Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Shishim Ribo According to the Achronim: A Daily Requirement or Not

There are poskim who maintain that in order to classify the street as a reshus harabbim it is sufficient that the shishim ribo traverse the street most days of the year (Maharsham, 3:188; Minchas Elazar, 3:4, and Minchas Yitzchok, 8:32:1). However other poskim accept the simple reading of the Shulchan Aruch that the shishim ribo must traverse the street every day of the year, otherwise it would not be considered a reshus harabbim (Zivchei Tezdek, siman 102; Aishel Avraham 345:3; Kinyan Torah, 4:40:7, and Igros Moshe, O.C. 1:139:5, 4:87-88, 5:28:16).

Rav Moshe zt”l also understood the literal interpretation of the Shulchan Aruch as meaning shishim ribo traversing the road itself on a daily basis (ibid., 1:139:5, 4:87, 5:28:16). Rav Moshe posits that when the Shulchan Aruch states as one of the criteria of reshus harabbim that the street has to have 600,000 people traversing it daily, the Shulchan Aruch was also referring to an intercity road where the shishim ribo would have to traverse the same section of the road daily. Additionally, Rav Moshe states (ibid., 4:88) that although at times Brooklyn’s beaches might be host to a million people, this in itself is not reason enough to prohibit an eruv of tzuras hapesachim because he concludes that according to the Shulchan Aruch the requirement is that the shishim ribo has to traverse the streets on a daily basis (see also the end of Part 3: A Critical Analysis of Rav Yisroel Hirsch’s Critique of Eruvin in Brooklyn).