[Avodah] How does Prozbul work?

Zev Sero via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Thu Sep 17 09:58:48 PDT 2015

On 09/17/2015 08:01 AM, Akiva Miller via Avodah wrote:
> 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).

Mid'oraisa a set of four tzuros hapesach works in reshus harabim too.
It was the rabanan who said "ein me'arvim reshus harabim bekach", and
only allowed it in a karmelis.   Whether they did this at the same time
that they forbade carrying in a karmelis, I don't know.  My impression
is that it was later, because the first we hear of it is in a braisa,
and it's subject to machlokes, whereas the concept of karmelis is taken
for granted by all.

> 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

Yes, this is clear.

> (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).

You don't need to go there.   It's obvious that shmitas kesafim
midrabanan preceded Hillel, because if it hadn't then how could he
have observed the problem that resulted?  Clearly it long predated
him, presumably all the way back to the end of shmita d'oraisa, or
at least to the return from Bavel.

But  the *efficacy* of pruzbul is not Hillel's takana at all.  It's
de'oraisa (Sifri, quoted by Tosfos Gittin 36a dh Mi Ika Midi)

>> (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.

The WP article is seriously defective (WP:OR for one thing) and
needs to extensive a rewrite for me to bother with.    A loophole
is built into a wall; it's *meant* to be there.  There's nothing
pejorative about it.  An exception to a law is a case where the
law doesn't apply; a loophole is where the law *does* apply, and
this is how it applies.   It's not that an eruv permits one to
carry in a RHY with multiple owners, it's that an eruv turns it
(for this purpose) into a RHY with a single owner.

Similarly eruv techumin doesn't allow you to walk more than 2000
amos from your residence, it merely moves your residence.  That's
not an exception, it's a loophole.  If you want an example of an
exception, look to eruv tavshilin.  The chachamim, whether because
of kevod shabbos or kevod yomtov, forbade the ha'arama of cooking
for guests whom you aren't really expecting, *unless* you make an
eruv.  The eruv is an exception built into the original takana.

Zev Sero               I have a right to stand on my own defence, if you
zev at sero.name          intend to commit felony...if a robber meets me in
                        the street and commands me to surrender my purse,
                        I have a right to kill him without asking questions
                                               -- John Adams

More information about the Avodah mailing list