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Eruvin 86

ERUVIN 86 - was generously dedicated by an anonymous donor in Los Angeles in honor of his son, Sam, who lives and teaches in Yerushalayim.


QUESTION: The Gemara says that Rebbi and Rebbi Akiva gave honor to wealthy people. Why did they conduct themselves this way? And why does the Gemara single out Rebbi and Rebbi Akiva?


(a) The GILYON HA'SHAS cites the MAHARIL who writes that Rebbi and Rebbi Akiva were wealthy themselves (see Berachos 57b, Gitin 59a, Sanhedrin 36a, and Nedarim 50a) and they did not want people to respect them because of their Torah wisdom, since one should not take advantage of the Torah and use it for one's personal benefit (Avos 4:5). They therefore taught that being wealthy was a positive attribute for which one should be honored, so that people would honor them for their wealth and not for their Torah wisdom.

(b) Since Rebbi and Rebbi Akiva were wealthy, they obviously used their money for Tzedakah and Chessed. Through this, they came to realize the great value of money, when it is used for doing Mitzvos. They assumed, in their modesty, that other wealthy people also used their money for the proper purposes, and therefore they honored them for their Tzedakah and Chessed. (ME'IRI, second explanation)

(c) A wealthy person is not accustomed to giving honor to other people. Rebbi and Rebbi Akiva honored wealthy people so that they would get a feel for what it is like to be honored. This would lead them to honor others in order to earn their honor, as the Mishnah in Avos (4:1) says, "Who is the honored one? He who honors others." In this manner the wealthy person will learn to honor even poor people. (SIDUR HA'YA'AVETZ, end of Hilchos Derech Eretz; Hagahos ha'Ya'avetz to the Gemara here)

(The people Rebbi and Rebbi Akiva honored were affluent but righteous. With regard to giving honor to wealthy people who are Resha'im, see Rabeinu Yonah, Sha'arei Teshuvah 3:9 (#199), and Orchos Tzadikim 24:9 (Sha'ar ha'Chanifus).)

QUESTIONS: The Gemara says that according to Rebbi Yehudah, a Korah which is four Tefachim wide permits carrying within a Churvah (a destroyed building). RASHI says that the Gemara is referring to a Korah suspended above and between two walls. Both ends of the Korah are viewed as descending and closing off the area below, because the area below measures at least four Tefachim.

Rashi says that if the width of the Korah would be less than four Tefachim, then there would not be sufficient space between the [imaginary] Mechitzos at either side of the Korah, and "Pi Tikrah Yored v'Sosem" would not apply; a Mechitzah can be made only for an area with a minimum size of four by four Tefachim.

Rashi adds that Gedi'in Bok'in Bo will not prevent the walls from descending and closing off the area, because Rebbi Yehudah follows the opinion of Rebbi Yosi on 86b who holds that we are not concerned with Gedi'in Bok'in Bo.

(a) Mechitzos that are made through the rule of "Pi Tikrah Yored v'Sosem" are *always* hanging in the air and always have the problem of Gedi'in Bok'in Bo. Yet we find (25a) that Rav says that Pi Tikrah does create Mechitzos, and Shmuel also holds that Pi Tikrah creates Mechitzos where there is already one real wall (94b). Why should Pi Tikrah work at all according to those who hold that Gedi'in Bok'in Bo disqualifies a Mechitzah?

In fact, Rav himself says (86b) that a Mechitzah Teluyah (a Mechitzah which hangs in the air) is considered a Mechitzah *only* when it is over water. This implies that normally, Gedi'in Bok'in Bo *is* a problem, not like Rebbi Yosi (86b). How, then, can Rashi say that Pi Tikrah does not work according to those who disqualify a Mechitzah that Gedi'in Bok'in Bo? It must be that Gedi'in Bok'in Bo does not apply to Pi Tikrah, as we mentioned in Insights to Eruvin 25:2 (TOSFOS 86b and Rishonim).

(b) TOSFOS (86a) also points out that Rashi seems to be saying that a Korah which is at least four by four Tefachim is necessary only because we need both sides to descend to form Mechitzos. This implies that if one does not intend to enclose a given area below the Korah, but one just wants a single Mechitzah to descend and separate between two Reshuyos, then the area below does not need four by four Tefachim. Why, then, does the Gemara (86b) say that a Korah which is *four by four* Tefachim serves to separate the pit of water that is located on the border between two Chatzeros? There, all that is necessary is a single Mechitzah and not an enclosed area, why does the Korah have to be four by four Tefachim?

(c) Why was Rashi not bothered by the problem of Gedi'in Bok'in Bo with regard to Pi Tikrah earlier in the Masechta (25a), and only here does he address the issue?

ANSWER: Rashi understood that Gedi'in Bok'in Bo is normally *not* a problem for Pi Tikrah, because Pi Tikrah is not a Mechitzah. Rather, when we apply Pi Tikrah the *edge of the roof* itself serves to separate one area from another in lieu of a Mechitzah. "Yored v'Sosem" does not mean that the edge of the roof descends and extends to form a Mechitzah; rather, it means that the edge of the roof itself is Sosem (closes off the area) just like a Mechitzah, which actually does reach the ground, is Sosem.

Accordingly, when Rashi came to the Sugya here, which says that the Korah must be four by four Tefachim, he was faced with a difficulty: if Pi Tikrah has nothing to do with Mechitzos, then why should there be a requirement that the Korah be four by four Tefachim? Therefore, Rashi learned that the opinion of Rebbi Yehudah which requires a Korah which is four by four is a new opinion that holds that Pi Tikrah works because of Mechitzos.

This is why Rashi did not address earlier the problem of Gedi'in Bok'in Bo with regard to Pi Tikrah. As long as Pi Tikrah has nothing to do with Mechitzos, there was never any question that Gedi'in Bok'in Bo should invalidate it. Here, though, Rashi addresses the problem because Rebbi Yehudah maintains that Pi Tikrah *does* work because of Mechitzos.

This also explains why Rashi mentions that the measure of four by four is necessary here in order to make a significant area between the Mechitzos. Rashi understands that our Gemara maintains that Pi Tikrah only descends and forms a Mechitzah when *both sides* of the beam can be extended to form Mechitzos. There is no such thing as one side being extended by itself, according to this opinion. A Korah must *always* be 4 x 4 Tefachim in order to apply Pi Tikrah. Even if we want to simply separate two Reshuyos with a single Mechitzah, such as with the pit of water, we can apply Pi Tikrah only if the sides of the Korah can be extended downward to create Mechitzos that *enclose* an area of four by four Tefachim. (M. Kornfeld)


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