• An eruv in rabbinic texts refers to the ritual of having a communal food that was set aside during Shabbat, symbolizing community cohesion.
  • Falsely credited to King Solomon, but more likely originated in Amoraic period
  • There are 3 types of eruvim:
    1. eruv hasterot (of courtyards), concerning shituf mevoot (shared hallways)
    2. eruv thumim (distance)
    3. eruv tavshilin (cooking)
  • The most relevant is the eruv hasterot because the typical structure of the Mediterranean was a building or series of homes that shared a courtyard.
  • The intent of the eruv is create a unified and peaceful community defined by interaction of Jewish neighbors, symbolized by food prepared especially to be 'deposited' for the duration of Shabbat
    • Some question of what could be contributed to the communal food. Generally agreed that any recognizable food would suffice, just not salt and water. Bread was accepted as the norm, but had to be whole loaves of bread. Would it be one loaf made with flour from all members of the community? (Moses Isserles) Or one loaf from each member? (maimonides) It was determined that one loaf with everyone's flour deemed okay. Some rabbis even said it was okay to make one loaf to suffice for the whole year.
    • where would it be deposited? In one member's household. Would that member then have to contribute as well? No, because the presence of any bread in the house symbolizes their intent.
  • The eruv effectively determined who was in the community and who was not.
  • Eruv etymology not known, possibly from meoravin "comingling" or "taarovet" blending
  • An invalid eruv: if the bread does not contain all of the members' contributed four, or one member refuses to contribute
  • Forgetting to contribute to the common food is compensated by allowing for one Jew to transfer his carrying rights to the forgetful neighbor, thus giving up his own right to carry on Shabbat. Why would he do this? To allow for something to be transported out of the forgetful's house.
    • the non-carrying Jew can still travel, just not carry, nor have anything carried into his home
    • he can carry from a valid house into the courtyard or vice versa
    • this applies only to yisrael, or authentic Jew
    • it's a mitzvah to transfer your carrying rights to a forgetful neighbor
  • Non-Jews in the neighborhood present a dilemna: How does the presence of non-Jews in a community affect the eruv?
  • Why would non-Jews even be willing to participate in this ritual?
  • An eruv cannot exist in the presence of a non-Jew unless he rents from a Jew. (bEruvim, 62b)
  • What if the neighbor refuses to "rent" to/from a Jew? (not sure what rent means, maybe meaning the non-Jew is merely 'renting' for symbolic reasons, meaning he is not really a member of the community.
    • it will look like witchcraft to the non-Jews, because they won't understand the ritual practice, which brings into question the rationality of the ritual
  • How to deal with refusal?
    • an appointed Jew should ingratiate himself with the non-Jew, but not become partners in the ritual, so that he might coax him into compliance
  • By integrating non-Jews, it furthers the intent of creating a unified community by the non-Jew's agreement to oblige, thus acknowledging a legitimate Jewish community, and emphasizing the importance of the neighborhood.
  • Importance in Diaspora because it allows for a certain amount of symbolic sovereignty in place of any real territorial control.