We Compel People to Not Comport Themselves with the Trait of
תלמוד בבלי מסכת עירובין דף מט/א
ואמר רבה בר רב הונא אמר שמואל אם עירבה רגילה לעצמו וזה שאינה רגילה בו לא עירב והיא עצמה לא עירבה דוחין אותה אצל שאינה רגילה בו וכגון זה כופין על מדת סדום.
A person's house has access to two alleys, one that made an eruv and other that did not. He himself did not participate in the one alley's eruv. Were he to retain access to that alley, he would invalidate the eruv — due to his not having participated in it. The Gemara here tells us that we compel him to make use of the alley that did not make an eruv. The Gemara says that this is because he can use the other alley with no loss. Hence, he must use the other alley, rather than causing the one alley to lose its eruv. To have made use of the one alley and render its eruv invalid would be a Sodomite trait, as the Sodomites would refuse to allow others to make use of their possessions, even if it would cause them themselves no loss (see Avos 5:10).
Some fundamental principles of We Compel People to Not Comport Themselves with the Traits of Sodom:
- We compel a person to not comport himself with the trait of
— that is, in a case in which another person (or persons) will benefit from someone else's possession, and the owner will not suffer a loss, we compel the owner to allow the others to benefit. However, this is only the law in a case in which the owner is not deprived of even a potential benefit. If the owner is being deprived of a potential benefit, even if at the moment he is not availing himself of that benefit, we cannot compel himself to allow others to benefit from his possessions for free (Yad Malachi §306 from Mordechai, Bava Kama and Rema, Choshen Mishpat 363:6). Sodom
- However, if there is no potential benefit of which the owner is being deprived, then we do compel him to not comport himself with the trait of Sodom, even if he will be caused to exert some extra effort, and even if it is possible that he may come to suffer a loss (Yad Malachi §332 from Mordechai loc. cit. and Hagahos Maimonios to the eleventh chapter of Hil. Gezeilah). [Hence, in our case, the person may be compelled to make use of the other alley even if his access through there is longer.]
- We only compel the owner not to comport himself with the trait of
if he is not using the possession in question at all. However, if he is making use of it, we cannot compel him to allow others to benefit from it for free at the same time (Yad Malachi §333 from Nimukei Yosef to Bava Kama; Maharshdam to Choshen Mishpat §446,464; R" Sodom E Sasson§129).
Finally, it is interesting to note that R' Tzadok HaKohen of