Eruvin 100: What Type of Jew Are You

Eruvin 100 has a discussion about Shabbat and trees. It is prohibited to climb a tree on Shabbat. However, what happens if you forget and by accident climb a tree. Do you stay there until Shabbat ends or do you come down.

To answer this question the Talmud quotes a Mishna which frankly is quite complex and abstruse. However the two opinions are beautiful. Rabbi Joshua says when confronted with a problem, stay put, refrain from acting. Mitigate. Rabbi Eliezer says act. Rabbi Joshua says to Rabbi Eliezer: You potentially will violate the prohibition of “adding to a mitzva.” Rabbi Eliezer responds to Rabbi Joshua : You are potentially “detracting from a mitzva. ” So going back to the tree: Do you sit on the branch all day similar to Rabbi Joshua’s dictum to refrain, or do you climb down ?

The question lays out the fundamental question of life. Is it better to act conservatively. Play it safe; Do no harm ; dont take chances (R. Joshua) or is it better to go down swinging; possibly do harm.

This is the guts of learning. After 100 pages of Eruvin, endless diagrams, mind twisting and complex scenarios of eruvs, partitions, spatial relations, we finally get to the question of life: Do I climb off the tree or sit like tight and hope the branch does not break.

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1 Response to Eruvin 100: What Type of Jew Are You

  1. Anonymous says:

    One of the best S.D. of 2020!

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