Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: When Two חצירות Are Two, One, and One and a Half

As you may know and/or recall, the intent of an עירוב is to give everyone in a חצר some shared ownership of the space.  A not so obvious corollary of that fact is that unless everyone in the חצר participates, there is no עירוב.  That fact leads to some very interesting discussions in the shulchan aruch itself about what happens when someone whose house opens to the חצר dies on (or just before) Shabbos, and even more fun ensues when the possibility that the heir will move in on Shabbos itself.

Before you can run, though, you need to walk.  Let's take 10 houses that are built around (and open into) a central חצר.  Either all 10 participate, or there is no עירוב.  Now build a solid brick wall that is about, oh... I don't know..., let's say 100' (30 m, if you are so inclined) tall right down the center of our חצר; five on each side, which we'll call the A and B sides for concreteness.  In that case, each side is on their own.  The A and B sides can each make an עירוב (with all 5 relevant houses, of course) or not; neither A nor B is sensitive in the least to what the other does.  One more relatively simple case by way of introduction: open a doorway between A and B that is less than the full width and less than 10 cubits wide, whichever is less.  In that case A and B can make their own עירוב, or they can decide to make a עירוב together.

Now let's have a bit more fun.  Scale back that wall to a simple chain link fence that is just 10 טפחים/handbreadths (35", give or take) high.  Since it is 10 טפחים high, that is enough to separate the חצירות.  Obviously lowering the fence make them into one חצר.  Perhaps slightly less obvious is that lowering fence for a run up to 10 cubits wide is just as good as a doorway.  A drop even less obvious is that putting steps or even a ladder on each side of the fence -- directly across from each other, of course -- is also as good as a doorway.

Now transform that fence into a brick wall, still 10 טפחים, but with a usable flat top.  If it is still less than 4 טפחים across, the top of the wall is a מקום פטור and residents of each side may put objects on it and take them down.  If A and B each made an עירוב among themselves, then they can actually take objects from their respective houses and them there, or vice versa.  If they did not, then they can only move objects from the חצר to the wall top.  Under no circumstances may they use the top of the wall to transfer objects from one חצר to the other.  (Well... there are circumstances, but those are outside the scope of the present work... hee, hee, hee)

If the top of the wall is four טפחים or more across, however, then the top of that wall is essentially another חצר.  Since is it equally accessible to the residents of each חצר, neither the residents of A nor the residents of B are allowed to place items on it nor take them down.  On the other hand, if one side (say, A; I mean, why not?) builds a ladder or staircase that is either fixed in place or heavy enough to not be easily moved (so one can be reasonably certain it will remain for the entire Shabbos), then the residents of A can use the top of the wall for their stuff, but B can't.

Now get this... if B also builds a ladder or stair case (same conditions as above), then -- since they again both have equal access, neither can use the top of the wall.  Unless, of course, they make an עירוב between them, which they can do because their ladders or stairs (needn't be the same on both sides) have made themselves a doorway (portal for you Star Trek and Harry Potter fans).  And now, since the wall is so darn wide (across), the ladders or stairs do not need to be directly across from each other.

I know, I know... so darn cool you want me to keep going on and on and on...


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…

Thought for the Day: Hydroponically Grown Humans... I Feel Sick

I am quite openly not at all objective about abortion in particular and the treatment of human embryos and fetuses in general.  I am, after all, the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.  Not "thought about it, but couldn't go through with it"; not "made appointment, but then chickened out at the lost moment"; but, "tried a procedure, but was unsuccessful in attempt to abort".  Nonetheless, I try very hard to listen to the liberal arguments (which I also used to chant as part of the general liberal catechism), and am genuinely empathetic to the plight of women who find themselves in that difficult position.

What I heard on NPR this morning, however, has left me feeling physically ill.  You can read about it, if you like, but here's the bottom line:  Scientists in Cambridge have achieved a new record, they fertilized a human ova and then kept it alive in vitro (that is, in a test tube/petri dish in a laboratory) for 14 days.  The scientist involve…