In the seventh chapter (7:6) we learnt that if people wish to walk beyond the techum (two thousand amot outside the city) one person can place an eiruv techum on behalf of many people. Such a case is called shituf techumim. The first two Mishnayot in the eighth perek continue dealing with this topic.
The Mishnah explains that the person declares: “This [eiruv] is for all the residents of my city, for anyone who wishes to go to the house of mourning or the [wedding] celebration”. The declaration opens with a general clause including all the residents, then closes specifying two specific reasons.
This may be understood in a number of ways. Either, these two cases (and others similar) are the only people for which one can perform an eiruv techum. Alternatively one can perform an eiruv techum for anyone, and these two specific cases are just common examples. By looking at the commentaries on the Mishnah and the halachic conclusions we will briefly attempt to understand this Mishnah.
The Bartenura explains that these two specific cases involve the performance of a mitzvah as we have established in the Gemara, that an eiruv techum may only be employed for the performance of a mitzvah. The Bartenura therefore sees these two cases as examples of permissible reasons for performing an eiruv techum. Consequently any other cases similar would be good reasons for performing an eiruv techum. (See the Tosfot Yom Tov.)
The Tiferet Yisrael writes: “Ideally, one can only perform an eiruv [techum] for the purpose of a mitzvah, for a pleasurable stroll or out of fear, but not for a davar reshut”. It appears that he broadens that definition of davar mitzvah and includes oneg Shabbat under its banner.
The Mishnah in Pesachim (3:7) discusses a case where a person travelled on the fourteenth of Nissan and had not yet annulled his chametz and asks whether or not he must return home to annul his chametz.
“If someone travels to slaughter his korban pesach or to give his son a brit millah or to eat at an engagement party at his in-laws, and remembers that he has chametz in his house – if he can go home, remove it and return to perform the mitzvah then he must, otherwise he can suffice with annulling the chametz. If he left in order to save property from nochrim, from an over-flooded river, from bandits, from a fire, or from a ruin, he can annul the chametz in his heart. If he left lishbot shvitat reshut he must return immediately”.
The Bartenura explains that “shvitat reshut” refers to a case where a person walked to the end of the techum and stayed there till nightfall so that he could walk from that point onwards two thousand amot. It appears that one can also perform an eiruv for a davar reshut.
The Tiferet Yisrael bring the Tosfot that explain this shvitat reshut refers not to any davar reshut but, eg, for the purpose of going to celebrate Pesach at friends or relatives. It therefore appears that at least for some divrei reshut one could perform this shituf techumim. (In truth one could explain that this case is fulfilling the mitzvah of Simchat Yom Tov yet it is unclear.)
According to Halacha the Rambam (Eiruvin 7:6) writes:
“One can only perform an eiruv techum for a davar mitzvah, for example, going to a mourner’s house or to wedding celebration, or to greet his Rav or friend, etc. Or out of fear – for example, to flee from goi’im or bandits, etc. And if one does indeed perform an eiruv for none of these reasons, but rather for a davar reshut, the eiruv works.”
The Rambam rules that ideally one should only perform an eiruv for the sake of a mitzvah. His examples also suggest that he expands the definition of a davar mitzvah as greeting a friend is considered a good reason. Nevertheless some explain that this “friend” refers to a chacham from which one intends to learn Torah.
The Shulchan Aruch (415) rules similar to the Rambam yet adds the following examples: “… or if one wishes to go for a stroll on Shabbat or Yom Tov in the fields as this involves simcha and that is called a davar mitzvah.” Certainly, as the Mishnah Berurah elaborates, this refers to permissible simcha and not other forms that may contravene the laws of tzniyut or the like.
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