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Eruvin 21

ERUVIN 21 - sponsored by a generous grant from an anonymous donor. Kollel Iyun Hadaf is indebted to him for his encouragement and support and prays that Hashem will repay him in kind.


QUESTION: The Gemara says that Pasei Bira'os may be erected only around a well with water that is fit for human consumption. If Pasei Bira'os may only be used to give water to the *animals* of the Olei Regalim, why does the water have to be fit for man?


(a) RASHI says that since the presence of water in the well is what makes the Pasei Bira'os into effective Mechitzos (that is, it causes the area to be "Hukaf l'Dirah," see Rashi 18a end of Mishnah), that water must be a type of water that is "significant." Only if the water is fit for man is the partition around it considered Hukaf l'Dirah. The water must be fit for man in order to make the area inside the Pasim a valid Reshus ha'Yachid.

(b) TOSFOS (DH Midi d'Chazi) explains that Pasei Bira'os actually *do allow* man to drink from water drawn from a well. When the Gemara says that if a man wants to drink water he must climb into the well and drink from there, that is referring to when one has no animals to feed. However, once Pasei Bira'os are made for an animal and one is using them to draw water for his animals, the *leftover water* may be used for man. The water must be fit for man so that it can be used by man as well as by animal.

(c) TOSFOS suggests further that perhaps it is even permissible to *draw water* from the well for man, once Pasei Bira'os are in place. When the Gemara says that a man has to climb into the well, that refers to when no Pasei Bira'os were erected because there were no animals to feed. But once Pasei Bira'os are made for animals, then a man may even draw water for himself relying on those Pasim. Once again, the water must be fit for man so that man can benefit from it as well as animal.

AGADAH: The Gemara says that the "length and breadth" of the Torah (the Written Law and Oral Law combined) can be measured in Amos. (Rashi explains that these Amos are not the standard human arm's length Amos. Rather, these Amos are measured in "divine," metaphorical arm's lengths.) Based on descriptions of a length of parchment representing the Torah that was seen by the prophets Zecharyah and Yechezkel in a vision, the Gemara states that the Torah is 10 x 20 Amos. Since Zecharyah informs us that the parchment was folded over on itself, the Gemara infers that unfolded, it would measure 20 x 20 Amos. Yechezkel adds that the parchment was covered with writing on both sides, which means that the entire area that contained writing covered 20 X 40 Amos. This, then, is the full length and breadth of the Torah.

The MAHARSHA teaches why the parchment was seen to be folded over and had writing on both sides. All of the Torah that we learn can be extracted from the Written Law through four distinct approaches to the verses of the Torah: "Peshat," "Remez," "Drush," and "Sod" (hinted at by the acronym "PaRDeS," see Chagigah 14b). Peshat means understanding the simple meaning of the verses of the written Torah. Drush is the exegetical methodology for extracting the Oral Law from the Written Law. These two, says the Maharsha, are suggested by the folded up parchment. The side of the parchment that could be seen on top represents the Peshat, the most obvious and clearest meaning of the verses. By unfolding the parchment, one uncovers Drush, or the exegetical derivations of the Torah. This deeper meaning of the verses of the Written Law is not quite as apparent as the Peshat. It can only be found by peering "under" the Peshat.

The other two facets of the Torah were written on the back of the parchment and not on its face. This denotes the fact that they are harder to grasp and that they require a greater effort to find them. It is through Remez and Sod that the hidden teachings of the Torah are learned. Remez refers to a metaphorical or a deep, philosophical approach to the Torah. Sod refers to the Kabbalistic meaning of the verses. These two approaches to the Torah complete the four "faces" of Torah which were represented in the parchment of Zecharyah's vision.

This Gemara may perhaps be used to uncover a deeper meaning in another cryptic passage later in the Gemara. The Gemara later (53a) describes the "generation gap" between the earlier Sages and the later ones, comparing the successive generations to the doorway of the Ulam and the doorway of the Heichal, respectively. "The hearts of the earlier Sages were as broad as the gateway to the Ulam (which was 20 X 40 Amos); the hearts of the later Sages were as broad as the gateway to the Heichal (which was 10 X 20 Amos); and our own hearts are no broader than the opening of a seamstress's needle."

The Gemara tells us that the greater intellectual capacities of the earlier Sages in relation to the weaker minds and hearts of the later ones is comparable to the relationship between the 20 x 40 entranceway to the Ulam and the 10 x 20 entranceway to the Heichal. Why does the Gemara choose the comparison of these two doorways in order to express the difference between the wisdom of the earlier and later sages? MAHADURA BASRA (the son-in-law of the MAHARSHA, Eruvin 21a and 53a) suggests the following interpretation.

The gateway to the Ulam was 20 x 40 Amos. This is exactly equal to the combined length and breadth of all four parts of the Torah, as represented by Zecharyah's parchment. This is meant to infer that the hearts of the earlier Sages were so broad that they were able to grasp all of the different aspects of the Torah fully. (As the Gemara there continues, the "early Sage" in question was none other than Rebbi Akiva, the greatest of the Sages of the Mishnah.)

In contrast, the hearts of the later Sages are compared to the smaller gateway to the Heichal, which was only 10 x 20 Amos. This is meant to hint that they fully mastered only one of the four aspects of the Torah -- Peshat, or the simple meaning of the text of the Written Law. They did not grasp the rest of the Torah as fully as the earlier Sages who were able to comprehend all four facets of the Torah. Their hearts are compared to the gateway to the Heichal, which was 10 x 20 Amos, or the exact dimensions of the top layer of the folded parchment that Zecharyah saw. Our hearts, however, are no wider than the eye of a needle. We do not even fully grasp the Peshat, or simple meaning of the verses! (See PARSHA PAGE, Terumah 5756, for further elucidation of this idea.)


AGADAH: The Gemara says that Shlomo ha'Melech instituted the enactments of Eruvin and Netilas Yadayim. The VILNA GA'ON uses this Gemara to explain a Gemara in Gitin (68b). During the time that Shlomo ha'Melech was dethroned, he declared, "*This* is all I have left from all of my toil" (Koheles 2:10). The Gemara says that "this" refers either to his walking stick or to his goblet (see Rashi ibid. DH Gundo).

The VILNA GA'ON (Zichron Moshe, cited by Divrei Eliyahu in section on Koheles) explains this allegorically. Shlomo ha'Melech was saying that after all of his toil, the only things which he will take with him are the good deeds that he did and the merit from the enactments that he made. Shlomo ha'Melech enacted two decrees to safeguard the observance of the Torah. One was the enactment of Eruvin, symbolized by a walking stick (Eruvei Techumin and Eruvei Chatzeros). The other enactment was Netilas Yadayim, symbolized by a cup.

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