Monday, September 01, 2003

Another Perek!

Hadran Alach HaMotzei Tefillin (10th perek bavli eruvin)!

In the *first* perek, on 11b, Rav Chisda makes the statement:

"Amar Rav Chisda: tzurat hapesach sheAsaah min hatzad, lo asah velo klum.
VeAmar Rav Chisda: tzurat hapesach sheamru tzricha shetehei briah kedai lehaamid bah delet, vaafilu delet shel kashin."

"Rav Chisda said, a tzurat hapesach that was made (with the crossbeam) from the side, he has not accomplished anything. And Rav Chisda said, the tzuras hapesach that they spoke of must be strong enough to support a door, even (if only) a door made of straw."

The stama degemara, on 11a-b extends Rav Chisda's statement regarding tzurat hapesach from the side, to explain a dispute between R Yochanan and Resh Lakish about whether a specific tzurat hapesach good for kilayim was good for Shabbat as well. R Yochanan agrees with Rav Chisda and Resh Lakish argues, they posit.

The stama distinguishes between a tzurat hapesach from the side, and one placed atop the sideposts, and between one stretching accross 10 amot or less, and one across a gap of more than 10 amot. The assumption throughout is that a tzurat hapesach on top the sideposts would be more likely to be good than one placed on the side. (This assumption seems born out by the fact that Rav Chisda criticizes a tzurat hapesach from the side, which only leaves a tzurat habesach al gabo as the only other alternative).

In practice, we paskin like Rav Chisda (and R Yochanan). If you see the eruv strings atop a pole, they do not connect the string from the side of one pole to the side of another. They perch something on the the poles and stretch the wire from the top of one pole to the top of the next.

However, in yerushalmi eruvin, 1:9, we have a different statement, also connected with the question whether "peah" (= tzurat hapesach. it is woven vines) can save from a gap greater than 10 amot, and is contrasting the laws of peah by Shabbos and by kilaim. There, the gemara states,

"R Yona says, R Hoshaya asks, this peah on what was it said - on top (milemaalan) or from the side. If you say *from on top, certainly *from the side, but if you say *from the side, then *from on top no."

Thus, the gemara seems to say (against Rav Chisda) that from the side is more likely to be good than on top. So, if we are to make distinctions for the dispute between Rav Yochanan and Resh Lakish, according to this gemara we should have made from the side good and from on top bad.

We fix this problem by switching all the "from on tops" and "from the side" that I put asteriks next to above. As a result, the yerushalmi says the opposite of what it originally said. A little girsology, if you will.

However, when you have two girsaot and one is the more difficult one, it is safer to assume the more difficult one is more original, because the flow of textual change will tend to be from difficult reading to easy reading. In this case, this reading is changed based on the Vilna Gaon's girsa in Kilaim, though it is not clear whether he actually found this girsa or "fixed it" based on Rav Chisda/stama in the Bavli.

We actually have exactly the same girsa in Kilaim, that from the side is better than on top, and that is corrected by the Gra's girsa. So, we have two yerushalmis testifying to a reading against the Bavli, and both are corrected based on the Gra.

What about the Bavli's version of Kilaim? There is no Bavli on Kilaim! (So, perhaps the stama did not have this to refer to, to make the distinction.) If so, perhaps R Yochanan would not favor the tzurat hapesach on top at all. And, based on the logic of all the gemaras involved, the one he would choose would be to the exclusion of the other. If so, all of our current eruvs would be invalid, since the wire is on the top and not on the side. (On the other hand, perhaps we can hold like Resh Lakish in which case both on top and the side would be fine.)

Is this a machloket bavli/yerushalmi? Perhaps. On the other hand, on Bavli's side we clearly have rav Chisda, but the major force of R Yochanan is based on a stama degemara, whereas in the two yerushalmis we have explicit statements by Amoraim, so perhaps we should paskin like yerushalmi amoraim over bavli savoraim. (In general, we assume Bavli wins out because the chatimat habavli was later so they saw the material in the yerushalmi and if they say different it is because they decided against it. However, the savoraic layer is well past Rav Ashi who was sof horaah and seems in instances not to have seen the yerushalmi, so if we can establish that the Amoraim of the bavli agreed with the yerushalmi, perhaps we should rule like the yerushalmi/amoraim).

All this is not definitive proof, for we could always claim that the Vilna Gaon has the correct girsa. Further, this is just a first approach to the relevant sugyot. Perhaps I will have something more definitive in a few months...

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