Ask the Rabbi

  • Shabbat and Holidays
  • Eruv and Carrying

Home outside eruv


Rabbi Daniel Kirsch

Iyyar 21, 5781
Dear Rabbi, I live in a home that is approximately a 0.8 miles walk to the edge of the closest eruv. The home is about 0.5 miles as the crow flies to the eruv border, but it’s not possible to walk directly. To get to the eruv boundary I walk out of my neighborhood onto a main road that leads to the eruv. Is my home in what’s called eruv techum and where can I learn more about eruv techum? Is it permissible to walk into the eruv and then walk anywhere inside the eruv? The closest shul is about 2.7 miles after I reach the eruv. To be sure, is it correct that carrying would still be forbidden just outside the eruv? May I leave things, inside the eruv to carry, perhaps at a friends place? Sincerely, Curious About Eruvim
Shalom U'vracha, One is allowed to walk only inside his 'techum', which is 2000 amot. That is approximately one kilometer. (to be more exact- some say 2000 amot is 912 meters, some say 960, and some say 1152). Your home is 0.5 miles to the eruv border, as the crow flies. That is less than 912m. and therefore you may walk into the city. The problem is that your 912 meters end up inside the beginning of the city and there won't be enough distance to make it all the way to shul. What you can do, though, is make an eruv techumin (placing a certain amount of bread or peanut butter or other food item) and put it somewhere near the beginning of the city (possibly in your friend's house) but no more than the 912 meters from your house. Once you do that action, your new 'house' would be considered the spot of your eruv techumim inside the city. This will then give you the halachic right to walk all over the city and back to your house. You are correct in saying that outside the eruv you are forbidden to carry and inside the eruv you may carry. Finally, I will add that it is possible that you may not even need to put an eruv techumin inside the city. This would be the case if the neighborhood, in which you live, is halachically considered part of the same techum as the city in which you are going. (for instance, if there is a continuation of the houses from your house until the city and no empty space between residences). I recommend the book 'Peninei Halacha' by Rav Eliezer Melamed. (Peninei Halacha: Shabbat, chapter 30).
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