The Nearly Invisible Wires That Enclose Nearly All Major Cities of The World

Unbeknownst to many, there are translucent fishing lines that wrap hundreds of cities around the world. On utility poles and lamp posts, above pedestrian heads and on the roofs of homes, these wires are barely visible and hardly affect the lives of millions of people living in these cities. But for Orthodox Jews, these imperceptible strings, running for dozens of miles, mark an important religious boundary that allows devoted people to maintain their faith.

The strings mark the boundary of a ritualistic enclosure called an eruv, within which observant Jews may perform certain duties that are not permitted outside the home during the Sabbath. These duties are often mundane, such as using a stroller to carry house keys, tissues, medicines, or children around, but necessary enough to function in life. So observing the rules of the Sabbath not only interferes with life but also prevents the Jews from fulfilling their religious duties. For example, families with young children who use prams and pushchairs, or the physically disabled, who use wheelchairs, are effectively housebound. They can't even go to the synagogue.

A section of an earuv in Manhattan, New York.

So Jews hang strings around their neighborhood to create an enclosed space, because according to Jewish law, an enclosed space is considered a private domain. Within this private area – the Iruv – Orthodox Jews may carry objects or push prams or wheelchairs, or otherwise observe the same Sabbath rules that they would do in their homes.

In ancient times, the Iruv enclosed courtyards with many Jewish homes and often a synagogue. Sometimes physical boundaries such as walls, enclosures and roads were considered to enclose an area of ​​land. In the past many communities and entire cities were walled off, making it possible for observers to walk on Shabbat, as no one is ever leaving their domain.

As communities grew, it became impossible to contain them within the walls. So he started erecting pillars and strings to enclose an area, because for all intents and purposes, a piece of string is only as good as a wall. how? Well, a wall can be a wall even if it has multiple doors that create large open spaces, which means a wall doesn't have to be solid. So a string with two poles can be taken as a gate in the range. So the whole "wall" is a series of "gates".

Irvs are everywhere, from Melbourne to Manhattan, from Toronto to Tel Aviv. They are regularly checked to ensure their integrity. The organizations that carry out these checks and repairs have either a telephone number or a website where one can check whether the eRuv is in working condition. The cost of maintaining an eeruv that is often bred by synagogues in the area. For example, in large cities like New York, this can equate to a decent amount.

There have also been all kinds of controversies centered around the creation of the Iruvs. Jewish communities have to obtain permission from the municipality or council before forming an eruv. Sometimes they are refused. Then, even within the observant community, there are some who believe that the Iruvs are merely flaws that the rabbis devised to bring around the prohibition of observing the Sabbath, and over the validity of these insignificant limits. raise questions.

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