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Eruvin 61

ERUVIN 61 - was generously dedicated by an anonymous donor in Los Angeles.


OPINIONS: Rav Huna discusses how to measure the Techum of a city situated on the edge of a river. If there is a "Dakah" of at least four Amos separating between the river and the city, then the Techum is measured from the river. If there is no "Dakah," then the Techum is measured from the houses.

What is a "Dakah" and what does it do for the city to cause its Techum to be measured from the river?

(a) RASHI explains as follows. The people in the city, since they are living next to a river, face a constant threat. The Rishonim explain that there is always reason to fear that the river might overflow and destroy their houses. Alternatively, the people who live next to the river are afraid of falling into the river. In either case, if there is a wall four Amos high along the edge of the river, they no longer feel threatened, either because when the river overflows it will not swell higher than four Amos, or because the people no longer have reason to fear they will fall into the river. Therefore it is considered a more permanently settled area and its Techum is measured as in any normal city, from the edge of the city (which, in this case, is the river). If, however, there is no wall four Amos high between the river and the houses, we assume that it is a temporary settlement and people will not stay there. Therefore it is not considered a city at all and its Techum is measured from each person's house individually.

(b) The RITVA cites the RIF and the RAMBAM (Hilchos Shabbos 28:9) who explain that the question in our Sugya is whether the river becomes part of the city. If the people living next to the river have a Dakah -- that is, a *platform* which is four Amos wide -- in the river, then when the river dries up they will be able to use the river bed by standing on the platform. Since the river is usable, it is considered to be part of the city and the Techum is measured from the outer edge of the river, and not from the nearer banks. If there is no Dakah, and the people therefore will not be using the river when it dries up, then the river is not considered to be part of the city and the Techum of the city is measured from the last houses, near the inner edge of the river. When the Gemara refers to that location as "Pesach Beiso" (the entrance of *his* -- or *its* -- house), explains the Ritva, it means that the Techum is measured from the entrance of the outermost house of the *city* (or from the house which acts as the entrance to the rest of the *houses* of the city).

QUESTION: The Gemara cites a Beraisa that records a ruling which Rebbi made concerning two cities on a hillside, Chamsan and Geder. Rebbi ruled that the people of Geder, at the top of a hill, were allowed to go down to Chamsan, but the people of Chamsan, at the bottom of the hill, were *not* allowed to go up to Geder. The Gemara gives a number of explanations why the residents of one city could go to the other city, while the residents of the other city could not go to the first. The last two explanations are given by Rav Safra and Rav Dimi. Rav Safra says that one of the two cities was in the shape of a bow, and that was the cause for the different rulings for the two cities. Rav Dimi says that one of the cities (Geder) was a large city, and the other city (Chamsan) was a small city.

Rav Dimi's explanation is clear: if Geder was a big city, then the people of Geder could walk down to Chamsan, the opposite edge of which was still within the 2000-Amah Techum of Geder. The Techum of Chamsan, though, ended in the *middle* of Geder, and they would not be allowed to walk throughout the entire city.

What, though, does Rav Safra mean when he says that "it was a city in the shape of a bow?" Which city is similar to a bow? And how does his explanation differ from that of Rav Dimi, who explained that one city is larger than the other?


(a) RASHI explains that Chamsan was in the shape of a bow, and the side of the bowstring (the line between the two tips of the city) was facing towards Geder (the curve of the bow faced towards the bottom of the mountain). The tips of the city were more than 4000 Amos apart, and thus Chamsan's Techum was measured from the boundary of the actual city (from where the houses ended), and not from the "bowstring." Consequently, the people in the "bow" part of the city were not able to walk all the way into the city of Geder. The people who lived in Geder, though *were* allowed to walk into and throughout Chamsan, because Geder's Techum was measured from the edge of the city, from which 2000 Amos reached the opposite edge of Chamsan. From that point in Chamsan, though, 2000 Amos reached only the edge of Geder, or a little within Geder, but certainly not the far side of Geder.

However, according to this explanation, Rav Safra's explanation is exactly that of Rav Dimi's -- Geder was like a large city, the Techum of which covered all of Chamsan, the smaller city, and Chamsan was a small city, the Techum of which barely reached the inside of Geder. (That is, the far part of the bow of Chamsan is the small city, and their 2000 Amos ends in the middle of Geder, whereas the people of Geder, the large city, are able to walk until the opposite side of Chamsan, because it is all included in Geder's 2000 Amos.) If so, what is the difference between this explanation and the next explanation, that one city was large and one was small? Even without saying that Chamsan was shaped like a bow, its Techum ended in the middle of Geder since it was simply a smaller city than Geder! (RASHBA, see CHIDUSHEI HA'RAN)

Perhaps Rav Safra and Rav Dimi are explaining the ruling of Rebbi. The Beraisa says that Rebbi permitted the people of Geder to go to Chamsan, but not the people of Chamsan to go to Geder. Rebbi ostensibly was saying a Chidush and not merely telling us facts that we already know from other Mishnayos. Rav Safra and Rav Dimi are arguing what exactly is the *Chidush* of Rebbi.

Rav Safra says that Rebbi's Chidush was that Chamsan, since it was shaped like a bow whose tips were too far apart from each other, had to measure its Techum not from the "bowstring" but from the actual houses in the "bow" part of the city. Rebbi was teaching that the people of Chamsan may *not* go to Geder, because Chamsan's Techum must be measured from the actual boundary of the city proper and *not* from the "bowstring."

According to Rav Dimi, the Chidush of Rebbi is that the people of Geder could not only go to Chamsan, but that we almost ignore the entire city of Chamsan when measuring Geder's Techum. The people of Geder may walk beyond Chamsan and we count the city of Chamsan as not more than four Amos when measuring their Techum. (This is because when the Techum of one city ends beyond or at the end of another city, then the second city counts as only four Amos out of the Techum of the first city.) Rebbi did not simply permit the people of Geder to go to Chamsan, but he permitted them to walk through all of Chamsan as if it were only four Amos. (From the fact that Rashi makes a point of this in his explanation of Rav Dimi, it is evident that this is the Chidush of Rebbi according to Rav Dimi's opinion.)

That is the argument between Rav Safra and Rav Dimi: what was the Chidush of Rebbi? Was it that Chamsan is not considered a bow for the sake of measuring the Techum from the bowstring, or that the city of Chamsan is considered to be only four Amos relative to the Techum of Geder? (M. Kornfeld)

(b) Alternatively, the ME'IRI mentions that when some of the people of a city cannot go to a certain place while others can go there, then everyone in the city is prohibited from going there. Therefore, if the far end of Geder is within the Techum for those in the bowstring of Chamsan but not for those in the bow of Chamsan, then the people at the bowstring end would not be allowed to enter Geder any more than those at the other end of Chamsan (the bow). The opinion of Rav Dimi, then, is that Rebbi is indeed teaching an original Halachah. Since Chamsan was shaped like a bow (and those in the "bow" part of the city could not go to Geder), even the people at the ends of the bow were not allowed to walk into Geder.

(c) TOSFOS explains that it was *Geder* that was in the shape of a bow facing away from Chamsan, and not Chamsan. It was shaped not like a broad bow, but like a narrow one, narrow enough so that there were *less than* four thousand Amos between the ends of the bow. In such a case, the Techum is measured from the "bowstring" even for the people living in the "bow" part of the city (as the Gemara said on 55a).

If the people in Chamsan want to go to Geder, they may not. Chamsan sat on a line directly between the ends of the "bowstring" of Geder and a little further down the mountain. From the periphery of Chamsan it was more than 2000 Amos to the any part of the "bow" of Geder. The people of Geder, on the other hand, were allowed to walk into Chamsan -- even those Gederites living the "bow" part of Geder -- because their Techum began from the "bowstring" and Chamsan was within 2000 Amos of the "bowstring" of Geder.

According to this interpretation, how does Rav Safra's answer differ from that of Rav Dimi (that one was a large city and one was a small one)? As we mentioned above (answer a), the argument revolves around what Rebbi intended to teach with his ruling. According to Rav Safra, Rebbi was teaching that when a city looks like a narrow bow, we measure its Techum from its "bowstring." Rav Dimi teaches that when a Techum passes over a neighboring city, the entire city counts as no more than four Amos (as we explained Rav Dimi's words above). (M. Kornfeld)


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