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May One Rely on the Rabbi’s Eiruv Tavshillin?

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Sources, Opinions and Halacha

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From a talk I gave at the Kinus Torah in Congregation Levy Yitzchok in Los Angeles this Tuesday night.
As is known, when Yom Tov coincides with Erev Shabbat, the sages enacted that for one to cook on Yom Tov for Shabbat, one must make an Eiruv Tavshillin. This involves setting aside a cooked food as well as a baked loaf of matzah or challah and reciting a bracha along with a paragraph which explains the concept of Eiruv Tavshillin. Without the Eiruv Tavshillin one would not be allowed to prepare on Yomtov for the following day of Shabbat.
Reasons for Eiruv Tavshillin
The Talmud[1] gives two reasons as to why the sages enacted this mitzvah:
·          Rava says it is to ensure that one set aside a nice portion of food for Shabbat. Since it is a mitzvah to feast on Yom Tov, the sages were concerned that one might consume all the food on Yom Tov and leave none for Shabbat. When one makes an Eiruv Tavshillin, however, one is designating some food for Shabbat in advance. This will also remind them that they must keep some of the food they prepare, for Shabbat as well.
·          Rav Ashi says that the reason for the Eiruv Tavshillin is to ensure that people not think they may cook on Yom Tov for the next day when the next day is a weekday. When one has to make an Eiruv Tavshillin, however, one realizes that on a Yom Tov that precedes a weekday when an Eiruv Tavshillin is not made, one is not allowed to cook for the next day.
Scriptural Sources
The Talmud[2] cites two verses as an asmachta (Biblical support) for this mitzvah:
  • The Torah says, “Remember the Shabbat in order to sanctify it.”[3] Since it is not necessary to exhort one to remember something unless he is liable to forget it, this verse cannot be referring to an ordinary Shabbat as there is no reason to forget that. Rather, it must be referring to a Shabbat following Yom Tov, which one is liable to forget (i.e., disregard) and the Torah is instructing us to remember it – by making an Eiruv Tavshillin.
  • Regarding the Friday when the Manna fell in the desert for the first time, the Torah says, “Cook that which you wish to cook and bake that which you wish to bake.”[4] (The point of the verse is that they must prepare their Shabbat food on Friday and not on Shabbat.) Some of these words seem superfluous as it could have said “Cook and bake today.” The verse is therefore interpreted to mean that on some Fridays (i.e., when it coincides with Yom Tov), one may only cook if they have already cooked (i.e., set aside the food as an Eiruv Tavshillin), and one may only bake if they have already baked (and set it aside as the Eiruv Tavshillin.)
Matching the Verses
The commentaries explain[5] that the first verse which focuses of remembering, and thus honoring the Shabbat, coincides with the opinion of Rava, that the purpose of the Eiruv Tavshillin is to ensure that Shabbat not be neglected. Whereas the second verse which focuses on the prohibition of cooking and baking without an Eiruv Tavshillin coincides with the opinion of Rav Ashi who says that without an Eiruv Tavshillin it is forbidden to cook or bake as this might lead to cooking or baking on Yom Tov for a weekday.
Law for Cooking on Yom Tov for the Next Day
Elsewhere the Talmud[6] discusses the following question: How did the sages permit one to cook on Yom Tov for the sake of Shabbat after making an Eiruv Tavshillin if it is forbidden by Torah law to cook on Yom Tov for the next day? There are two opinions as to how to answer this question:
·         Rabbah’s opinion is that, by Torah law, one may cook on any Yom Tov for the next day as long as the food will be edible to eat on Yom Tov, either for himself or his potential guests. By Rabbinic law it is forbidden as the sages didn’t want people to spend their Yamim Tovim cooking and preparing for the following day(s). But since it is not possible to cook on Shabbat, the sages permitted to cook for it on the Yom Tov that immediately precedes it, provided they make an Eiruv Tavshillin.[7] It is noteworthy that, according to this opinion, which is accepted in Halacha, one may only cook with an Eiruv Tavshillin if the food will be ready to eat on Yom Tov itself but not if it will only be cooked after Shabbat begin.[8]
·         Rav Chisda is of the opinion that the Torah law only forbids cooking on Yom Tov for the following day if it is a weekday but, if it is Shabbat, such cooking is not forbidden by Torah law. The rabbis however forbade it unless one makes an Eiruv Tavshillin for fear that cooking for Shabbat might lead to cooking for a weekday.
It seems clear that Rav Chisda follows the reasoning of Rav Ashi given above, that the purpose of the Eiruv Tavshillin is to ensure that one not cook on Yom Tov for a regular weekday.
Rabbah, on the other hand does not specify as to the exact purpose of the Eiruv Tavshillin.  He may very well accept both of the explanations given above (by Rava and Rav Ashi) as valid reasons for this mitzvah.
On Behalf of a City
The Talmud says[9] there were several rabbis who would make an Eiruv Tavshillin for their city. Specifically,
·         The father of Shmuel would make one for the entire city of Naharda’ah.
·         Rav Ami and Rav Assi would make one for the entire city of Tiberius.
·         And Rav Yaakov bar Idi would make one for the members of his city.[10]
When recounting this event, the Talmud says that Rav Yaakov bar Idi announced that whoever did not yet make an Eiruv could rely on him. It does not specify that the father of Shmuel, Rav Ami or Rav Assi made this announcement. The commentaries say[11] that, the latter rabbis would always make one for the entire city. Thus, the matter was well known, and they had no need to announce it. Since Rav Yaakov bar Idi did not do this regularly, thus when he did do so, he needed to let the people know so that they would be able to rely on him. (It is not clear why Rav Yaakov bar Idi did not do this regularly.[12])
Who Can Rely?
The Talmud goes on to tell the following story: There was a blind sage who used to teach the Mishnayot in front of Mar Shmuel. On one Yom Tov Shmuel saw that he was sad. He asked him why, to which the blind sage responded that he had forgotten to make an Eiruv Tavshillin. Shmuel told him that he could rely on his Eiruv (in Aramaic – Semoch adidi) which he had made for the entire city. The next year, he once again saw him sad on Yom Tov. The sage explained that he had again forgotten to make an Eiruv Tavshillin. This time Shmuel told him that he was considered negligent. And that, although Shmuel had made an Eiruv Tavshillin, only the other members of the city could rely on it, but that the blind sage could not.
There are three opinions among the commentaries as to why the blind sage could not rely on Shmuel’s Eiruv:
1)      Rashi says that when Shmuel made the Eiruv, he did not intend to include people who were neglectful or who purposefully disregarded the words of the sages. Thus, when the sage forgot the first time he was included as it was considered a simple mistake. But when he forgot again, this showed that he was careless, and he was therefore not included. The Rashba[13] extrapolates this position further and explains that if the rabbi of the city specifically intends to include even the careless people, they would be included.
2)      The Rosh says[14] that the Eiruv made by the rabbi of the city does not include people who were careless and did not make their own Eiruv. The later commentaries explain that according to the Rosh, even if the rabbi of the city intended to include the careless people, the Eiruv would not cover them as the sages intended for every person to make his own Eiruv and not rely on one made by someone else. Relying on the rabbi of the city is reserved for those who did not forget to make their own in a negligent manner. (This means if one completely forgot he is not considered negligent [the first time – see below]. But if one remembered and delayed doing it and then forgot later he may be considered negligent.)
3)      The Ran explains[15] that when Shmuel saw the blind sage was sad, he realized that the sage did not intend to be included in Shmuel’s Eiruv. So Shmuel told him that indeed he didn’t intend to include neglectful people who didn’t want to be included in his Eiruv. This means that, the first time it occurred, although the blind sage did not intend to be included in Shmuel’s Eiruv, Shmuel still had him in mind because the sage was not neglectful. But the next time, because the sage was considered neglectful and because he didn’t intend to be covered by Shmuel’s Eiruv, he was not included.
The Interpretation of the Ba’al HaMa’or
The Ba’al HaMao’r[16] (Rabbi Zerachiah HaLevi of 12th- century Spain and France) gave a novel interpretation of this Gemara. He writes that if the rabbi of the city makes an Eiruv for the members of the city, it includes all members of that city. The blind sage was from a different city and had come to Naharda’ah using an Eiruv Techumin (this is an Eiruv which makes it permissible to walk up to 2,000 amot outside of the Shabbat boundaries). Such a person is not included in the rabbi’s Eiruv as the Talmud states earlier “Up until where?… Up until the Shabbat boundary (Techum Shabbat.)
When Shmuel said to him “Semoch adidi,” he didn’t mean “rely on my Eiruv” but rather “rely on me and eat in my house.” When he saw, however, that the next year he had once again forgotten to make an Eiruv Tavshillin, he refused to invite him as he didn’t want to provide a meal to a person who was neglectful in the observance of the mitzvot. This concept is expressed earlier in the Talmud[17] where it says that one need not send food to one who could have made an Eiruv Tavshillin but did not.
Thus, according to the Ba’al HaMa’or, any member of the city may rely on the Eiruv Tavshillin made by the city’s rabbi, even in the first place.
Understanding the Rambam
It is possible that the Rambam interpreted the story according to the Ba’al HaMa’or as he does not mention[18] any limitation at all on relying on the Eiruv Tavshillin of the rabbi of the city.
Relying on the Rabbi in the First Place
In contrast to the Rambam, the Rosh writes[19] that one may not plan to rely on the rabbi’s Eiruv as the sages wanted every person to make his own Eiruv. He adds that one who planned to rely on the rabbi of the city is considered to be negligent and may not make use of that Eiruv. This is the accepted halacha[20] with the exception of an unlearned person who mistakenly thought that it is permissible to rely on the rabbi’s Eiruv.[21]
The Basis of the Argument
The Aruch HaShulchan explains the underlying basis for the opinion of the Rosh who says that one may not plan to rely on the rabbi’s Eiruv. As explained above, there are two reasons given for the enactment to make an Eiruv Tavshillin: one, in order that the food for Shabbat not be forgotten, and two, so that people not think one may cook on Yom Tov for a weekday. When a rabbi makes an Eiruv on behalf of an entire city, this accomplishes the second of these goals but not the first.
When the rabbi makes an Eiruv, and the community knows about it, this reminds them that without an Eiruv they may not cook for the next day. As a result of this they will realize that one may never cook for a weekday as an Eiruv cannot be made for a weekday.
As far as keeping food for Shabbat, however, the rabbi’s Eiruv is of little consequence. How will the food in the rabbi’s house, which is certainly not enough to feed his townspeople, remind them to not consume their food on Yom Tov but rather save some for Shabbat?
We can now understand the basis for the disagreement between the Rambam and the Rosh. The Rambam[22] only cites the reason of Rav Ashi as to why one must make an Eiruv Tavshillin (so that one not mistakenly think one may cook for a weekday).[23] Since this is accomplished by the Eiruv of the rabbi, one may rely on it, even in the first place.
The Rosh however,[24] cites both of the reasons for the Eiruv Tavshillin (as does the Alter Rebbe in his Shulchan Aruch[25]). Therefore, since an Eiruv made by the town’s rabbi does not serve as a reminder to set aside food for Shabbat, one may not plan to rely on it. (Nevertheless, the rabbi’s Eiruv is sufficient for one who didn’t make an Eiruv for reasons beyond his control since it does accomplish the other goal. In addition, to a certain extent it also accomplishes the goal of reminding people to set aside food for Shabbat. Since, knowing that the rabbi had to set aside food for the Eiruv can act as a reminder to the townspeople to do the same.)
A Once in a Lifetime Heter
The Mishnah Berurah (22) writes that, according to the Rosh, one who forgets to make an Eiruv the first time may rely on the rabbi’s Eiruv. But if one forgets a second time, he is considered negligent and thus may not rely on the rabbi’s Eiruv. This is based on the story of the blind sage where Shmuel didn’t allow him to rely on his Eiruv after he had forgotten a second time.[26]
Although the Alter Rebbe doesn’t write this here explicitly, he does cite it elsewhere in his Shulchan Aruch.[27] It is therefore clear that he agrees with this. It is possible that the reason he doesn’t specify it here is that the style of the Alter Rebbe is to not write explicitly that which was not expressly stated by the poskim who preceded him.[28]
Wishing you a Joyous Yom Tov and a Shabbat Shalom UMevorach!

[1] Beitzah, 15b
[2] Ibid
[3] Exodus, 20:8. This verse is cited by Shmuel
[4] Ibid, 16:23
[5] Likutei Sichot vol. 16 page 186 based on Rashi D.H. Zochreihu on Beitzah ibid
[6] Pesachim 46b
[7] Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 527:1
[8] Shulchan Aruch HaRav, ibid
[9] Beitzah, 16b
[10] The Talmud in Beitzah does not specify the name of the city. But see Eiruvin 80a that Rav Yaakov bar Idi lived in Tyre (Tzor).
[11] Ran
[12] It is possible that he made this announcement the first time that he made the Eiruv on behalf of the city. And, after that it was self-understood that he would continue to do so.
[13] Responsa vol. 1, Siman 683. See also Bait Yosef, Siman 527, D.H. Aval Rashi
[14] Chapter 2, siman 3
[15] Top of page 9 in the pages of the Rif
[16] Page 9 in the pages of the Rif
[17] 15b
[18] In Chapter 6 of Hilchot Yom Tov
[19] Chapter 2, siman 3
[20] O.C. 527:7and Shulchan Aruch HaRav, 14
[21] Rama. But see the Mishnah Berurah 26 who cites the Rishonim who hold that one may rely on the rabbi’s Eiruv in the first place. He concludes that it is possible that, after the fact, one may rely on these opinions for the sake of the joy of Yom Tov.
[22] Hilchot Shevitat Yom Tov, 6:1
[23] As to why the Rambam only cites this explanation, see above that Rav Chisda follows this opinion. And see Chemed Moshe (beginning of Siman 527) who brings several proofs that the Rambam follows the opinion of Rav Chisdah.
[24] Chapter 2, Siman 1. It is also noteworthy that Shmuel, who was didn’t allow the blind sage to rely on his Eiruv when he was negligent is the one who cites the verse of Zachor etc. as the basis for the Eiruv Tavshillin. This verse follows the opinion of Rabbah as explained above.
[25] 527:2. It stands to reason that the Alter Rebbe cites both reasons since he rules like Rabbah (see above) who can hold of both reasons for the enactment of an Eiruv Tavshillin as explained above.
[26] See Piskei Teshuvot 527:8 that some say that the Mishnah Berurah means that one may not rely on the rabbi’s Eiruv if he forgot twice in a row. But see Rashi on the story of the blind sage that it happened on consecutive Rosh HaShanahs. In that case there would have been the Eiruv Tavshillin of Sukkot and Simachat Torah in between.
[27] Yoreh De’ah, Siman 2, end of Kuntres Acharon, 5
[28] See Likutei Sichot ibid, pg. 188 and vol. 4, pg 1126 and on
Wishing you all a Chag Same’ach, a Shabbat Shalom and a Kosher and Happy Pesach!

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