Torah Sparks

United Synagogue (USCJ) is proud and delighted to bring you Torah Sparks, with insights and learning materials on the Parasha (Torah portion) of the week. Torah Sparks is produced by the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Each week there will be a Dvar Torah - a discussion on some aspect of the reading, by CY faculty, alumni and friends; a Vort - a short thought from Chasidic rebbes or other thinkers about some point in the text; and Table Talk - questions to stimulate discussion on the Parsha around the Shabbat table. Torah Sparks is available here on the Conservative Yeshiva's Shiurim Online Beit Midrash website, as well as by subscription to weekly graphical emails. Please select the Parasha you would like to see - it will display articles from each year. A printable PDF is linked at the end of each week's presentation.

Eruvin

Eruvin, Chapter 1, Mishnah 1

Eruvin, Chapter One, Mishnah One   Introduction The first mishnah in Eruvin deals with the entrance to a closed alley.  As we mentioned in the introduction, Torah law allows one to carry within this alley.  However, the sages forbade this unless there is either a side-post or a cross-beam on top of the entrance.  The […]

Eruvin, Chapter 1, Mishnah 10

Eruvin, Chapter One, Mishnah Ten   Introduction  This mishnah continues to deal with setting up a partition around an encampment so that one may carry within the encampment.   Mishnah Ten 1)      They may also surround [the camp] with reeds, provided there is no [gap of] three handbreadths between one reed and the next. 2)      […]

Eruvin, Chapter 1, Mishnah 2

Eruvin, Chapter One, Mishnah Two   Introduction In this mishnah Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel debate how one validates an alley such that it is permitted to carry within it.   Mishnah Two 1)      The validation of an alley:  i)        Bet Shammai says: a side-post and a crossbeam. ii)       And Bet Hillel says: either a […]

Eruvin, Chapter 1, Mishnah 3

Eruvin, Chapter One, Mishnah Three   Introduction This mishnah discusses the size of the cross-beam about which Bet Hillel and Bet Shammai debated in yesterday’s mishnah.    Mishnah Three 1)      The cross-beam of which they spoke must be wide enough to hold a small brick (ariah), a small brick which is half of a regular […]

Eruvin, Chapter 1, Mishnah 4

Eruvin, Chapter One, Mishnah Four   Introduction This mishnah is a direct continuation of yesterday’s mishnah, in which we learned that the cross-beam needs to be wide enough to support a half-brick.   Mishnah Four Wide enough to hold a half-brick but also strong enough to support such a half-brick.   Rabbi Judah says: wide […]

Eruvin, Chapter 1, Mishnah 5

Eruvin, Chapter One, Mishnah Five   Introduction This mishnah is a continuation of Rabbi Judah’s words from yesterday’s mishnah.  Rabbi Judah held that the cross-beam need not actually be strong enough to support a half-brick.    Mishnah Five 1)      If [the cross-beam] was made of straw or reeds, we look at it as if it […]

Eruvin, Chapter 1, Mishnah 6

Eruvin, Chapter One, Mishnah Six   Introduction The mishnah now begins to talk about side-posts (see mishnayot one and two) and their minimum measurements.    Mishnah Six The side-posts of which they spoke [must be no less than] ten hand-breadths in height, but their width and thickness may be of any size whatsoever. Rabbi Yose […]

Eruvin, Chapter 1, Mishnah 7

Eruvin, Chapter One, Mishnah Seven   Introduction This mishnah discusses the material which can be used to make the side-posts.   Mishnah Seven 1)      One may make the side-posts out of anything, even something that is alive. a)      But Rabbi Yose prohibits this. 2)      It also causes defilement as the covering of a tomb, a)      […]

Eruvin, Chapter 1, Mishnah 8

Eruvin, Chapter One, Mishnah Eight   Introduction This mishnah deals with the conditions under which members of a traveling caravan may carry.   Mishnah Eight If a caravan camped in a valley and it was surrounded by the instruments used for the cattle it is permissible to move objects within it, provided [the instruments] form […]

Eruvin, Chapter 1, Mishnah 9

Eruvin, Chapter One, Mishnah Nine   Introduction In yesterday’s mishnah we learned that a caravan that finds itself on Shabbat in a valley (which really just means any uninhabited area) may surround themselves with their cattle instruments to form a makeshift fence which allows them to carry within the fenced-in area.  One condition for this […]

Eruvin, Chapter 10, Mishnah 1

Eruvin, Chapter Ten, Mishnah One   Introduction The final chapter of Eruvin is a sort of appendix to all of tractates Shabbat and Eruvin.  It contains assorted rules which deal with both topics.  Today’s and tomorrow’s mishnah deals with a person who finds a pair of tefillin in the public domain and wishes to bring […]

Eruvin, Chapter 10, Mishnah 10

Eruvin, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Ten   Introduction This mishnah deals with a bolt or type of peg that they would use to lock a door. The bolt has a knob on one end of it, which makes it possible to do other types of work (for instance grinding) with the contraption.   Mishnah Ten 1)      […]

Eruvin, Chapter 10, Mishnah 11

Eruvin, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Eleven   Introduction This mishnah continues to deal with bolts, this time referring to a bolt that does not have a knob on it.    Mishnah Eleven 1)      A bolt that drags along the ground:  it is permitted to lock [a door] with it in the Temple but not in the […]

Eruvin, Chapter 10, Mishnah 12

Eruvin, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Twelve   Introduction This mishnah discusses a hinge that has fallen off a door and whether or not one may reinsert it on Shabbat.  The language and structure of this mishnah closely follows yesterday’s mishnah.    Mishnah Twelve 1)      A lower hinge [of a door] may be reinserted in the Temple […]

Eruvin, Chapter 10, Mishnah 13

Eruvin, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Thirteen   Introduction There are three independent sections to this mishnah.  What is common to all three is that they mention actions which are permitted on Shabbat in the Temple but not permitted outside of it.  As we learned in the previous two mishnayot, in the Temple certain rabbinic prohibitions are […]

Eruvin, Chapter 10, Mishnah 14

Eruvin, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Fourteen   Introduction This mishnah continues to deal with things which may be done on Shabbat in the Temple but not outside of it.   Mishnah Fourteen 1)      A priest who was wounded in his finger may wrap some reed-grass round it in the Temple but not in the country.    […]

Eruvin, Chapter 10, Mishnah 15

Eruvin, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Fifteen   Introduction The final mishnah deals with removing a dead creeping thing, which is a primary source of impurity, from the Temple.    Mishnah Fifteen 1)      If a [dead] creeping thing was found in the Temple, a priest should carry it out in his girdle in order not to keep […]

Eruvin, Chapter 10, Mishnah 2

Eruvin, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Two   Introduction This mishnah is a continuation of yesterday’s mishnah, in which we discussed carrying tefillin in from the public domain.   Mishnah Two 1)      Rabbi Shimon says: he should pass them [the tefillin] to his fellow and his fellow should pass them to his fellow, and so on, until […]

Eruvin, Chapter 10, Mishnah 3

Eruvin, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Three   Introduction This mishnah deals with a person who was reading a scroll while in one domain and the end of the scroll rolled out of his hand and went into another domain.  He is left holding only one end of the scroll. The question is:  can he roll it […]

Eruvin, Chapter 10, Mishnah 4

Eruvin, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Four   Introduction This mishnah contains two independent mishnayot. The first deals with a ledge in front of a window and the second deals with a person standing in one domain and moving objects in another.    Mishnah Four 1)      If there was a ledge in front of a window it […]

Eruvin, Chapter 10, Mishnah 5

Eruvin, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Five   Introduction This mishnah deals with moving body fluids, urine and spit, from one domain to the other.   Mishnah Five 1)      A man may not stand in a private domain and urinate in a public domain or in a public domain and urinate in a private domain, and similarly […]

Eruvin, Chapter 10, Mishnah 6

Eruvin, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Six   Introduction This mishnah deals with standing in one domain and drinking from another.    Mishnah Six 1)      A man may not stand in a private domain and drink in the public domain or stand in a public domain and drink in a private domain unless he puts his head […]

Eruvin, Chapter 10, Mishnah 7

Eruvin, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Seven   Introduction This mishnah deals with drawing water from a nearby cistern into a house or pouring water out from a house into a nearby garbage heap.  In both cases this is allowed so long as both areas are private domains.      Mishnah Seven 1)      If a cistern in a […]

Eruvin, Chapter 10, Mishnah 8

Eruvin, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Eight   Introduction The first part of this mishnah deals with carrying below the branches of a tree and sitting on a tree’s roots.  The second part of the mishnah deals with setting up a make-shift door.    Mishnah Eight 1)      If a tree overshadows the ground:  if its branches are […]

Eruvin, Chapter 10, Mishnah 9

Eruvin, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Nine   Introduction This mishnah deals with standing in one domain and opening a door in another domain.    Mishnah Nine 1)      A man may not stand in a private domain and open a door in the public domain, or in the public domain and open a door in a private […]

Eruvin, Chapter 2, Mishnah 1

Eruvin, Chapter Two, Mishnah One   Introduction A well ten handbreadths deep which is found in the public domain is considered to be a private domain, and hence one is not allowed to draw water from the well on Shabbat.  Our mishnah teaches that the rabbis allowed people to make a special arrangement around the […]

Eruvin, Chapter 2, Mishnah 2

Eruvin, Chapter Two, Mishnah Two   Introduction This mishnah continues yesterday’s discussion of the enclosure around the well.  Yesterday we talked about the posts set up to enclose the space.  Today we talk about the proximity of the posts to the well itself.    Mishnah Two 1)      It is permitted to bring [the posts] close […]

Eruvin, Chapter 2, Mishnah 3

Eruvin, Chapter Two, Mishnah Three   Introduction In yesterday’s mishnah we saw that there is no limit to how large the enclosure around the well may be, so long as the gaps are kept to a certain minimum.  In today’s mishnah, which is a direct continuation of yesterday’s, we will learn that this was the […]

Eruvin, Chapter 2, Mishnah 4

Eruvin, Chapter Two, Mishnah Four   Introduction The first section of this mishnah deals with a situation where a public road cuts through the enclosure around the well.  The second section, which is the conclusion to the Mishnah’s discussion of this enclosure, teaches which types of wells and cisterns may be surrounded with this type […]

Eruvin, Chapter 2, Mishnah 5

Eruvin, Chapter Two, Mishnah Five   Introduction In mishnah three we learned that the maximum size of a garden or karpaf (enclosed area for storing wood) within which one may carry on Shabbat is two bet se’ah, or 5000 square cubits, the size of the mishkan (tabernacle) which was 100 cubits by 50 cubits.  Our […]

Eruvin, Chapter 2, Mishnah 6

Eruvin, Chapter Two, Mishnah Six   Introduction In this mishnah Rabbi Ilai transmits three halakhot in the name of Rabbi Eliezer, the first two dealing with the topic of eruvin and the third dealing with the identification of bitter herbs for Pesach.  The structure of this mishnah is similar to that which we encountered in […]

Eruvin, Chapter 3, Mishnah 1

Eruvin, Chapter Three, Mishnah One   Introduction This mishnah begins to discuss how one sets up an eruv (either for a courtyard or to extend the Shabbat border) or shittuf mavoi (alleyway partnership).  An “eruv” refers to the common meal shared by those who share a courtyard and a “shittuf mavoi” is the common meal […]

Eruvin, Chapter 3, Mishnah 2

Eruvin, Chapter Three, Mishnah Two   Introduction The first section of this mishnah deals with foods that may or may not be used to set up an eruv. The second section deals with sending an eruv (a meal) with an agent.   Mishnah Two 1)      They may make an eruv with demai (doubtfully tithed produce), […]

Eruvin, Chapter 3, Mishnah 3

Eruvin, Chapter Three, Mishnah Three   Introduction This mishnah deals with an eruv that was put somewhere where he might not be able to retrieve it.  To help in understanding this mishnah I should explain that the eruv must be accessible and existent at twilight (between sunset and darkness) when Shabbat begins.  This is the […]

Eruvin, Chapter 3, Mishnah 4

Eruvin, Chapter Three, Mishnah Four   Introduction This mishnah discusses an eruv (a meal) which was set up before Shabbat but then something happened to it such that it became unattainable, inedible or in some other way invalid.  The question is, is the eruv still effective?   Mishnah Four 1)      [An eruv] which rolled away […]

Eruvin, Chapter 3, Mishnah 5

Eruvin, Chapter Three, Mishnah Five   Introduction This mishnah deals with a person who puts an eruv on both sides of the town, because he doesn’t know whether he will need to go to the west or to the east.  Normally, a person cannot make two eruvin and have them both be effective, because a […]

Eruvin, Chapter 3, Mishnah 6

Eruvin, Chapter Three, Mishnah Six   Introduction This mishnah deals with setting up a Shabbat border eruv for two consecutive days, one of which is Shabbat the other of which is a festival.  As an aside, we learn in this mishnah that just as it is prohibited to go beyond the Shabbat border (2000 cubits) […]

Eruvin, Chapter 3, Mishnah 7

Eruvin, Chapter Three, Mishnah Seven   Introduction In the time of the Mishnah, every Hebrew month had either 28 or 29 days, but people would not know before the end of the month how many days any given month had.  This was decided by the testimony of witnesses who would come to the court in […]

Eruvin, Chapter 3, Mishnah 8

Eruvin, Chapter Three, Mishnah Eight   Introduction In yesterday’s mishnah we learned that according to Rabbi Judah, a person may make make two separate eruvin for the two days of Rosh Hashanah because they are distinct entities.  In today’s mishnah we learn other halakhot concerning the two days of Rosh Hashanah, which Rabbi Judah considers […]

Eruvin, Chapter 3, Mishnah 9

Eruvin, Chapter Three, Mishnah Nine   Introduction In the previous mishnayot we learned that the sages and Rabbi Judah debate whether or not one day of Rosh Hashanah is the real day and the other is only observed because we don’t know which day Rosh Hashanah really is, or whether both days of Rosh Hashanah […]

Eruvin, Chapter 4, Mishnah 1

Eruvin, Chapter Four, Mishnah One   Introduction We have already learned several times that it is forbidden to go beyond a Shabbat border of 2000 cubits, measured from where a person is or the town in which he is in when Shabbat begins.  Our mishnah deals with a person who finds himself against his will […]

Eruvin, Chapter 4, Mishnah 10

Eruvin, Chapter Four, Mishnah Ten   Introduction Our mishnah deals with two towns which are located in close proximity to one another (within 4000 cubits), and the people from one town customarily set up an eruv so that they can get to the other town on Shabbat.   Mishnah Ten  1)      One who left to […]

Eruvin, Chapter 4, Mishnah 11

Eruvin, Chapter Four, Mishnah Eleven   Introduction The first section of this mishnah deals with someone who goes beyond the Shabbat limit without having permission to do so. The second mishnah deals with someone who is just outside the city’s Shabbat limits on Friday when dusk comes.  In both cases the issue at hand is […]

Eruvin, Chapter 4, Mishnah 2

Eruvin, Chapter Four, Mishnah Two   Introduction In yesterday’s mishnah we learned about a person who set sail (against his will) on Shabbat.  Today we learn about a person who docks on Shabbat, and whether or not he may disembark.   Mishnah Two Once they did not enter the harbor until dusk [on Shabbat eve].  […]

Eruvin, Chapter 4, Mishnah 3

Eruvin, Chapter Four, Mishnah Three   Introduction A court may give someone permission to go beyond the Shabbat limit so that he can go to Jerusalem to testify that he saw the new moon, or so that he may go somewher to save property from marauders.  Our mishnah deals with a person who was given […]

Eruvin, Chapter 4, Mishnah 4

Eruvin, Chapter Four, Mishnah Four   Introduction One who is walking on a road and arrives within 2000 cubits of the city by dusk and intends to spend Shabbat in the city, is considered as a resident of the town and may walk throughout it and 2000 cubits around it, even though he didn’t get […]

Eruvin, Chapter 4, Mishnah 5

Eruvin, Chapter Four, Mishnah Five   Introduction This mishnah deals with someone who fell asleep on the road on Friday afternoon and then woke up after nightfall.  This traveller did not intend to spend Shabbat in the place where he was when Shabbat began and therefore we will see that the sages disagree over whether […]

Eruvin, Chapter 4, Mishnah 6

Eruvin, Chapter Four, Mishnah Six   Introduction This mishnah deals with several people who are traveling on the road, fall asleep and wake up after Shabbat has begun, the situation described in yesterday’s mishnah.    Mishnah Six 1)      Two men, some of whose cubits enter into the cubits of the other, may bring their meals […]

Eruvin, Chapter 4, Mishnah 7

Eruvin, Chapter Four, Mishnah Seven   Introduction This mishnah discusses a person who doesn’t make it back to his town before Shabbat begins, but arrives at a place where he recognizes a tree or a fence within 2000 cubits from his town.   Mishnah Seven 1)      One who was on a journey and it became […]

Eruvin, Chapter 4, Mishnah 8

Eruvin, Chapter Four, Mishnah Eight   Introduction In this mishnah we learn of a debate concerning the measuring of the 2000 cubits which a person may walk on Shabbat.    Mishnah Eight If he does not recognize [any tree or fence], or if he is not familiar with the halakhah, and said, “Let my present […]

Eruvin, Chapter 4, Mishnah 9

Eruvin, Chapter Four, Mishnah Nine   Introduction In today’s mishnah we see another essential debate about how the Shabbat border eruv works.  The debate is whether one has to put a meal in the place which he wants to establish as his Shabbat place, or whether his physical presence in that place is sufficient.   […]

Eruvin, Chapter 5, Mishnah 1

Eruvin, Chapter Five, Mishnah One   Introduction The Hebrew word for “extensions” here is the same word used to extend the month (from 28 to 29 days) and to extend the year (from 12 to 13 months).  The “extensions” to the city are critical when figuring out how far the Shabbat limit goes.  Before we […]

Eruvin, Chapter 5, Mishnah 2

Eruvin, Chapter Five, Mishnah Two   Introduction A karpaf is a field used for storing wood.  Its typical size is seventy cubits and a fraction long.  In our mishnah the sages debate whether the size of a town is automatically extended by a karpaf.    Mishnah Two 1)      They give a karpaf [as an extension] […]

Eruvin, Chapter 5, Mishnah 3

Eruvin, Chapter Five, Mishnah Three   Introduction This mishnah deals with three villages in the shape of a triangle.  If they are close enough to each other they can be treated as one village, and one eruv can be set for all three and the Shabbat border is drawn around all three.   Mishnah Three […]

Eruvin, Chapter 5, Mishnah 4

Eruvin, Chapter Five, Mishnah Four   Introduction This mishnah discusses how they actually go out and measure the Shabbat limit.   Mishnah Four 1)      They measure the Shabbat limit only with a rope fifty cubits long, neither less nor more. 2)      And one should measure only while holding the end of the rope on a […]

Eruvin, Chapter 5, Mishnah 5

Eruvin, Chapter Five, Mishnah Five   Introduction This mishnah continues to deal with measuring the Shabbat limit.   Mishnah Five 1)      They measure [the Shabbat limit] only through an expert.    2)      If he extended the limit at one point and limited it at another, they observe the place where he extended it.    3)      […]

Eruvin, Chapter 5, Mishnah 6

Eruvin, Chapter Five, Mishnah Six   Introduction This mishnah does not seem to have anything to do with our chapter.  The previous mishnayot discussed measuring the city in order to determine the Shabbat border.  The topic is therefore “eruvei techumin”—Shabbat border eruvin which allow one to travel an added 2000 cubits outside of the city.  […]

Eruvin, Chapter 5, Mishnah 7

Eruvin, Chapter Five, Mishnah Seven   Introduction This mishnah returns to the subject of Shabbat border eruvin.   Mishnah Seven 1)      If one was in the east and said to his son, “Prepare for me an eruv in the west”, or if he was in the west and he said to his son, “Prepare for […]

Eruvin, Chapter 5, Mishnah 8

Eruvin, Chapter Five, Mishnah Eight   Introduction The wording of our mishnah is somewhat difficult, and the talmudic sages already recognized different versions.  However, the different versions are usually explained the same way.  All agree that one who resides in a town and begins Shabbat there can travel two thousand cubits in all directions.  However, […]

Eruvin, Chapter 5, Mishnah 9

Eruvin, Chapter Five, Mishnah Nine   Introduction This mishnah is a direct continuation of the second clause of yesterday’s mishnah.  To remind ourselves, Rabbi Akiva and the Sages had a debate concerning a person in one city who places his eruv in another city which is within the Shabbat border of his own city.  According […]

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Learn one Mishnah each day with the Conservative Yeshiva's Mishnah Yomit, prepared by faculty member Dr. Joshua Kulp.