THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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ERUVIN 61 - was generously dedicated by an anonymous donor
in Los Angeles.
1) MEASURING THE "TECHUM" OF A CITY THAT IS SITUATED ON THE EDGE OF A RIVER
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.
2) TWO CITIES ON A HILLSIDE
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
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*
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)