[Avodah] How does Prozbul work?

Akiva Miller via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Thu Sep 17 05:01:29 PDT 2015

R' Zev Sero wrote:
> An eruv does not permit carrying in a karmelis, and
> thus is not an exception to the prohibition on doing so.

My language was not precise. I apologize.

What I meant was that prior to the establishment of these d'rabanans, one
was allowed to carry from an unwalled non-thoroughfare to either a walled
area or to a major thoroughfare. But it was easy to get confused between
the general outdoors and a main road, so the general outdoors was made into
a Reshus Harabim D'rabanan, with the following exception: Whereas a Reshus
Harabim d'Oraisa requires actual walls to allow carrying, for a Reshus
Harabim d'Rabanan it is sufficient to surround an area with doorways
(tzuras hapesach).

> I don't know who prohibited carrying in a karmelis,
> but there's no reason to suppose it was Shlomo. Shlomo
> prohibited carrying in a *reshus hayachid with multiple
> owners*, and instituted eruv as a way around that
> prohibition.

I'm fuzzy on the history too. The law as I described it above may or may
not have been part of the same legislation that RZS described here. What we
have here are two distinct - but easily and often confused - d'rabanans
within the melacha of hotzaa. It doesn't really matter which came first, or
if they came together. My point was that they are excellent examples of an
exception being built into the law from the very beginning, as opposed to
Prozbul, which (if shmitas kesafim is d'rabanan) was a separate enactment
from shmitas kesafim (because if they were done at the same time, the goal
of Prozbul could have been acheived even more easily by simply not enacting
shmitas kesafim).

> (It's not an exception, it's a loophole; if you have an
> eruv then for this purpose there are no longer multiple
> owners, so the prohibition doesn't apply.)

I'm not sure if there is a rigorous definition of "loophole". (The
wikipedia article is a great place to start.) I tend to think that it is a
general pejorative to describe any leniency that one has an emotional
objection to.

Akiva Miller
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