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Eruvin 98


OPINIONS: The Mishnah (97b) states that if someone was reading from a scroll while sitting on an Iskufah (the threshold of one's home) and the scroll rolled partially out of his hand into Reshus ha'Rabim, he is allowed to roll it back to him. The Gemara asks why he is allowed to roll it back if the other end is resting in Reshus ha'Rabim? Rebbi Yehudah (in the latter part of this same Mishnah) states that when one was sitting on the roof reading from the scroll and part of it rolled out of his hands towards Reshus ha'Rabim, he may roll it back to him only if it has *not* come to rest in Reshus ha'Rabim. Why, then, may he roll it back when he is in the Iskufah even if the other end is resting in Reshus ha'Rabim?)
(1) The first answer of the Gemara (that of Rav Yehudah) is that the first part of the Mishnah is the opinion of Rebbi Shimon, who argues with Rebbi Yehudah in the end of the Mishnah and maintains that even if the scroll *did* come to rest in Reshus ha'Rabim, one may roll it back to him to a roof. The Rabanan did not prohibit the act because of the need to safeguard the honor of holy scrolls.

(2) Rabah, in the Gemara's second answer, says that the Mishnah is referring to an Iskufah over which a lot of people walk. It is a great disgrace to the scroll to be left spread out on it, and therefore even if it is resting partially in Reshus ha'Rabim it may be rolled back. (In the end of the Mishnah, when the scroll rolled down from the roof, it rolled to a place where people do not walk, and thus one may not roll it back if it is resting on the ground of Reshus ha'Rabim.)

(3) Abaye, in the Gemara's third answer, says that neither of these answers is correct, because the Beraisa says specifically that if it rolled beyond four Amos, one is *not* allowed to roll it back to him. It must be that the Iskufah is a Karmelis, and since it is only a Karmelis there is no Isur d'Oraisa involved with bringing it back to him, as long as the scroll rolled less than four Amos away in Reshus ha'Rabim. We are not afraid that one might take the scroll from Reshus ha'Rabim and walk with it right through the Karmelis and into the house (Reshus ha'Yachid), either because it is a very long Iskufah and we are not worried that one will carry it across the entire length of the Iskufah without stopping, or because the Mishnah is expressing the opinion of Ben Azai who says that one who is walking is as if he is standing ("Mehalech k'Omed Dami") and when one walks over the Iskufah, it is as if he has placed the Sefer down on the Iskufah.

What is the Halachah?
(a) The BA'AL HA'ME'OR rejects the explanation of Abaye, and the Beraisa on which Abaye bases himself (which stipulates that the scroll did not roll more than four Amos away) because we rule that the Rabanan tend to enact a Gezeirah l'Gezeirah when it comes to the laws of a Karmelis on Shabbos (Eruvin 99a, Shabbos 11b). Therefore it does not make a difference if the Iskufah is a Karmelis or a Reshus ha'Yachid; if it is prohibited to return the Sefer to its original place in a Reshus ha'Yachid, it should be prohibited in a Karmelis as well. Instead, the Ba'al ha'Me'or rules that even if the Sefer rolls more than four Amos away, and the person holding it was in a Reshus ha'Yachid, if the Iskufah is one that many people walk over one may bring the Sefer back to him because of the honor of the Sefer, as Rava explains the Mishnah. The ROSH and TUR (OC 392) cite the Ba'al ha'Me'or, and that is the ruling of the SHULCHAN ARUCH and REMA as well (OC 352:1).

(b) The RAMBAM (Hilchos Shabbos 15:21) *does* differentiate between whether the scroll rolled beyond four Amos or stayed within four Amos, as does the RASHBA (Avodas ha'Kodesh) and TOSFOS (Shabbos 5b). It appears that they rule like Abaye. However, the Rambam does not mention that it has to be a long Iskufah, and neither does he rule like Ben Azai (Hilchos Shabbos 14:15). Why, then, are we not afraid that he will take the scroll directly into Reshus ha'Yachid from Reshus ha'Rabim, over the Iskufah?

The Acharonim suggest three approaches to explain the Rambam's ruling:

1. The VILNA GA'ON (OC 352:1) explains that the Rambam does not mention the word "Iskufah," but instead says that the person was standing in a *Karmelis*. The difference between the two is that an Iskufah is a part of a house and is attached to a house. In such a case we are concerned that a person will go over the Iskufah and into the house without stopping, carrying the scroll from Reshus ha'Rabim into Reshus ha'Yachid. The Rambam, though, is referring to a normal Karmelis, which is not attached to a house, and thus there is no fear that one might take the object from Reshus ha'Rabim into a Reshus ha'Yachid.

2. The VILNA GA'ON also explains, according to the Rashba, that we *do* rule like Ben Azai when it comes to Isurim d'Rabanan. Even though we do not rely on the ruling of Ben Azai with regard to Isurim d'Oraisa, here, where only and Isur d'Rabanan is involved at worst (since he is still holding the end of the scroll in the Karmelis, and it is not completely in Reshus ha'Rabim) we may rely on his opinion. We say "Mehalech k'Omed Dami" in order to permit bringing the scroll back to the Iskufah.

3. The BI'UR HALACHAH points out that RABEINU CHANANEL had a text in the Gemara that we do not have, in which the Gemara gives a *new* answer to the question on Abaye. His text states that when one picks up the scroll from Reshus ha'Rabim, he does not intend to bring it from there into Reshus ha'Yachid. Rather, he certainly intends to read from it. Even if, after he reads from it, he ends up bringing it into Reshus ha'Yachid, he has not transgressed an Isur d'Oraisa since it was not his intention to do so when he picked it up. This could be the way the Rambam learns the Gemara as well.

HALACHAH: As mentioned above, the SHULCHAN ARUCH and REMA (392:1) rule like Rava. However, the BI'UR HALACHAH points out that many Rishonim appear to have concluded like the Rambam, that the Halachah follows the ruling of Abaye. He therefore suggests that we may be lenient and follow *both* opinions, Abaye and Rabah. That is, one is allowed to take the scroll back into the Karmelis either if (a) it is within four Amos of the Karmelis, like Abaye, *or* (b) if it is a Sefer Kodesh and the Iskufah is one over which many people walk, one may bring back the scroll from Reshus ha'Rabim even if it rolled *beyond* four Amos, to prevent disgrace to Kisvei Kodesh, like Rava.


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