The Torah requires that Jews not carry any item, no matter its weight or purpose, on Shabbat, in a public domain, a "Reshut HaRabim". This is a major aspect of the Shabbat law on work - the last category of the 39 prohibited labors. Its stringency can be seen in the prohibition of blowing the Rosh Hashana shofar, or carrying the Lulav on Sukkot, because the Rabbis were concerned that one would carry these through a public area on Shabbat. When one carries from house to house and from house to street, one does an act of society. When one refrains from carrying on the Shabbat one pays tribute to the G-d of society, of all human relationships. But the law on carrying created severe hardships and diminished the ONEG of Shabbat. The religious court of King Solomon sought to distinguish between a truly public domain where all carrying is prohibited and a more localized domain, bounded by an Eruv where not all carrying was prohibited.
There are many reasons our Rabbis deemed it appropriate to build an Eruv.
The Talmud (Oral Babylonian Tradition) devotes an entire complicated tractate to ERUVIN. An Eruv is an enclosure that legally transforms a non-private public thoroughfare into a private domain. A "Reshut HaYachid," a "private domain", is not determined by a property deal, alone, but by its physical enclosure. There are 3 qualifications for an Eruv to be effective.
A. The physical Enclosures: Ideally they should be walls, as in a house. When a wall or fortress is unavailable we use a legal device recommended by King Solomon's court known as a "Tzurat Hapesach", a "door image". Just as a home is considered a "Reshut Hayachid" (a private domain), a community, surrounded not by walls or by doors, but by door image - two sideposts and a lintel above - giving the community a status of one large home, inside which one may carry as if it were actually a big home. Thus, placing two uprights directly underneath telephone wires creates "door images". The same effect can be accomplished with fences that are minimally 40 inches in height and are linked together to form one unit. Our Eruv uses a combination of Tzurat Hapesach and Gedarim (Lechis - Lintels and Fences) and has been completed.
B. A Eruvei Chatzerot is a necessity of the community. This is accomplished by joining the community's inhabitants into a common ownership. It is accomplished by transferring matzot from one person to another on behalf of all the Jewish neighbors and then placing it into a central common property, such as a synagogue.
C. Transfer: The public land must then be leased by the joint participants in the community Eruv from a responsible public official on behalf of the city. By making an Eruv, the neighbors say that they have joint property and personal cooperation. Therefore, they are no longer carrying from home to home, but within one large home. An Eruv in its most simplified sense, is a boundary that binds us all together.
|The Jewish Community Foundation, charitable gift planning agency for the greater Los Angeles Jewish Community.|