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Eruvin 58


The Mishnah (57b) gives the basic guidelines for measuring the 2000-Amah Techum of Shabbos. Measuring level ground is simple. How, though, does one take into account valleys and hills when measuring the Techum?

There are basically four different ways of measuring:

(a) Medidah Yafah, which is an exact measure, the way level ground is measured, which applies whenever the land is flat at the bottom of an extremely steep cliff, or if the land slopes upwards at a very slight slope (where it takes more than 5 Amos for it to rise 10 Tefachim).

(b) If the hill is steeper than that, then the methods of "Mavli'a v'Koder" are applied. How steep the slope must be to apply these more lenient ways of measuring depends on the two versions of Rava's statement in the Gemara.

(c) If the slope rises to a height of 10 Tefachim within less than 4 Amos, then the area atop the slope is measured by "Omed," by estimating the distance, without counting the rise at all.

(d) If it is a steep cliff that does not jut out 4 Amos on bottom no matter how deep or high it is, then the method of Medidah Yafah applies, and one counts only the flat part on the bottom and not the slope.

The ROSH says that the leniency of estimation ((c) above) applies only to a rise (or to a wall) that is difficult to climb. If it is a drop, though, such as a valley, which is not more difficult to measure (when less than 50 Amos) than measuring any other valley or level ground, then the leniency of estimation does not apply, and the valley must be measured with the method of being "Mavli'a" with a 50-Amah rope.

In addition, the ROSH says that the method of "Koder" ((b) above), which applies when the distance from one side of the valley to the other is greater than 50 Amos, is not only used for a valley which is very steep (for which we do not permit estimating), but it is used even for a hill or a rise which is very steep (and we do not permit estimating). The only time that the Chachamim permit estimating is when there is a rise that is less than 50 Amos, and it is too steep to be "Mavli'a." When it comes to "Koder," it makes no difference whether it is a height that one is climbing or a depth.

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