Friday, October 14, 2005

Daf Yomi 8a: Mavuy He'asuy Kemin Chi

What follows is an analysis of a Yerushalmi, but I build up to it:

For the following, see Bavli Eruvin 6a.
Mavuy Satum/Mefulash
One distinction made in the Tanaaitic literature is between a mavuy mefulash and a mavuy satum. A satum, or closed alleyway, is one that is closed on all sides but one. It is roughly equivalent to a dead end. The one open end leads to the public domain. A mefulash is an alleyway which provides a path through - thus, one that is open on both ends to the public domain.

For a closed alleyway, we have a ready solution - provide a korah (cross-beam) across the top of entranceway from the public domain into the alleyway, or provide a lechi (vertical post). These serve notification to people that here is a boundary between public and private domain1.

For an open alleyway, the solution is to first transform it into a closed alleyway, and that apply the fix of the closed alleyway. Some suggest this transformation would need something major, like a door (Bet Hillel according to Chanania), or even that we must place a door on both sides (Bet Shammai according to Chanania), but we rule like the Tanna Kamma that we place a tzurat hapetach, the form of a door - that is, two side posts and a post on top, on one side. The alleyway is then considered a closed alleyway, such that the fix for the closed alleyway may be applied to the other open side - either a korah or a lechi.

Mavuy Akum
Of Amoraic dispute is the status of the mavuy akum, or twisted alleyway. Once again, both entrances to the alleyway are open to the public domain, but not in the same way (see diagram). In the middle of the alleyway is a turn, a right angle. Rav says that we ignore the fact of the twist, and this alleyway has the status of mefulash. Thus, applying the rules we have for a mefulash, we make at least a tzurat hapetach (but an actual door would also work nicely) on one of the two entranceways. The alleyway would then be considered satum, closed. Thus, we place a lechi or korah at the other entranceway to the public domain.

Meanwhile, Shmuel holds that the twisted alleyway has the status of a closed alleyway, as if one walks from an entrance in a straight line, he will hit a wall. Anything past the right angle does not count in terms of making it a mefulash, or open alleyway. Since it already has the status of a closed alleyway, if one wants to fix the alleyway so that he can carry, he can focus on the leg of the twisted alleyway which he desires to fix, and place a korah or lechi at the entranceway leading to the public domain. If one wishes to render the other leg, another closed alleyway, acceptable, he would place a korah or lechi at the other leg's entranceway to the public domain.

(Some might find a problem in that each leg is now breached to a domain other than its own (the other leg), and would fix it by some mechanism, say a korah. But let us leave this alone, and assume it is not necessary.)

Since we rule like Rav over Shmuel in cases of prohibitions, we rule here like Rav that the twisted alleyway is considered open, and so one must first render it closed with a tzurat hapetach, and then fix this closed alleyway via a korah or lechi on the other side.

Mavuy He'Asuy KeNadal (Eruvin 8b):
This is an alleyway constructed like a centipede - it has a body and many legs. See the diagram. In the diagram, we have one mefulash - the horizontal line represents an alleyway which opens on both ends to the public domain. Branching off at right angles to this open alleyway are a group of closed alleyways - closed in the sense of having only one end open to the public domain, the other end leading into the horizontal open alleyway, such that if one would walk straight he would hit the side wall of the open alleyway. If he makes a right or left turn, though, he could exit to the public domain.

The dispute between Rav and Shmuel repeats itself here, but between Abaye and Rava. Since Shmuel maintains that a crooked alleyway is considered closed, we have here one open alleyway (the horizontal) and several closed alleyways (the vertical). Thus, for the horizontal, open alleyway, we put a tzurat hapetach on one side and a korah or lechi on the other. For each vertical, closed alleyway, we put a lechi or a korah at the end. Abaye maintains this, and is consistent with Shmuel.

Rava, meanwhile, holds like Rav, who maintained that a crooked alleyway is considered open. Therefore, one korah or lechi is allowed in the entire alleyway complex, and every other entrance must have a tzurat hapetach. For if you can trace a path from one korah to another, you have an open alleyway with no tzurat hapetach on one side.

We rule like Rav over Shmuel, and like Rava over Abaye.

Mavuy Akum Umefulash (Yerushalmi Eruvin 3b)
The Yerushalmi details a dispute between Rabbi Yochanan and Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish about a crooked and open alleyway. One might imagine that this is one shaped like a T, such that the horizontal head of the T is the "open" alleyway and the vertical leg is a "closed" alleyway branching off of it, but we should rather imagine it shaped like an L, as above - two "closed" alleyways intersecting, such that the entire alleyway complex has two ends opening into the public domain. It is thus mefulash (by having two ends opening into the public domain) and akum (by having a right angle).
מבוי עקום ומפולש
רבי יוחנן אומר נותן לחי וקורה מיכן ועושה צורת פתח מיכן
ריש לקיש אמר נותן לחי או קורה ומתיר
A crooked and open alleyway:
Rabbi Yochanan says: we place a lechi or korah on one side and a tzurat hapetach on the other side.
Resh Lakish said: We place a lechi or korah and permit.
What Resh Lakish means is that each closed alleyway is for itself, and can be permitted via a lechi or korah. Since we have two legs, each one needs a lechi or korah for itself. Rabbi Yochanan maintains this is a single alleyway, and gets a tzurat hapetach on one side and a lechi or korah on the other side.

Those who would read Resh Lakish as referring to a korah placed at the diagonal where the two closed alleyways intersect (an issue mentioned earlier) are mistaken, and are forced into this explanation because of a mistaken reading we will get to shortly.

It should be readily apparant that Rav and Rabbi Yochanan are of the same opinion, as are Shmuel and Resh Lakish. The Yerushalmi notes this (4a): רב ושמואל רב כר"י ושמואל כר"ל.

Mavuy HeAsuy Kemin Ki
Yerushalmi 4b discusses a distinction between Rabbi Yochanan and Resh Lakish:

מה נפק מביניהון
היה עשוי כמין כי
ר' יוחנן אמר נותן לחי וקורה מיכן ועושה צורת פתח מיכן
ריש לקיש אמר אפילו כמה קורות אינן מתירין אותו
What is the practical distinction between them?
If it was made in the form of a ki.
Rabbi Yochanan said: He places a lechi or korah on one side and makes a tzurat hapetach on the other side.
Resh Lakish said: Even many korot would not permit it.
The meforshim understand this as an alleyway constructed in the form of a כ or a ח. This is strange in the first place because it does not state כ or ח but rather כי. Rabbi Yochanan is easy to understand: this is the same as before - a lechi or korah on one end leading to the public domain, and a tzurat hapetach on the other. But Resh Lakish: Why would many korot not help? Place one korah at each entrance to the public domain, to fix the legs. And the middle alleyway does not lead on either side to the public domain - let them carry up to the diagonal, as before (see gemara)!

This leads the meforshim to think that the korah about which Resh Lakish speaks is placed on the diagonals, to cut off one alleyway from the next. This causes a reinterpretation of his previous statement about the L shaped alleyway, an interpretation I alluded to above. And here, since there are 3 alleyways in the complex, Resh Lakish will not permit via use of korahs on the diagonals.

This is very forced, and this is because it is false.

In fact, this case is not about an alleyway shaped like a כ or a ח. Which leads us to the true case:

Mavuy He'Asuy KeMin Chi
As in the Greek letter Chi. The letter's name is pronounced khi, the kh as the "c" in "cool." It looks like X. (The reason our X is pronounced /ks/ is that this was the pronunciation of Chi in some Western Greek dialects. (Meanwhile, there is another Greek letter Xi, pronounced ksee, with a difference orthography - it was not written X - that typically produced the ks sound.)

The vowel in the word כי was not chirik but rather patach, to produce the diphthong ay. An alleyway that looks like an X, or, say, +, is two open alleyways which intersect at right angles.

Another thing we need to do before proceeding is switch the opinions of Rabbi Yochanan and Resh Lakish. This switching of opinions is very often done by the likes of the Vilna Gaon, the Korban HaEda, and Penei Moshe, because of errors in transcription.

I claim that the opinions were accidentally reversed here for two reasons.
1) The scribe did not understand the case, because he did not understand the reference to the Greek letter Chi.
2) By changing it around, Rabbi Yochanan is made to say the same thing in both cases: נותן לחי וקורה מיכן ועושה צורת פתח מיכן.

Now, the analysis.
Resh Lakish says you place a lechi on one side and a korah on the other. This is true for each of the two open alleyways. Resh Lakish holds that you do not worry about what is past the right angle, so we deal with two independent open alleyways.

Meanwhile, Rabbi Yochanan said: Even many korot would not permit it.

That is, anytime you have more than a single korah in the entire complex, you cannot permit it, because a right angle does not cut off one alleyway from another. Thus, as Rava said in the case of the nadal in the Bavli, if you can trace a path from one korah to another korah, you have an open alleyway that does not have a tzurat hapetach on both sides. The only solution - put a tzurat hapetach on each opening except one. Thus, Rabbi Yochanan is saying that even though you place many korot, one on each open alleyway, with a tzurat hapetach on the other side, it will not be permitted.

Then, one is not forced to read כי as כ or ח, and one is not forced to read some foreign position about the necessity of a korah on the diagonal into Resh Lakish in the simple case of the crooked alleyway, and one is not forced to read an even stranger interpretation into the case of the כ about why said korot would not work. Instead, one recognizes the reference to ancient Greek orthography and sees the direct parallel between Rabbi Yochanan and Rava.

Mavuy He'Asuy Kemin Xi
Another possibility I initially considered was that it referred to the Greek letter Xi. However, this letter is pronounced ksee, so one would have needed to add a samech into our texts. An ancient Greek Xi does not look like the modern Greek Ξ - rather, picture something like a I . (In fact, going on about samechs, people trace Greek Xi to Phoenician samech, which looks more or less the same.) The three horizontal lines represent open alleyways leading into the public domain. The single vertical line merely connects these three alleyways together.

One could then read the gemara as I proposed above - flip Rabbi Yochanan and Resh Lakish as before, and here we have a case even closer to the Bavli's nadal, except here all alleyways are open.

Resh Lakish would say we should place a korah or lechi on one side, and a tzurat hapetach on the other - and do this for each of the three open alleyways, not concerning ourselves with the other.
Rabbi Yochanan would say that the three korahs on one side (with tzurat hapetach on the other) would not suffice, for we can trace a path from one korah to the next, through various right angles. Rather, we may only have one korah in the entire complex.

But Chi is more likely the case. Read the Yerushalmi yourself, and decide how this can or cannot fit into the context of the gemara.

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