1) THE BASKET CASE
QUESTION: The Gemara cites a Beraisa that states that when one attempts to make an Eruv Techumin by hanging a basket of food above ten Tefachim on a peg that protrudes from a tree, his Eruv is not valid because he cannot take the food from that basket on Shabbos without transgressing the prohibition of Hotza'ah (carrying from the basket, which is a Reshus ha'Yachid, to Reshus ha'Rabim). If he hangs the basket of food on the tree below ten Tefachim, the Eruv is valid because he can take the food out of the basket without transferring from one Reshus to another (since everything below ten Tefachim in Reshus ha'Rabim is considered to be part of Reshus ha'Rabim).
Why is his Eruv valid in the second case? The dimensions of the basket itself are four Tefachim by four Tefachim. (This is evident from the first case, where the Beraisa considers the basket to be a Reshus ha'Yachid. A Reshus ha'Yachid must be at least four by four Tefachim.) The basket should be considered a Karmelis, like any object that is four by four Tefachim and less than ten Tefachim high), and one is prohibited mid'Rabanan to carry from a Karmelis into another Reshus on Shabbos. The Eruv should be invalid.
(a) TOSFOS answers that a usable vessel, such as a basket, cannot become a Karmelis (Tosfos 5a, DH Kan; Rashi 8a, DH Pachos). Rather, it becomes subordinate to the Reshus in which it rests. Therefore, in this case the basket becomes part of Reshus ha'Rabim.
(b) TOSFOS suggests another answer. The Beraisa follows the opinion of Rebbi, who maintains that when the Rabanan enacted Isurim d'Rabanan for Shabbos, they did not apply those Isurim during Bein ha'Shemashos (Shabbos 8b, Eruvin 32b). Since the food in the basket can be accessed during Bein ha'Shemashos (because carrying from a Karmelis to a Reshus ha'Rabim is Asur only mid'Rabanan), the Eruv is valid.
This answer is problematic. The Gemara explains that the Beraisa permits one to take food from a basket that is hanging from a tree at a point lower than ten Tefachim only because one does not thereby use the tree. He uses only "Tzidei Tzedadin," since the basket is hanging from a peg in the tree and not from the tree itself. According to Tosfos, however, even if the basket is hanging from the tree itself, only an Isur d'Rabanan is involved (the Isur of "Mishtamesh b'Ilan," using the tree). Since it is only an Isur d'Rabanan, it should be permitted during Bein ha'Shemashos, and the Eruv should be valid even if the basket is hanging from the tree itself (and not just from Tzidei Tzedadin)! (REBBI AKIVA EIGER in Gilyon Hashas; SEFER HA'KOVETZ to the Rambam, Hilchos Shabbos 24:10; and others)
REBBI AKIVA EIGER (in Tosfos Rebbi Akiva, Eruvin 3:3) answers based on the words of the BARTENURA in Eruvin (3:3). The Bartenura there explains that an act which involves only one Isur d'Rabanan is permitted Bein ha'Shemashos, but not an act which involves two Isurim d'Rabanan. Hence, according to Tosfos one is permitted to take food from the basket that hangs on a peg into Reshus ha'Rabim during Bein ha'Shemashos, because that act involves only one Isur d'Rabanan (carrying from a Karmelis into a Reshus ha'Rabim). One is not permitted to take the food from the basket when the basket hangs directly from the tree, because that act involves two Isurim d'Rabanan (carrying from a Karmelis into Reshus ha'Rabim, and using the tree). (See Rebbi Akiva Eiger, ibid., who strongly questions the Bartenura's rule from the Gemara in Eruvin 32b.)
2) AGADAH: LASHON HA'RA AND THE DOG
Rav Papa said that there is no one poorer than the dog and no one richer than the swine. RASHI explains that this refers to the ease with which those animals are able to find food.
The VILNA GA'ON (Divrei Eliyahu, Shabbos 155b) adds an allegorical explanation to this Gemara. The dog alludes to those who speak Lashon ha'Ra (see Makos 23a), since such people bark senselessly like a dog and scare people with their mouths. The swine alludes to the prohibitions of forbidden foods. Rav Papa is saying that there is no prohibition poorer than Lashon ha'Ra, meaning that there is no prohibition which is neglected as much as Lashon ha'Ra (see Bava Basra 165a). There is no one richer than the swine means that there is no prohibition that is observed as scrupulously as the prohibitions of forbidden foods. Even though both are of equal importance (and both are done with the mouth), people respect one more than the other.