Unique, One-of-a-Kind Commentary Completed on Maseches Eruvin and Begun on Pesachim

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Rabbi Simcha Feuerman, LCSW-R, DHL, noted psychotherapist, recently completed his Psychology of the Daf commentary on Maseches Eruvin and has started Maseches Pesachim.

JCN: What inspired you to attempt to write a psychological commentary on Maseches Eruvin, of all masechtos, which would seem to be most technical and have little to do with psychology?

RSF: My father Rabbi Chaim Feuerman, Ed.D. Z”L, was a great mechanech throughout his career of more than 50 years teaching and training teachers. He believed there was enormous psychological wisdom contained within Chazal. He often would quote cutting edge educational research, and then show mekoros in Chazal. This project started as an imaginary bet between myself and my father Z”L just to see how far this concept could be taken (May it be a zechus and nachas ruach).

JCN: Give us an example of a psychological observation you can find in Eruvin.

RSF: Eruvin is an anomaly. If you think about it it is almost an entire tractate discussing a Derabanan solution to a Derabanan problem! Remember, in a true reshus harabim (public domain) it is not possible to use an Eiruv to permit carrying. An Eiruv is only effective in a semi public domain, such as a carmelis, which is only prohibited to carry in the first place medrabanan. So imagine all of this in-depth hairsplitting discussion about what could be described as an invented topic in Torah. Now of course there are meaningful answers to this, but at the very least this hints to the notion that there is much more than meets the eye going on in this fascinating masechta. Notably, the Maaseh Rokeach (Seder Moed, Eruvin, toward the end) says that there are “secrets within secrets“ contained in Maseches Eruvin.

JCN: Where can people find your Psychology of the Daf series?

RSF: It is available at no cost in several formats. In written format it is on my blog, accessible here:  

https://nefesh.org/blogs/SimchaFeuerman

It is also available in video format on these YouTube channels: 
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL91n61VdM7j5gmLbwVd9HvGkKh4ClXxJP

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL91n61VdM7j6AJ7xNYHjOxNVo5etKLndJ

It also is available as podcasts on Spotify and iTunes, just google my name and psychology of the Daf.

JCN: What is your next project?

RSF: B”eH I have started on Maseches Pesachim, which by the way, is much easier in terms of content than Eiruvin! And, should Hashem grant me the energy and time, bl”n I would love to keep this project going through the entire Daf Yomi cycle. The blog is BH gaining in readership daily with approximately 20,000 clicks a month. This is a great chizuk showing the hunger for new ways to learn, and hopefully shows one kind of hidden wisdom in the words of Chazal.