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Eruv

The meaning of «eruv»

An eruv ([(ʔ)eˈʁuv]; Hebrew: עירוב‎, lit. 'mixture', also transliterated as eiruv or erub, plural: eruvin [(ʔ)eʁuˈvin] or eruvim), is a ritual halakhic enclosure made for the purpose of allowing activities which are normally prohibited on Shabbat (due to the prohibition of hotzaah mereshut lereshut), specifically: carrying objects from a private domain to a semi-public domain (carmelit), and transporting objects four cubits or more within a semi-public domain. The enclosure is made within some Jewish communities, especially Orthodox Jewish communities.

An eruv accomplishes this by symbolically integrating a number of private properties and spaces such as streets and sidewalks into one larger "private domain" by surrounding it with mechitzas, thereby avoiding restrictions of transferring between domains. Often a group constructing an eruv obtains a lease to the required land from a local government.[1]

An eruv allows Jews to carry, among other things, house keys, tissues, medication, or babies with them, and to use strollers and canes. The presence or absence of an eruv thus especially affects the lives of strictly observant Jews with limited mobility and those responsible for taking care of babies and young children.

In Jewish tradition it is commonly said that "carrying" is forbidden on Shabbat. Specifically, "transferring between domains" (.mw-parser-output .script-hebrew,.mw-parser-output .script-Hebr{font-family:"SBL Hebrew","SBL BibLit","Taamey Ashkenaz","Taamey Frank CLM","Frank Ruehl CLM","Ezra SIL","Ezra SIL SR","Keter Aram Tsova","Taamey David CLM","Keter YG","Shofar","David CLM","Hadasim CLM","Simple CLM","Nachlieli",Cardo,Alef,"Noto Serif Hebrew","Noto Sans Hebrew","David Libre",David,"Times New Roman",Gisha,Arial,FreeSerif,FreeSans}הוצאה מרשות לרשות‎) is considered one of the 39 categories of activity prohibited on Shabbat.

The halacha of Shabbat divides spaces into four categories:

A domain is defined as public or private based on its degree of enclosure, not its ownership.[2] The rules here are complex, and expertise is needed to apply them.

On Shabbat, it is forbidden to transfer an object from one domain to another, including from one person's house to another adjacent house. The only exception is transferring to or from a neutral domain (which is rarely relevant).

In addition, it is also forbidden to transfer an object for a distance of 4 cubits (approximately 2 metres; 7 feet) within a public domain or carmelit.

While biblical law prohibits carrying objects between private and fully public domains on Shabbat, rabbinic law extends this restriction to carrying between a private domain and a semi-public carmelit as a safeguard of the biblical law. The rabbinic prohibition of carrying between a private domain and a carmelit is relaxed whenever an eruv is in place.

The term eruv is a shortening of eruv chatzerot (עירוב חצרות‎‎), literally a "merger of [different] domains" (into a single domain). This makes carrying within the area enclosed by the eruv no different from carrying within a single private domain (such as a house owned by a single person), which is permitted.

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