Monday, October 10, 2005

Rav Moshe zt"l and the Walking Stick

The detractors of eruvin have always claimed that when Hagaon Harav Moshe Feinstein zt”l stated that there is no reshus harabbim today because we rely on the heter of shishim ribo (Igros Moshe, O.C. 3:94, 5:24:10), he certainly did not mean Boro Park or Flatbush. The most illuminating of all his teshuvos is this final one on the issue, regarding a blind woman using a walking stick on Shabbos (ibid., vol. 8, O.C. 5:19). Rav Moshe ends this teshuvah by stating that today we rely on the fact that there is almost no true reshus harabbim. In Kovetz Am HaTorah (1986 no. 11), where this teshuvah was first printed, it clearly states that this woman lived in Boro Park. This very important fact was purposefully omitted from the teshuvah when Igros Moshe volume 8 was printed posthumously!






* Note the omission of the woman’s place of residence.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The Overwhelming Majority of Rishonim Maintain Lo Asu Rabbim U’Mevatlei Mechitzta

Some think they understand the Rishonim better than the Bais Ephraim and the Gedolie H’Achronim, and that more Rishonim paskin asu rabbim. Therefore, to address this misconception we will list the overwhelming majority of Rishonim who pasken lo asu rabbim: 1. Tosfos (see Bais Ephraim, p. 39b and Avnei Nezer 276:2) 2. Rabeinu Chananel (see Ravyah p. 321) 3. Rambam (17:10, 17:33 and in Mishnayos, Eruvin 2:4) 4. Maggid Mishnah (ibid.) 5. Hagaos Maimones (ibid., basra 9) 6. Ravyah (p. 270) 7. HaEshkol (Eruvin siman 55) 8. Sefer HaBattim (perek 13) 9. Tosfas Ysheinim (Shabbos 6b) 10. Or Zarua (Eruvin 33b) 11. Piskei Mahrach Or Zarua (Eruvin Perek 2 ois 57) 12. Ramak (as cited in Hagaos Ashri, 20b) 13. Rabeinu Chananel Ben Shmuel (Eruvin 22a) 14. Rivevan (Eruvin 22a) 15. Tosfos Rid (Eruvin 22a, and in Piskei 20a) 16. Piskei Ri’az (2:1:6) 17. Sefer HaMeoros (Eruvin 17b).

More so, the Raved, Rabeinu Yonasan, Rashba (who quotes the Raved), Ran, Ramban (see Gaon Yaakov, Eruvin 6), and Meiri (Eruvin 20, 22a) maintain that if we have mechitzos that are omed merubeh al ha’parutz (as opposed to shem daled mechitzos), even Rav Yehudah would agree lo asu rabbim (this was only realized when the aforementioned Rishonim’s Chiddushim were published). [From this we see that the Bais Ephraim and the Chazon Ish were guided min hashomayim. They stated that only the Ritva explicitly states Yerushalyim was omed merubeh al ha’parutz and we pasken asu rabbim like Rav Yehudah which is not contradicted by any of the Rishonim discovered recently.]

The Overwhelming Majority of Achronim Maintain Lo Asu Rabbim U’Mevatlei Mechitzta

Once walls are omed merubeh al haparutz [that is, more than 50 percent of the length of each side must actually consist of a wall] on three sides, nearly all poskim maintain that the multitudes [rabbim] do not negate the enclosure, lo asu rabbim u’mevatlei mechitzta.

What follows is a list of the Achronim who paskin lo asu rabbim u’mevatlei mechitzta: Chacham Tzvi, siman 5, 37; Knesset Yechezkal, siman 2:3; Mayim Rabim, siman 34-36; Maharit Tzahalon, siman 251; Tosfos Shabbos, siman 363; Pri Megadim, Rosh Yoseph, Shabbos 6b; Even HaOzer, Eruvin 6b, 22a; Bais Ephraim, O.C. 26; Noda B’Yehudah, O.C. Mahadura Tinyana, 42 and Teshuvah M’Ahavah, siman 112; She’eilas Yaavetz, siman 7 and Mor U’Ketziyah, siman 363; Shulchan Aruch HaRav, O.C. 363:42, 364:4 and Kuntres Achron, O.C. 345:2; Keren Oreh, Eruvin 7a; Michtam L’David, siman 1; Tiferes Tzvi, siman 11; Chasam Sofer, O.C. 89; HaEleph Lecha Shlomo, siman 181; Aishel Avraham, siman 345; Chai Adam, klal 71:15; Gaon Yaakov, Eruvin 11a, 21a; Chesed L’Avraham, siman 39; Maharham Shick, O.C. 171, 181; Maharia HaLevi, siman 94; Bais Shlomo, siman 43, 51; Tzemach Tzedek, Shabbos 100a and Eruvin, the end of Perek 5; Nefesh Chayah, siman 25; Avnei Nezer, O.C. 273:16, 279:2, 289:2; Aruch HaShulchan, O.C. 364:1; Maharsham, 3:188, 9:18; Yeshuos Malko, siman 21; Harei B’samim, 5:73; Imrei Yosher, siman 102 and Minchas Pitim, siman 364; Kaf HaChaim, O.C. 364:12; Divrei Malkiel, 3:10, 14; Rav Chaim Berlin in Tikkun Shabbos Odessa, p. 28 and in Nishmas Chaim, siman 29; Achiezer, 4:8; Even Yikrah, siman 58, and Chazon Ish, O.C. 74:10, 107:4.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Part 1: Shishim Ribo According to Hagaon Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l

Like most poskim, Rav Moshe originally maintained (Igros Moshe, O.C. 1:109) that the criterion of shishim ribo was dependent on the street having shishim ribo traversing it. However, later (ibid., 1:139:5) he formulated his chiddush in which shishim ribo when applied to a city was not dependent on a street but over a twelve mil by twelve mil area. Rav Moshe added that the criterion of shishim ribo ovrim bo would require a sizable population living and commuting into the twelve mil by twelve mil area so that it could physically satisfy the condition of 600,000 people collectively traversing its streets. When these criteria are met, the area would be classified as a reshus harabbim and a tzuras hapesach would not be adequate; dalsos at the pirtzos would be needed. However, at this time Rav Moshe did not quantifying how many people would be required to live in this twelve mil by twelve mil area.

In the first teshuvah quantifying how many people would be required to live in this twelve mil by twelve mil area, Rav Moshe stated (ibid., 4:87) that since in the past eruvin had been erected in cities with populations exceeding shishim ribo, one could not classify a city as a reshus harabbim solely on the basis of the existence of a population of 600,000. He then added that although the actual number of inhabitants could possibly vary according to the city, in Brooklyn it would most likely require four to five times shishim ribo. In the final two teshuvos which followed regarding Brooklyn we see that Rav Moshe codified his chiddush that the requirement is, "just about 3,000,000 people," (ibid., 5:28:5) or, "at least five times shishim ribo," (ibid., 5:29) which could amount to even more than 3,000,000 people. Consequently, in the Chicago eruv pamphlet (West Rogers Park Eruv, 1993 p. 23) it is stated that Rav Dovid Feinstein shlita was in agreement that according to his father's shitah there must be a minimum of 3,000,000 people in order for the city to be defined as a reshus harabbim.

It’s important to note that Rav Moshe maintained the above only regarding shsihim ribo as it applied to a city. However, with regard to a sratya [intercity road] Rav Moshe stated (ibid., 1:139:5, 4:87, 5:28:16) that the shishim ribo would have to traverse the road itself every day.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Brilliant Chiddush of the Chazon Ish

Since many people are under the impression that the Chazon Ish’s chiddush ― that there are no cities today that would be classified as a reshus harabbim ― is based only on mechitzos habatim we would like to elaborate on his approach.

The Chazon Ish (O.C. 74:10, 107:4-7) states since, me’d’Oraysa, a break in an enclosure that is omed merubeh does not negate the enclosure, when a street which continues through a city ends, either with houses or a dead end, the whole length of that street with the mechitzos habatim on both sides and its dead end would be considered omed merubeh on three sides, and me’d’Oraysa, a reshus hayachid. As a result, the intersections of that street, which were pirtzos, would halachically be termed k’omed dami, closed. Consequently, all streets that run perpendicular through this street ― which now has three mechitzos and halachically closed intersections ― would in turn be surrounded with three mechitzos themselves, their own mechitzos habatim on both sides of the street and a third wall, the omed of the intersection. This creates a spiraling effect throughout the whole city. The Chazon Ish concludes that there never would be in large cities a reshus harabbim because we would always find one street that is enclosed by three walls. This Chazon Ish is one of the reasons why in Eretz Yisroel eruvin are maintained (Rav Yisroel Yaakov Fisher zt”l in Even Yisroel, 8:36; Kinyan Torah, 4:40, and Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlita in Shoneh Halachos, siman 363).

The Shulchan Aruch Explained

It seems from the Shulchan Aruch (364:2) that if an area encompassed by walls meets the criteria of a reshus harabbim, it would require, at the minimum delasos reuyos l'hinael and a tzuras hapesach would not be sufficient. However, it’s important to note that the Shulchan Aruch is discussing a situation where the area is enclosed by only two mechitzos (a mavoi, see 364:1) and not a walled city. The first opinion of the Shulchan Aruch, the Rif, maintains that to be considered shem daled mechitzos the delasos would need to be neulos ba’laila. According to the second opinion even delasos reuyos l'hinael would suffice to be considered shem daled mechitzos (Rosh Yosef, Shabbos 6b; Even HaOzer, Eruvin 6a, 22a; Shulchan Aruch HaRav, siman 363:42, 364:4; Bais Ephraim, O.C. 26; Avnei Nezer, O.C. 268:4, 276:1, and Chazon Ish, siman 107:4; see also Part 1: Delasos – Me’d’Oraysa or Me’d’rabbanan).

Therefore, if an area is circumscribed with either shem daled mechitzos or three mechitzos omed merubeh al haparutz the Bais Ephraim and all the poskim who paskin like the Chachamim only require a tzuras hapesach at the pirtzos and not delasos reuyos l'hinael.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Part 1: The Truth About Warsaw

The fact that the city of Warsaw had an eruv is very important to the history of city eruvin since it’s population was greater than shishim ribo. Consequently, the heter to allow an eruv in Warsaw would allow us today to establish eruvin in all large cities. This explains the misinformation disseminated by the anti-eruv camp that the reason why an eruv was permitted in Warsaw was that the Wistula River split the cities population in two and that both sides had less than shishim ribo.

These are the facts:
Rav Shlomo Dovid Kahane zt”l (Divrei Menachem, O.C. vol. 2, pp. 42-43), one of the main rabbanim of Warsaw before World War II, posited that the heter to erect an eruv in a large city such as Warsaw, which was not walled from the year 1877 (Encyklopedia Warszawy, 1994 p. 187), was universally accepted as the streets were not mefulash u’mechuvanim m’shaar l’shaar. More so, he claimed, a small city would have a greater problem establishing an eruv since its streets would be mefulash. In a small city there is usually one main street running straight through the center of the town as opposed to a large city where the streets are generally not straight from city gate to city gate. From the year 1900 Warsaw had a population of more than shishim ribo on one side of the Vistula River which divided the city in two ― the larger side known as Warsaw and the significantly smaller side known as Praga (Rocznik Statystyczny Warszawy 1921 i 1922, 1924 p. 14).