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Eruvin 32b - Bent tree

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1Eruvin 32b - Bent tree Empty Eruvin 32b - Bent tree on Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:20 am

I think that the bent tree sugya in today's Daf Yomi (Eruvin 32b and after) is one of the hardest I know. I would love it if others could comment on some of the issues that confuse me. Here's one.

Rashi explains that a city is considered כמאן דמליא דמי (considered as if it's filled with dirt). He says this is because it's מוקפת ישוב מחיצות, surrounded by walls of habitation (better translation?) This is so even though Rashi acknowledges that we are talking about a reshus harabim, which has no walls: The walls are imagined because the city is inhabited. Rashi will continue to describe things this way throughout the sugya: We will call areas "private", with "mechitzos", "filled", even though Rashi will always point out that they are actually reshus harabim with none of these features.
To me, this is a remarkable idea. I can understand creating the concepts of eruvin as an extension d'rabanon of hotza'ah of Shabbos, as if you're doing something like carryiing outside. After all, both ideas are based on the same verse: A man should not go out from his place / carry out from his place on Shabbos (Shmos 16(29)). I can understand extending the concept of carrying to include techumim and "carrying" oneself.
But here we are doing more than extending. We seem to be completely ignoring the basic ideas of what is public and private, setting up a completely different set of rules for techumin. But then we turn around and start using Shabbos concepts anyhow (a private area is כמאן דמליא דמי considered as if it's filled) and applying them here. I don't get how that works.

Maybe it's just because I don't really understand what כמאן דמליא דמי means.

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