THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
Ask A Question about the Daf
ERUVIN 31-35 - have been dedicated by Mrs. Rita Grunberger of Queens, N.Y.,
in loving memory of her late husband, Yitzchok Yakov ben Eliyahu Grunberger,
whose Yahrzeit is the 10th of Sivan.
1) "ABOVE" AND "BELOW"
QUESTION: The Mishnah (32b) states that an Eruv placed in a tree at a height
of ten Tefachim or above is not a valid Eruv. An Eruv placed in a tree at a
height less than ten Tefachim is valid. The Gemara explains that the Mishnah
is referring to a branch of a tree that extends beyond four Amos around the
tree. When the Mishnah talks about an Eruv being placed "above" or "below"
ten Tefachim, it means that the branch starts below ten Tefachim and then
curves upward and rises above ten Tefachim. It is not talking about two
different branches, one above ten Tefachim and one below, but rather two
parts of one branch. The Gemara proves this from the words "above" and
"below" which always refer to the higher or lower part of a single object,
and not two different objects of which one is high and one is low.
A Beraisa in Shabbos (8b) states that there is a difference between placing
an object "above" ten Tefachim in a pit and "below" ten Tefachim in a pit.
The Gemara asks that since the pit is deeper than ten Tefachim, no matter
where the object is placed in the pit, it is in a Reshus ha'Yachid. The
Gemara answers that the Beraisa is referring to two different pits, one
which is less than ten Tefachim deep and one which is more than ten Tefachim
deep. This raises two questions:
(a) Our Gemara implies that the height at which an object is placed in a
tree *does* make a difference. Why does the height at which the object is
placed in a pit not make a difference?
(b) When the Mishnah here says "above or below" ten Tefachim, the Gemara
says that it must be referring to different heights on a single branch. The
Gemara in Shabbos, though, says that this terminology *could* be referring
to two different objects altogether, and does not necessarily refer to two
different levels on one object!
(a) There is a difference between a deep pit and a tall tree. When the
Mishnah discusses something that was placed in a tree at a height of less
than ten Tefachim, it means that there is a four-by-four Tefach indentation
in the tree on which the object was placed. Above that indentation, the rest
of the branch continues upwards, acting like a ceiling over the indentation.
Higher up in the branch is another surface area.
Since the bottom indentation is covered (by the rest of the branch), it is
not viewed as part of a Reshus ha'Yachid (that is, the entire branch is not
viewed as one large Reshus ha'Yachid), even though the Mechitzos of the
Reshus ha'Yachid (the sides of the tree) extend downward and surround the
indentation as well. The reason is because there is no space which can be
*used as* a Reshus ha'Yachid on the surface of this indentation, because the
solid branch cuts it off and separates it from the upper indentation (which
is higher than ten Tefachim). We find a similar situation in Shabbos (7a)
regarding a house, the inner space of which has a height of nine Tefachim,
while the roof is ten Tefachim high from the ground. Since the inside of the
house does not have a usable space of ten Tefachim in height, it is not
considered Reshus ha'Yachid. That space is considered cut off from the area
on top of its roof (which *is* a Reshus ha'Yachid). A pit, however, is
different. Since the pit is entirely open, the Mechitzos on the bottom are
the same as the Mechitzos on the top (above ten Tefachim) which enclose a
Reshus ha'Yachid. Any indentations in the walls of the pit are "Chorei
Reshus ha'Yachid." (See also TOSFOS HA'ROSH 34a, DH Niskaven)
(b) To answer the second question, it must be suggested that in a tree, it
is more common to have many carved out indentations. In a pit, though, one
*generally* has only one surface at the bottom of the pit. Therefore, when
the terms "above" and "below" are used unspecified with regard to a pit, it
is acceptable for it to mean two pits. With regard to a tree, though, the
terms "above" and "below" refer to the same tree, since it is common to have
several surfaces at different points in the tree. (M. Kornfeld)
2) BENDING DOWN A BASKET IN A TREE TO BELOW TEN TEFACHIM
QUESTION: Rebbi Yirmiyah says that the reason why an Eruv inside a basket
hanging from a tree above a height of ten Tefachim is a valid Eruv is
because one can bend the basket down to below ten Tefachim, so that he and
the Eruv are in one Reshus.
Why does this act make the Eruv valid? By bending down the basket, one is
transferring the basket, and the Eruv inside it, from Reshus ha'Yachid to
Reshus ha'Rabim, which is an Isur d'Oraisa!
(a) TOSFOS (DH Ho'il) in the name of the RASHBAM says that Rebbi Yirmiyah is
of the opinion that "Eged Kli Shemei Eged." That is, if the basket lies
partially in Reshus ha'Rabim and partially in Reshus ha'Yachid, then the
food inside of it is also considered to be partially in Reshus ha'Rabim and
partially in Reshus ha'Yachid. The basket itself has not been transferred
from one Reshus to another Reshus because it is lying atop the border of two
Reshuyos (Shabbos 91b). The food inside, therefore, is also not considered
to have been transferred.
(b) TOSFOS (DH Ho'il) answers that when one bends down the basket, he turns
it into a Karmelis (by bringing it from above ten Tefachim to within ten
Tefachim), and not a Reshus ha'Yachid. Therefore, the food inside the basket
is resting in a Karmelis and not in Reshus ha'Yachid. By moving it that way,
one only does an Isur d'Rabanan (which, for the sake of Eruvei Techumin, is
permitted during Bein ha'Shemashos).
The Rashbam probably did not find this answer acceptable because he holds
that a utensil, such as a basket, cannot be a Karmelis ("Ein Karmelis
b'Kelim"). Therefore, it should be considered to be resting in Reshus
ha'Rabim once it is pulled down to less than ten Tefachim. (The principle of
"Ein Karmelis b'Kelim" is discussed by Tosfos in Shabbos 5a and 156a, and
Rashi in Shabbos 8a.)
(c) The RITVA says that when the basket is tilted, the bottom of the basket
is going to be resting against the vertical surface of the tree (that is,
the basket itself will be lying sideways), or else the food in the basket
will be resting on a tilted surface. In order to be Chayav for bringing
something into Reshus ha'Rabim, the object must come to rest on a
*horizontal* surface of 4 x 4 Tefachim, which is a "Makom Chasshuv." Since
this tilted basket, or food, is resting on a vertical and not a horizontal
surface, it is not considered to be resting on a four Tefach surface of
(This answer needs further explanation, for we find (Shabbos 7a) that if
something is thrown four Amos in Reshus ha'Rabim and comes to rest
laterally, on the vertical *side* of a brick in Reshus ha'Rabim, he is
*Chayav* for carrying four Amos in Reshus ha'Rabim. The object lying
laterally on the side of the brick *is* considered to be resting on a Makom
Chashuv, at least if the brick has a thickness of 4x4 Tefachim -- see also