Eruvin 72

Home is where the heart is?

We’ve learned that households have to contribute food to an eruv in order to be able to carry within a shared courtyard on Shabbat. But can we make an exception when family members share a courtyard and will be eating meals together? Does the shared meal count for the eruv? That’s the topic of a mishnah on today’s daf:

In the case of brothers who were eating at their father’s table and sleeping in their own houses in the same courtyard, a separate eruv contribution is required for each and every one of them.

Although the family will be eating together, because they will sleep in their own homes the rule is that the brothers must each contribute to an eruv in order to permit carrying in a shared courtyard.

The mishnah clarifies the rule:

When does this apply? When they take their eruv elsewhere in the courtyard, i.e. when the eruv is collected at the household of a different family. But if the eruv was coming to them, i.e. if it was placed in their father’s house, or if there are no other residents of the courtyard, they are not required to participate in the eruv.

The section of the mishnah limits the situations in which the initial rule applies. The brothers are required to contribute food only when the eruv is established in the home of another family. If the other families bring their contribution of food to the father’s house, the brothers are not required to make a contribution of their own. Why? Because they will eat a meal in their parent’s home and so the parent’s contribution to the eruv includes them as well. Further, if the courtyard is shared by family members only, the family is treated like a collective entity, exempting the brothers from making a contribution to the eruv.

Based upon the initial clause of the mishnah, the Gemara draws a conclusion:

Learn from this that one’s place of sleep determines the location of his residence.

In other words, if the brothers must still contribute food to the eruv, even when they eat a shared meal at their parent’s home, it must be that they are not considered to be a part of their parent’s household. Their home is defined as the place they sleep.

If this were all that the Gemara had to say on this matter, it would be free to move on to a new discussion. But this is not where the conversation ends.

Not so fast, the Gemara responds to itself, there is another way to read the mishnah which does not support this conclusion:

Rav Yehuda said that Rav said: They taught this mishna with regard to brothers who receive a portion from their father. 

Another possible reading of the mishnah is that the father is providing the brothers with food for a Shabbat meal which they will eat in their own homes. Understood this way, the mishnah does not allow us to draw a conclusion about whether sleeping (or eating, for that matter) establishes a place of residence for Shabbat.

And so, the Gemara is still seeking an answer to this basic question:

What is one’s place of residence? Rav says: the place where one eats bread. Shmuel says: one’s place of sleep.

Which answer is accepted? To find out if/how this matter is resolved you’ll have to continue reading on the next daf.

Read all of Eruvin 72 on Sefaria.

This piece originally appeared in a My Jewish Learning Daf Yomi email newsletter sent on October 20th, 2020. If you are interested in receiving the newsletter, sign up here.

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