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Eruvin 105


QUESTION: Rebbi Shimon makes a ambiguous statement at the end of the Maseches: "When the Chachamim permitted something, they just gave you what was already yours (i.e., what was permitted by the Torah), for they only permitted what was prohibited by Rabbinic injunction."

The Gemara explains that Rebbi Shimon means to argue with the Mishnah that allows one to tie a torn harpstring in the Mikdash on Shabbos (Eruvin 102b). Since tying a string involves a Melachah d'Oraisa, it is not permitted even in preparation for the Temple service.

If this is Rebbi Shimon's intention, why did the Mishnah wait until the end of the Maseches to record his statement? Rebbi Shimon's words should have been appended to the Mishnah that discusses tying a harpstring, three Dafim back!


(a) TOSFOS (DH Amar) explains that the Mishnah wanted to finish the list of actions that were permitted in the Mikdash and prohibited out of the Mikdash without interruption. Afterwards, it returned to the subject of the harpstring to record Rebbi Shimon's dissenting opinion.

(b) The MAHARSHA suggests another approach. Rebbi Shimon is not addressing the specific Halachah of tying a harpstring. Rather, he is making a blanket statement, intended to explain many of the laws of Eruvin.

We find many times where the Rabanan were lenient with the laws of Eruvin and Reshuyos (an army camp is exempt from certain Eruvin, 17b; Pasei Bira'os permit the use of a well for people on their way to Yerushalayim for the Regel, ibid.; Mechitzos of horizontal and vertical ropes are acceptable while traveling, 16b; etc.). Why were the Rabanan lenient with regard to these Halachos? Explains Rebbi Shimon, because the Eruvin and Mechitzos in these cases satisfied the Torah's requirements; it was only the Rabanan who added the extra requirements. They are able to waive these requirements when circumstances demand it.

The Gemara says that Rebbi Shimon is addressing the question of tying a harpstring only because it seems from his wording that he *also* had a specific case in mind. In a broader sense, though, he is addressing the Maseches as a whole, which is why his words make an appropriate ending for Maseches Eruvin.


On to Pesachim


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