The Chatzer and Mavoi

Eiruvin (6:8) | Yisrael Bankier | 8 years ago

The chatzer is a courtyard shared by many independent dwellings and the movoi is the private alleyway onto which these shared courtyards open. Even though one would technically be allowed to carry in these areas, since they are shared domains there was a concern that people might confuse carrying from one’s house to the shared chatzer and carrying from a private domain to the public one, thereby incorrectly permitting the latter. Consequently Shlomo Hamelech decreed that no carrying would be allowed into these areas without an eiruv chatzeirot (eiruv for short) and shituf mavio (shituf for short)**respectively.

The Mishnah (6:8) discusses whether the use of one of these mechanisms can cover the other. If all residents of each of the chatzeirot made eiruvin independently and made a unified eiruv, it would not exempt them from make a shituf as well. The Gemara explains that even though only one may have sufficed, this Mishnah reflects the opinion of R’ Meir who was concerned that the younger generation will not see the other performed and forget the law. Consequently he required both an eiruv and shituf.

If however for example only one of the members of a chatzer forgot to join in the eiruv, then the shituf can cover the lack of eiruv. The reason is that since an eiruv was performed (albeit incompletely), there is no longer a concern that it will be lost. Interestingly however, the Mishnah continues, that if both eiruvin and shituf were performed, but one of the members forget to join in the shituf then the shituf is invalid, and each of the residents may only rely on their own eiruv. The question is, according to R’ Meir why does the same logic not apply? Why can we not say that since both the shituf and eiruvin were performed, there is no longer a concern that the law will be forgotten, and that the combined eiruvin will cover the lack of shituf?

The Tosfot Yom Tov answers that the case in our Mishnah is where each of the chatzeirot only opened to the mavoi and not also to the adjoining chatzer. Consequently each chatzer only performed an eiruv independently and there was no eiruv that combined them together. Since there was no mechanism to combine the chatzeirot, there was nothing that could have replaced the shituf mavoi.

R’ Yehonatan explains that if only one person had forgotten to join in the shituf then indeed the law would be the same and the combined eiruv would fill the lack of proper shituf. The case in the Mishnah however is where an entire chatzer forgot to join in the shituf. The great number missing from the shituf presents a concern that the law of shituf may become forgotten if we allow the eiruv to take its place.

Both previous answers have modified our original assumptions about the case in the Mishnah. The Tosfot Ha’Rid however explains that a combined eiruv chatzeirot cannot cover a shituf mavoi – ever. The function of a house and a protected chatzer are similar, with the keilim of a house often spilling over into the chatzer. The mavoi however, being more open and public in nature, is not used in the same way. When an eiruv chatzeirot is performed, it combines the houses of the chatzer. The chatzeirot are simply batel to the houses and combined by default. The mavoi however, since it has a different utility, is not batel to the chatzeirot and a separate shituf is required to permit carrying in it.1


1 From the answers of Rabbeinu Yehonatan and the Tosfot Ha’Rid perhaps we can see two different understanding in the workings of an eiruv chatzeirot. As we have seen explained in the Tosfot Ha’Rid, it appears that the eiruv chatzeirot combines domains. As the Tosfot Ha’Rid writes, it combines houses, making shared areas into a single one. Consequently while combining houses affects chatzeirot, it does not affect the mavoi. R’ Yehonatan however may understand that the eiruv combines the people. As the Shulchan Aruch writes, it makes it as if all the residents are eating in the one house and the chatzer thereby dedicated to that one house. With the residents combined, the eiruv chatzeirot can satisfy lack of shituf were it not for the concern that the law of shituf would be lost.

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