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Eruvin 71b – When Logic Vanishes: The Primacy of Jewish Education

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If one were to consider the importance of children’s education in the Jewish tradition, one could present a wide variety of fascinating sources. At the forefront would be the Seder, focused as it largely is on how we tell a story thousands of years old to the next generation, along with a multitude of discussions relating to how successful various characters were in Tanakh with educating their children.

Last week’s DafYomi presented us with a fascinating insight into the importance of children in our tradition, and the extent to which the halakhic world adjusts itself to ensure that their education incorporates all areas of Judaism. In a discussion as to whether the members of an alleyway, who have all contributed to a communal shituf mevo’ot to ensure that they can carry in the alleyway on Shabbat are also required to create an eruv hatzeirot for each separate courtyard, the gemara stated as follows (Eruvin 71b).

מְעָרְבִין בַּחֲצֵירוֹת וּמִשְׁתַּתְּפִין בְּמָבוֹי שֶׁלֹּא לְשַׁכֵּחַ תּוֹרַת עֵירוּב מִן הַתִּינוֹקוֹת, שֶׁיֹּאמְרוּ: אֲבוֹתֵינוּ לֹא עֵירְבוּ, דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי מֵאִיר. וַחֲכָמִים אוֹמְרִים: אוֹ מְעָרְבִין אוֹ מִשְׁתַּתְּפִין.

Why does one establish an eiruv between courtyards and also merge the courtyards that open into an alleyway? It is so as not to cause the halakhic category of eiruv to be forgotten by the children, as if a merging of alleyways alone were used, the children would later say: Our fathers never established an........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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