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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash


Updated: Nov 22, 2020

Dear Friends,

On Sunday we who are studying Daf Yomi will conclude the third Masechet, which is Masechet Eruvin. I believe that we began the Masechet in August and here we are close to Thanksgiving and we are now on the verge of completing Daf 102.

My understanding is that Masechet Eruvin, which details in hundreds of ways how we restrict our space on Shabbat. An Eruv is set in order to carry on Shabbat. The examples presented were complex. Space was discussed in detail as was how to connect spaces and create spaces that enabled people to carry outdoors and for community to be built. I will write another post which goes over some of the lessons that I recall from the Masechet, but here on this page I am writing what excited me most about the Masechet. I loved that on each page a new and unique problem involving connecting space was presented.

As we complete the Masechet I celebrate the imagination of the rabbis and swell with pride at their ability to see problems and solve them creatively and humanely. Last, but not least, as the pages progress, I am taken by the little moments of humanity that are recorded. I love to hear how the rabbis give each other such respect and that different rabbis and their personalities begin to emerge. To learn the Daf, no matter how new you are to Talmud study, is a privilege. It's like opening Forrest Gump's box of chocolates; You never know what you are going to get on any given day.

Our next Masechet is Shabbat. Is anyone interested in starting the new Daf? It takes only a few minutes a day and it immerses you in aspects of Judaism you likely don't get in your everyday life. Let me know if you would like to give it a try!

Last, here is a poem called "Imagine" which celebrates the imagination of the Rabbis.


Imagine a world still unbuilt

An expanse of trees, meadows and open air

Imagine that world without streets and homes

a world that spans endlessly outward and upward

Interrupted only by the air and the whistling wind

rivers and mountains intersect and punctuate

The world still unadorned

Now visualize that world being built stone by stone

People at work

measuring, surveying

planning and discussing

comparing and contrasting

Doors and alleyways that connect

Windows and roofs of different shapes,

Towering fences and winding staircases

Balconies that overhang hidden alcoves

Courtyards of every permutation

The most private of spots intersect

the expanse of public space

Separating, uniting

Points, lines and planes

My space bordered by your space

divided and connected

extending outward and upward

Picture it!

Space is filled

Amah by amah

tefach by tefach

Imagine adding people to these places

cities connected to towns,

Villages connected to fields

Farms far from hamlets,

Busy markets and shared courtyards

with unlimited connections to ponder

People: the young and old, Jew and non Jew

Women, men, children and animals

Fill up that space

Spaces mirror

the people who inhabit them

and Shabbat is a frame around it all

Eruvin is the poetry of space

the intersection of imagination and architecture

Connections conceived

Community united with space

Both real and imagined

Space segmented and expanded

Living in harmony with that space

Eruvin is more than measuring

It is more than calculating

It is us, it is the seventh day

It holds us in the wide embrace of community

Shabbat clasped to us and us to Shabbat

Our buildings, our people, our traditions

Space both uniting and enabling

We are surrounded and enveloped

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