The Talmud comments that if indeed the reshut harabim extends beyond the height of ten tefachim for the purpose of techum Shabbat, then Eliyahu the prophet (who according to tradition will announce the arrival of the Messiah) and the Messiah himself will not be able to arrive on Shabbat, because their descent would violate the “beyond the techum” prohibition.

Some rishonim suggest that this passage in the Talmud is the reason why we welcome Eliyahu Hanavi after Havdalah – because only then will he be able to arrive without violating the “beyond the techum” prohibition. Based on the majority opinion – that the “beyond the techum” prohibition is of rabbinical origin and therefore there is more room for leniency – the Rama concludes that sailing beyond the techum Shabbat is permitted even when in doubt as to whether the hull is ten tefachim above the bed of the sea. For the same reason, Rabbi Blau, in his treatise on Eruvin, suggests that under certain circumstances one may disembark from a plane that arrived after the onset of Shabbat because the distance of the techum Shabbat would be measured from the point of landing.

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Raphael Grunfeld received semicha in Yoreh Yoreh from Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem of America and in Yadin Yadin from Maran Hagaon Harav Dovid Feinstein, Shlitah. A partner at the Wall Street law firm of Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP, where he specializes in cross-border mergers and acquisitions, Raphael is the author of “Ner Eyal, a Guide to Seder Nashim, Nezikin, Kodashim, Taharot and Zerayim” (2016) and “Ner Eyal, a Guide to the Laws of Shabbat and Festivals in Seder Moed” (2001), both of which are available for purchase at https://www.amazon.com/dp/057816731X Questions for the author can be sent to rafegrunfeld@gmail.com