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Sunday, September 06, 2020

Bad Legal Takes does Talmud

There are reports of protesters in D.C. trying to keep media from recording the demonstrations, including by assigning "minders" to keep reporters from getting too close and using open umbrellas to keep them from seeing.

In response to a reminder that they are in a public space, this legal scholar argues that "by using umbrellas to surround themselves they are creating a quasi-private space for themselves and if in that atmosphere say they do not wish to be filmed they could win a lawsuit."

(Almost certainly) unknowingly, this genius invoked the concept of the eiruv, which is the subject of the current tractate in Daf Yomi (the 7 1/2-year cycle of reading one page of Talmud a day). An eiruv establishes a broader private domain in which Jewish people can carry on Shabbat by connecting multiple private domains into a single private domain through a series of markers and partitions. The Talmud establishes specific and complex rules as to what is sufficient to establish an eiruv. I am quite sure a raised umbrella does not qualify.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on September 6, 2020 at 03:36 PM in Howard Wasserman, Religion | Permalink


Yep. One of my favorite explanations of this is this Third Circuit decision (https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-3rd-circuit/1114058.html) holding that a municipality violated the First Amendment by applying an ordinance prohibiting hanging signs on public streets to the eruiv that the Orthodox community sought to establish. The non-Jewish Judge who wrote the opinion keeps a copy of the Pentateuch in chambers and began with an explanation of eruivs.

Posted by: Howard Wasserman | Sep 11, 2020 4:37:53 PM

This was why all the ribbons and tapes were strung around Greater Sitka, Alaska, in Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policeman's Union, right?

Posted by: Mark Regan | Sep 11, 2020 4:25:51 PM

My mother, who was raised in Lakewood, NJ told us stories of string and ribbon strung between trees for blocks and blocks to create eiruv in Lakewood and in NYC.
Early wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year.

Posted by: Paul Sonnenfeld | Sep 8, 2020 5:43:04 PM

It was a a joke. But the joke was that the umbrellas created the eiruv.

Posted by: Professor Howard M. Wasserman | Sep 6, 2020 6:37:13 PM

Looks like a job for a social worker


Posted by: thegreatdisappointment | Sep 6, 2020 6:11:32 PM

Also, who is raising the umbrellas? An eiruv has to exist before it is possible to carry around umbrellas, and opening them up is not allowed on Shabbat within or without the eiruv!

Posted by: EB | Sep 6, 2020 4:48:56 PM

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