot. Is there a source that allows one to stand during this part of the prayer?
In One’s Grasp
‘Ein Ma’avirin Al Hamitzvos’
How come Kiddush for Shabbat contains different phrases regarding the Jewish people’s chosenness than Kiddush for Yom Tov?
Mr. Sofer completed his book order with an online company. The vendor offered special, fast shipping for an additional cost, but he opted for regular free shipping. “Delivery within three weeks,” stated the site.
We had inadvertently parked in the lot of a nearby church…
It is not difficult to understand the care Joseph took to ensure that Jacob would bless the firstborn first.
My tatte had a magnificent voice that had the power to pierce the most hardened heart.
In our story a couple of kids discover Chanukah within the walls of a gym.
Shemos Rabbah states that Yaakov transmitted the “secret of the redemption.”
Just as the moon waxes and wanes and then totally disappears from view before returning to the night sky, so, too, the Jewish people.
At about 4 a.m. on cold and damp autumn mornings in London, Dad would try to wake us in time for Selichot, the pre-Jewish New Year dawn prayers. As we heard Dad’s footsteps mounting the stairs, my brother and I would hide under our covers and mutter our displeasure at being disturbed.
Even Moshe Rabbeinu, who spoke with God one on One, was not allowed to see Him during his lifetime. “You cannot see my face, for no man shall see me and live.” Ultimately, we shall all see God one on One and face not just Him but also ourselves and the lives we led.
You’ve been too busy to open your mail. When you finally do, it is overflowing with bills and letters. Solicitation letters from the Jewish hospital, a gemach (interest-free loan fund), the yeshiva and the synagogue.
Continuing with our examination of Pesachim as per the Daf Yomi cycle, the Seder commences with Kiddush recited over the first cup of wine. Whereas Kiddush may be recited before nightfall on Shabbat, it must be recited after nightfall on Seder night. Unlike Shabbat and Yom Tov, on Seder night there is a requirement that each participant drink from his own cup.
There are lots of back seat drivers at the Seder. Your kezayit (portion) of matzah is not big enough, they chide. Red wine only; shmurah matzot or nothing; don’t start the Seder before nightfall; must finish the meal before midnight; don’t drink wine between the four cups; the Seder plate set in the wrong order. This article is intended as a defensible guide for the brave volunteer who leads the Seder (the ba’al haseder).
It’s 12:30 on a Yom Tov, Monday morning. You are about to leave the synagogue for the third day in a row. As you look around, you notice, even as you try to ignore it, a certain wilting of the spirit. A belabored pace. How good you felt on Friday night, with the onset of Shabbat. An effortless serenity set in then.
Prayer is always an avenue to God. But in the month of Elul, the last month of the Jewish year, and during the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, God lends a particularly sympathetic ear.
Taste is everything. If the taste of chametz has been absorbed into a cooking vessel, such a vessel may not be used on Pesach unless it undergoes koshering, the halachically prescribed way of expelling the flavor of forbidden food such as non-kosher foods, meat and milk mixtures or chametz on Pesach from utensils and restoring them for use.
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