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My first grader and his classmates wanted to know if the Jews had/needed an Eruv in the desert.

A local Eruv expert suggested to me and his teacher that perhaps the ananei hakavod were considered walls for this purpose, making it that they could carry anywhere inside the camp. However, we have not found any source for this suggestion.

Does anyone know of any sources that discuss this?


UPDATE: Based on the comments, I want to remind everyone that the original question is posted at a first-grade level and intended to be a response to 6-7-year-olds. Therefore, it is much more open-ended than an adult would ask, because the kids don't know all of the background information. Specifically responding to a few comments:

  • @rosends

    Why didn't the mon fall on Shabbos? I thought it was because they couldn't collect it because of carrying.

    I've heard that explanation before, but there's another explanation that it's simply a reminder that Shabbos is different and special. The Torah does not say explicitly that it is due to carrying, and there also could have been other things they wanted to carry.

  • @DoubleAA

    Eruv was only instituted 480 years after the Exodus

    While they would not have had exactly the same concept as we do, the question can still be interpreted as "did they have a mechanism that would allow them to carry between tents on Shabbat?", even if that was different that what we know as an Eruv today.

  • @DoubleAA

    Rashi's understanding of Shabbat 6b indicates the desert was considered a public domain back then, but others interpret the gemara as saying that it wasn't then and is now...

    This is a complex debate (and includes discussion about defining the term "public domain" as "containing the number of people (600,000) that were in the desert" (see Maggid Mishneh), but it doesn't remove the original question, only change it a little: If you hold that it was a public domain, was there some means of carrying, or if you hold that is was not, does that mean they could carry between each other's tents without any additional restrictions?

  • @Zarka

    Why/ how would the ananei ha-kavod count as walls?

    I asked the same questions. "How" is that one of the functions of the clouds was to keep away people/animals/things that did not belong (as mentioned here). "Why" is because they could function the same as the walls of Yerushalayim, as noted in Eruvin 22a.

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  • Why didn't the mon fall on Shabbos? I thought it was because they couldn't collect it becasue of carrying.
    – rosends
    Feb 24, 2023 at 18:07
  • Why/ how would the ananei ha-kavod count as walls?
    – Zarka
    Feb 24, 2023 at 18:19
  • Eruv was only instituted 480 years after the Exodus by King Solomon, so the Jews in the desert wouldn't have even understood your question
    – Double AA
    Feb 24, 2023 at 18:41
  • Rashi's understanding of Shabbat 6b indicates the desert was considered a public domain back then, but others interpret the gemara as saying that it wasn't then and is now hebrewbooks.org/rambam.aspx?mfid=82603&rid=1401 (seemingly the dispute is just about when they were camped not when they were traveling sefaria.org/…)
    – Double AA
    Feb 24, 2023 at 18:54
  • seems similar to this question, which unfortunately didn't garner any answers Feb 24, 2023 at 19:14

1 Answer 1

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The Gemara (Shabbos 96b) says that Moshe warned the Jews not to bring any more donations from their tents for the Mishkan on Shabbos

Also, according to the second Tosafos on Gemara Shabbos, the reason why there was no Mann to be collected in the desert on Shabbos, was because of the issue of carrying on Shabbos

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  • The מן didn't fall on Shabbat so you couldn't collect it even if you tried. How does this answer the question?
    – Double AA
    Apr 17, 2023 at 13:13
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    @DoubleAA It seems that the claim is that there is a problem of carrying in the desert, and no way around it, so the מן didn't fall on Shabbat because no-one could've collected it even if it did fall.
    – magicker72
    Apr 17, 2023 at 13:20
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    @magicker72 that introduces the question of where the manna fell (within the camp or outside of it?). Presumably outside of the camp would have posed an issue, but within the camp perhaps not. There are seemingly contradictory passages on where it fell (Numbers 11:9 and Exodus 16:4). Yoma 75a reconciles them by stating that the righteous found it at the entrance to their tents with others (midlings and wicked) having to go out and search. The reasoning of Tosafoth would apply to the midlings/wicked, but perhaps not to the righteous whose manna fell within the camp. Apr 17, 2023 at 23:49

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