Volume 15 Number 56
                       Produced: Fri Oct  7 12:17:39 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Janice Gelb]
Eruvin - To Get Out and Mix?
         [Shaul Wallach]
Women and Eruv
         [Cheryl Hall]
Women and Eruvin
         [Joel Goldberg]
Women and the `Eruv
         [Jeremy Nussbaum]


From: <Janice.Gelb@...> (Janice Gelb)
Date: Mon, 3 Oct 1994 12:15:10 +0800
Subject: Eruvim

Many thanks to the posters who mentioned in response to my 
post on this subject an aspect I had not considered: namely that 
consistent use of an eruv for carrying might get one so in the 
habit that one would be in danger of forgetting the prohibition 
against carrying on Shabbat. 

Some other comments, though -- Dave Steinberg writes:

> I have also routinized myself 
> to wearing a watch on shabbos.  And I've forgotten to take off the watch 
> when visiting a non-eruv community.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but it was my impression that not wearing a watch 
on Shabbat had to do with the spirit of the day itself, not with a 
prohibition against carrying. I believe jewelry can be worn without 
it being considered carrying.

Binyomin Segal writes, after an illuminating description of 
Hilchos Eruvin:

> As to the halacha, well... it is certainly clear that the custom of the
> Jewish people has been to accept this second opinion. Eruvin have been a
> part of jewish communities for many years. And so clearly one is permitted
> to carry in an eruv. However, consider that if the first (majority) opinion
> is right you violate a Torah prohibition every time you carry in a city
> eruv. Also, consider that in the old days (ie Europe) eruvin were often
> permitted from basic need ie you had to get your food for shabbos from the
> bakery oven shabbos morn.
> The mishna brura (and many others) therefore suggest that a "baal nefesh"
> (lit. master of his soul) should be stringent not to carry in a city eruv.
> Therefore (to get back to the original question) you can agree that eruvin
> are acceptable, and that yours is a great one (3) and still not carry in
> it. In this position you might decide to not carry at all - or you might
> choose to not carry unless there is a strong need (similar to the chulent
> pot at the bakers)

Seems to me this does *not* fall into the category of someone who 
believes eruvim are acceptable.

On this topic as on many others, this group has proved invaluable 
in providing me with insights that I would not have thought of 

-- Janice

P.S. You should all be grateful that I am not commenting on Shaul 
Wallach's posting with this topic heading that ended up discussing 
the woman's place in the home :->

Janice Gelb                  | (415) 336-7075     
<janiceg@...>   | "A silly message but mine own" (not Sun's!) 


From: Shaul Wallach <F66204@...>
Date: Thu, 06 Oct 94 19:59:32 IST
Subject: Eruvin - To Get Out and Mix?

     Zvi Weiss adduces the Netziv in support of what he considers a
major purpose of `Eruvin:

>Shaul Wallach minimizes (or appears to minimize) the "social effect" of
>eruvin allowing people (incuding women -- a fact that Shaul appears to
>forget) to "get out and mix".  I would refer people to the Netziv at the
>beginning of Kedoshim where he explicitly states that a major purpose of
>eruvin is the "shalom" that is engendered by allowing people to [easily]
>get out....

     With all due apologies, I don't see that this is the intention of
the Netzi"v at all. Let us first quote him in full (in Ha`ameq Davar on
Wayyiqra 19:4):

    ... And here (Hashem) is talking about keeping the days of rest and
    delight for friendship between man and his fellow. And because of
    this our Sages of blessed memory instituted `Eruvei Haseirot
    (combining the courtyards). And it is in the Yerushalmi and brought
    in the Ri"f (on) `Eruvin Ch. "Halon" that it is for bringing peace.
    Thus our Sages of blessed memory came to cause something that aids
    the nature of the sanctified day. And Yom Tov too; it is known that
    the joy of Yom Tov is only in the company of a feast of friendship.

In this language we don't see any mention of "getting out and mixing,"
certainly not of women mixing with men, Heaven forbid. What we do see is
getting together, but a "feast of friendship" is held at home, not on
the street, and all this pertains to Yom Tov, not to Shabbat.

     That the peace intended here is between neighbors in the same
court, not that of going out and mixing on the street, becomes clear
when we look at the Yerushalmi that the Netzi"v refers to (`Eruvin 7:6):

    Said Rabbi Yehoshua` ben Lewi: Why do we make an `Eruv in the
    courtyards? For the ways of peace. There was story of a woman who
    was hated by her fellow, and sent her `Eruv with her son. She took
    it and hugged him and kissed him. He came and told his mother. She
    said, "And she loves me so much and I didn't know?" Out of this
    they made peace. This is what is said, "Its ways are ways of
    pleasantness, and all its paths are peace."

It is significant that the `Eruv here (actually, the loaf of bread that
is used to make the `Eruv) is the `Eruv for the courtyard; that is, the
`Eruv that combines the individual houses in a single courtyard into one
united domain for the purpose of Shabbat, in order to carry from one
house to another within the same court. It is definitely not the `Eruv
that is done today for the whole city. This is evident from the Panei
Moshe on this Yerushalmi and the Maharsh"a (at the end of `Eruvin).
They note that in the corresponding Mishna, Rabbi Yose has already
given us a reason why we make an `Eruv in the courtyards, even after
we have made a Shittuf (combination) in the streets - in order not to
let the youngsters forget about the `Eruv. Although the Maharsh"a and
the Panei Moshe differ over just what Rabbi Yehoshua` ben Lewi is
telling us, the Yerushalmi still mentions explicitly the `Eruv in the
courtyards, not the Shittuf in the streets (mevo'ot).

    It is also significant that the mother sent the `Eruv with her son,
instead of taking it herself to her neighbor's house. In doing so she
not only gave him a part in the `Eruv so as not to forget it (as Rabbi
Yose said in the Mishna), and thus took part in his Torah education, but
also preserved her modesty by not leaving the confines of her home

    From all this we can reasonably intimate what kind of peace the
Netzi"v was talking about on the basis of the Yerushalmi. It is
the peace among close neighbors, such as those living in the same
courtyard. The modern equivalent would be those neighbors in the
same apartment building or condominium. The purpose of the `Eruv,
then, is to enable neighbors to stay in close touch with each other
and not break off relations with each other or bear grudges. The loaf
of bread that the mother sent with her son to give to her neighbor
became essentially a token of friendship or means of communication,
and this is the "bringing of peace" that the Netzi"v had in mind.
Since the `Eruv is typically sent on `Erev Shabbat, it helped the
women become friends again for the Shabbat. They certainly didn't have
to go out and mix on the street on Shabbat for that.

     We have seen how the Shabbat peace the Netzi"v referred to involves
that of neighbors in the same courtyard, not of people going out and
mixing on the street. In a separate posting we will devote more
attention to the issue of modesty for women in particular.




From: <CHERYLHALL@...> (Cheryl Hall)
Date: Mon, 03 Oct 1994 14:03:15 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Women and Eruv

Shaul Wallach <F66204@...> comments:

>>     Dr. Stillinger appears to assume that mothers with small children
>>who stay at home on Shabbat because their husbands are required to pray
>>with the community are being "unnessarily confined to home", and that
>>this is an "unnecessary hardship."

>>     With all due respect, I would very much like to know what the
>>source for this feeling is - is it the Torah, or is it America? As for
>>the Torah, the Rambam rules (Ishut 13:11) that although a husband must
>>allow his wife to go out to visit her family and to perform acts of
>>kindness by frequenting houses of mourning and going to weddings as
>>needs be, he should still keep her from going outside the house all the
>>time, "as there is no beauty for a woman but to sit in the corner of her
>>house, for thus is it written (Psalm 45:14): 'All the honor of the
>>king's daughter is inside'."
>>     The Rambam's ruling, based on the plain sense of the Mishna and the
>>Talmud, expresses the virtue of the Jewish mother who stays home to
>>raise her family. No halachic opinion based on the Talmud requires her
>>husband to let her leave the home in order to attend services at the

This whole issue is not going to the shul to daven.... the issue is
being confined to the interior of one's home. If there is an eruv, it
opens the possibility of hosting guests or the family being guests.  My
community does not have an eruv, so most women are very limited in
Shabbat hospitality, because of small infants and toddlers. I have
visited communities that do have an eruv, and have experienced the

>>I would kindly advise any Jewish woman who feels that staying
>>home is an "unnecessary hardship" to discover from the Jewish sources
>>just what her ideal role in life is. Parts 2 and 3 of the series on

This comment seems to take the "staying at home" completely out of the
context in which it was used. The women who are confined by not having
or not using an existing eruv, are most likely the very ones who have do
"stay home"... having young children, providing for a traditional Jewish
family life of Torah and mitzvot.

But doesn't Aishet Chayil describe the woman that does whatever is
needed to provide for her family: agribusiness, real estate,
manufacturing, wholesale marketing, and employer, in addition to
honoring her spouse, distributing tzedakah freely, encouraging her
husband in learning, teaching her household.

Cheryl Hall
Long Beach CA USA


From: <goldberg@...> (Joel Goldberg)
Date: Wed, 5 Oct 1994 11:08:40 +0200 (WET)
Subject: Women and Eruvin

<bsegal@...> (Binyomin Segal)
Commenting on Shaul Wallach's piece on eruvin and  women, writes:
> Though I don't disagree with much of the content of Rabbi Wallach's
> statements, I think the implications and tone stretch it a bit. I am among
> the first to tell women not to bother going to shul _however_ "staying home
> to care for the kids" does not mean "staying indoors".

  I would like to add that as my wife is confined to wheelchair, no eruv
would mean that we could never go anywhere (ie be invited to eat) any
shabbat, and various mitzvot such as parshat zachor would be very
difficult to arrange.

And frankly, if one is looking for the influence of an outside ethic on
halacha then one need look no further than the disabled. All the
accomodations one can find in Jewish settings were first implemented in
non-Jewish settings. I doubt that anyone can find an example of a Rav
who derived a need for access from the torah, as opposed to those who
have permitted access-providing leneniencies when confronted with the
demand for them.


From: <jeremy@...> (Jeremy Nussbaum)
Date: Mon, 3 Oct 94 10:18:00 EDT
Subject: Re: Women and the `Eruv

> >From: Shaul Wallach <F66204@...>
[Quoted material edited out by Moderator]
>      Dr. Stillinger appears to assume that mothers with small children
[See quoted material in Cheryl's posting above. Mod.]
> needs be, he should still keep her from going outside the house all the
> time, "as there is no beauty for a woman but to sit in the corner of her
> house, for thus is it written (Psalm 45:14): 'All the honor of the
> king's daughter is inside'."

This seems to me to be a good topic to use to discuss how we use (and
choose) sentences, paragraphs and books from the writings of past
generations.  It seems to me that there sometimes is an assumption that
if you can find it written somewhere, then it must be followed, and that
if you can't find it written, then it is not important.  There also
seems to be a lack of rigor in this, in that there is little attempt to
apply these principles to all areas, nor is there an attempt to apply
all of the writings even to the area in question.  (IMHO, if we did, we
would reconstruct, at least in part, the society in which each posek was

On the topic at hand, it seems to me that the Rambam rules according to
the practice of his time.  There is no mid'oraita that he is basing this
on.  I am not in any way arguing with the Rambam's ruling, as he applied
it.  Why should Jewish women adhere to a "lesser" standard than the
other women of their generation?  There are a number of societies in
which this standard is still held.  However, there are also many
societies, including the well known "western civilization," in which
this standard is not held to.  In such a society, it is not clear to me
that the Rambam would rule as he did.  This is not to say that he would
accept, lock stock and barrel, all of the norms and practices of western
society; just that he would not impose on it all of the norms and
practices of other societies, especially with regard to the
relationships and roles of men and women in society.

Even in societies where the practice is the same as it was in "the good
old days," it is not obvious to me what poskim like the Rambam would do.
Before the advent of better world communication, there is no basis to
change the practice of a Jewish community inside of such a general
community.  Nowadays, it seems to me, it is more difficult to have such
large regional variations in community structures and standards.  (Not
impossible, not necessarily undesirable, just more difficult, since it
is not easy to maintain such variations by virtue of the fact that no
one has heard of a different way of doing things, like in "the good old

>      The Rambam's ruling, based on the plain sense of the Mishna and the
> Talmud, expresses the virtue of the Jewish mother who stays home to
> raise her family. No halachic opinion based on the Talmud requires her

This is not what the Rambam says.  He does not limit it to "when there
are children at home to raise."  It applies to before children are born,
and to after the children leave the home.  It seems to me that it may be
about the Jewish women who stays home to tend to her household.  And it
is addressed to the husband, not the wife.

> husband to let her leave the home in order to attend services at the
> synagogue. I would kindly advise any Jewish woman who feels that staying
> home is an "unnecessary hardship" to discover from the Jewish sources
> just what her ideal role in life is. Parts 2 and 3 of the series on
> marriage (the latter has not yet appeared, as of the moment of this
> writing) deal with this at greater length.

On the one hand, I do not wish to imply anything against the Jewish
sources which can be cited to support the claim that traditional Judaism
mandates that a woman's place is in the home.  I do wish to argue
against the way those sources are cited today to support claims like
"there is something wrong with any Jewish woman who feels that staying
at home [on Shabat with her children and not being able to e.g. take
them to shul or go out for a walk with them] is an unnecessary
hardship," and if she would only read the Jewish sources properly she
would discover the correct way to feel and feel that way.

>      In any case, the question of whether to hold by an `eruv must be
> settled on its own merits; namely, whether the eruv itself is valid or
> not. It would be a most unworthy motive for the community to decide the
> matter on the basis of the irrelevant desire of women to compromise
> their position of sanctity in their homes.
>      Let me not be misunderstood - I neither oppose letting women attend
> the synagogue nor advise men to keep their wives locked up at home.

And why don't you?  After all, the Rambam says so himself?  Isn't that a
sufficiient basis on which to act?  In fact doesn't it require you to
act so?  And if not, what does it mean?  (No, I don't mean the "locked
up" part literally either, just that a husband should not permit his
wife to leave his house except for special occasions, just like the
Rambam says.)

Jeremy Nussbaum (<jeremy@...>)


End of Volume 15 Issue 56