QUESTION: As the Rav Huna explains, it is not permitted to carry a bucket
from a well (which is a Reshus ha'Yachid) to one's house (also a Reshus
ha'Yachid) if the two are separated by a Reshus ha'Rabim, unless the well
is bounded by a ten-Tefach high pile of dirt. When there is a pile of
dirt, the bucket does not pass through Reshus ha'Rabim at all, since the
pile necessitates lifting the bucket ten Tefachim high in the air while
transferring it, and ten Tefachim above a Reshus ha'Rabim is considered a
Mekom Petur; not a Reshus ha'Rabim.
The Gemara clearly takes it for granted that it is not permitted to carry
from one Reshus ha'Yachid to another through Reshus ha'Rabim. Why is that
so? The Mishnah in Shabbos 96a tells us that it is only prohibited to
transfer along the *length* of Reshus ha'Rabim; not from one side of it to
another, as in our case!
Apparently, the cause of the prohibition in our Sugya has nothing to do
with the first Reshus ha'Yachid. Rather, it should be prohibited
mid'Rabanan to carry from Reshus ha'Rabim to Reshus ha'Yachid, even if the
object did not *rest* in the Reshus ha'Rabim, and it is only *passing
through it* while being held in the person's hand.
But why should even that be prohibited? In what way is it different from
the case of the scroll being read on the roof that rolled open, but did
not reach the floor of Reshus ha'Rabim (Eruvin 97b)? Or the case of the
scroll being read on a Karmelis, which rolled open into a Reshus ha'Rabim?
In both cases, since (1) one side of the scroll was in his hand, and (2)
the other side did not land in a place that would be Asur mid'Oraisa to
carry to (had the first end *not* been in his hand), we permit the person
to return the scroll to its original place -- whether it is a holy scroll
or not (see Eruvin 103a). In the case of our Gemara also, we should permit
carrying the bucket through Reshus ha'Rabim (without laying it down there)
into Reshus ha'Yachid, since (1) the bucket is in his hand in either case,
and (2) it never was in a place to which one may not carry mid'Oraisa,
since it was only in the *airspace* of Reshus ha'Rabim and not on the
(a) The RASHBA answers that this Sugya follows the opinion of Rebbi Akiva,
that "Kelutah k'Mi she'Hunchah" -- passing an object through the airspace
of Reshus ha'Rabim is equivalent to laying the object on the ground of
Reshus ha'Rabim (see Eruvin 98b Rashi DH Toch). Therefore, the second
condition has not been met; the object is indeed in a place to which one
may not carry *mid'Oraisa*, even when it is only passing *through the air*
of Reshus ha'Rabim.
(b) The RITVA answers that we must be more stringent with carrying a
bucket full of water over Reshus ha'Rabim than with other objects, since
the bucket is probably being held at the end of a long string. There is
reason to suspect that the string will be so long, it will nearly reach
the floor of Reshus ha'Rabim, and he will momentarily let the bucket rest
while passing it through the Reshus ha'Rabim. (Therefore he must pass it
through Reshus ha'Rabim higher than 10 Tefachim in the air, as prescribed
by the Mishnah, so that it certainly won't reach the ground).
(c) The BACH (OC 354) answers that it is only permitted *b'Di'eved* to
return a scroll to its original place if it has *accidentally* fallen into
another Reshus. It is not permitted to intentionally unroll the scroll
into the other Reshus, and then re-roll it! If so, it should not be
permitted to intentionally reach out into the well in order to carry,
l'Chatchilah, the water to his house.
(The other Rishonim may have considered the case of the well, too, to be
b'Di'eved, since the water was *drawn* from the well in an entirely
permissible manner (since the one drawing it is also in Reshus ha'Yachid).
Returning it, then, through a Reshus ha'Rabim to his house, is considered
carrying through Reshus ha'Rabim *b'Di'eved* and not l'Chatchilah -- M.