MISHNAH. A MAN MAY ATTACH A CONDITION TO HIS ERUV AND SAY, ‘IF FOREIGNERS CAME FROM THE EAST MY ERUV [SHALL BE THAT] OF THE WEST; [IF THEY CAME] FROM THE WEST MY ERUV [SHALL BE THAT] OF THE EAST;
That is, if I need to escape in one direction, the travel limits can be piled on into that direction.
IF THEY CAME FROM BOTH DIRECTIONS I WILL GO IN WHATEVER DIRECTION I DESIRE, AND IF THEY CAME FROM NEITHER DIRECTION I WILL BE LIKE THE PEOPLE OF MY TOWN’.
But not just running away – running to as well!
[HE MAY LIKEWISE SAY,] ‘IF THE SAGE CAME FROM THE EAST LET MY ERUV [BE THE ONE] OF THE EAST; IF FROM THE WEST LET MY ERUV [BE THE ONE] OF THE WEST; [IF A SAGE] CAME FROM EITHER DIRECTION I WILL GO IN WHATEVER DIRECTION I DESIRE, AND IF NO ONE CAME FROM EITHER DIRECTION I WILL BE LIKE THE PEOPLE OF MY TOWN’(limited to 2000 cubits in one direction).
R. JUDAH RULED: IF ONE OF THEM WAS HIS TEACHER HE MAY GO ONLY TO HIS TEACHER, BUT IF BOTH WERE HIS TEACHERS HE MAY GO IN WHATEVER DIRECTION HE PREFERS.
The rabbis say the “foreigners” one is running away form might be tax collectors. Or landlords. Run away!
What’s interesting is the retroactive element defining the shape of the travel limit. It is like a quantum field which operates in all possible states simultaneously, until it is observed and then collapses into one.