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'ERUBIN ("mingling"):

Table of Contents

The second treatise of the Mishnah Seder Mo'ed, forming an appendix to the treatise Shabbat. It contains regulations concerning three kinds of "'erub": (1) the 'erub par excellence, called also, as in the first paragraph of this treatise, "mabui" (lit. "street"), elliptically for "'erub mabui" (ch. i.-ii.); (2) "'erube teḥumin" (ch. iii.-v.); and (3) "'erube ḥaẓerot" (ch. vi.-vii. 5). These three sections are followed by miscellaneous laws concerning carrying things a distance of four cubits or more within the public domain, or from the public domain into the private domain (see Domain, Public), and vice versa (ch. viii. 6 to end cf treatise). Extraneous matters are occasionally introduced; e.g., from four things soldiers in a camp are exempt: (1) they may freely take wood for their use without becoming guilty of robbery; (2) they need not wash their hands before meals; (3) they may partake of demai; and (4) they need not prepare 'erube ḥaẓerot. The rules of 'erube teḥumin lead to the question whether the two days of New-Year should be treated as equally sacred, or as including one sacred and one non-sacred day. Rabbi Dosa b. Harkinas gives expression to the latter view by suggesting two different forms of prayer for the two days.

The following principles are met with in the Mishnah: (1) Whatever is done on behalf of another without his consent has legal force only if the action is of advantage to him; if not of advantage to him, it has no legal force (vi. 11). (2) That which is prohibited by the sages as a precaution against breakingany of the laws of the Sabbath and festivals is permitted in the sanctuary, because the sanctity of the place sufficiently secures strict obedience to the Law (x. 11-15).


The Tosefta follows, on the whole, the order of the Mishnah, but it has a different arrangement of the detailed rules. It is divided into eleven unequal chapters, viz., i., on 'erub; ii.-iii. 9, on various methods of enclosing a space in order to make it private domain; iii. 10-vii. 4, on 'erube teḥumin; vi., on measuring the "teḥum" or Sabbath-day's journey; vii. 5-ix. 17, on both 'erube teḥumin and 'erube ḥaẓerot; ix. 18—end, miscellaneous rules about carrying things around on Sabbath. The Tosefta introduces little extraneous matter. It concludes with the following remark on the quantitative relation between the Biblical text of certain precepts and the corresponding halakot of the Mishnah: "The halakot of Sabbath, festival sacrifice ["ḥagigah"], and trespass ["me'ilah"] are numerous; the Biblical text, short. They are like mountains suspended from a hair, having nothing to rest upon. . . . But the dinim and the halakot concerning divine service, cleanness and uncleanness, and marriage are numerous, and have a good support in the text of the Torah" (comp. Ḥag. i. 8 and Yer. 'Er. end).

The Gemara, both Babylonian and Palestinian, discusses the laws of the Mishnah, adding here and there detailed rules, or explaining their source. In one place the Gemara offers an instance of verbal criticism, where the two readings of the Mishnah are discussed, the one being "me'abberin" and the other "me'abberin."

The treatise contains numerous midrashic explanations of Biblical passages. The following refer to the study of the Torah:


'Er. 55a: "It [the Torah] is not in heaven" (Deut. xxx. 12); i.e., knowledge of the Torah is not acquired by proud people. 54a: "For they [the words of the Torah] shall be a graceful companion to thee; hence, turn thy mind to the Torah when thou art alone on the way." 54b: "Set thee up signs" (Jer. xxi. 21); i.e., make use of mnemonics and similar means of assisting thy memory in the study of the Torah. Ib.: "Wealth gathered in bundles shall be diminished" (Prov. xiii. 11); i.e., the wealth of the Torah, if gathered in portions too large for proper digestion, is soon lost. Whereto Raba remarks, "The scholars know this rule very well, but neglect it in practise." 21b: "New and old I have treasured up" (Cant. vii. 14 [A. V. 13]); i.e., words of the written as well as of the oral law I have treasured up. 22a: "Black as a raven" (ib. v. 11); i.e., he who suffers privations for the purpose of studying the Law is sure to succeed in his study. In 53 et seq. advice is given to the student to be meek, to be ready to teach those who desire to learn, and to recite the lesson aloud and accurately. 65a: As to the advantage of studying at night, opinions differ. Rab Judah considers the night as intended for rest and sleep, while according to Resh Lakish it is the right time for study. 53a: "Study under one teacher, and do not wander from teacher to teacher."

Of proverbs and general rules of conduct the following may be cited:

"When the wine's in, the secret's out" (65a); "three things betray a man: his purse, his cup, and his temper" ("kiso, koso, ka'aso"; 65b) "He who lowers himself is raised, by God" (13a). "Wo unto me if I displease my Maker ("Yoẓer"); wo unto me if I displease my inclination" ("yeẓer": 18a). "Part of man's praises may be said in his presence; the whole in his absence" (ib.). "A rule, apart from enumerated exceptions, does not necessarily apply to all cases contained in the general term" (27a). "It may be assumed for certain ["ḥazaẓah"] that a messenger carries out his mission" (31b). "It may be assumed for certain that a 'ḥaber' does not part with a thing not fully prepared for use" (32a).

In recommending meekness the Gemara points to the Hillelites as examples. For three years they were discussing certain problems with the Shammaites; in the end they prevailed because they were modest, and kindly disposed toward others, having due regard for the opinion of their opponents. An incident in the life of R. Akiba is related as an example of firmness in obedience to religious precepts. Akiba, when in prison, was attended by R. Joshua, who was daily supplied with a certain quantity of water for Akiba. One day the governor of the prison reduced the quantity by one-half. Akiba was then informed that there was not sufficient water to wash his hands before taking his meal. The rabbi insisted on having the water for washing his hands even at the risk of dying of thirst.

A few mathematical rules of an extremely elementary and imperfect character are given in the description of the Sabbath-day's journey: the relation of the diameter to the circumference = 1:3; the diagonal of the square to a side of it = 7:5; the square to the inscribed circle = 2:1, and to the circumscribed circle = 3:4 (76b).

  • Shulḥan 'Aruk, Oraḥ Ḥayyim, 345-416;
  • Maimonides, Yad, 'Erubin.
S. S. M. F.
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