Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Part 2: The Achiezer Explained

Continued from The Achiezer Explained Part I

It has been said that the only reason the Achiezer allowed an eruv in Paris was because it was circumscribed on its parameter by three mechitzos and a partial mechitzah on the fourth side. Since there was an additional third of a mechitzah on the fourth side, they claim Paris was in reality enclosed with shem daled mechitzos [four double-posts each at least an amah wide and ten tefachim in height forming the corners of a square]. In this case, all would agree that we pasken lo asu rabbim u’mevatlei mechitzta. However with merely three mechitzos, the Achiezer would not have allowed an eruv (only delasos) since he would maintain that Paris would still be classified as a reshus harabbim. This, however, is another excuse after the fact. The Achiezer does not mention a word about there being shem daled mechitzos in Paris and there is no evidence from the Achiezer’s words that there was an additional amah on both ends of the three mechitzos (so that they would be considered shem daled mechitzos) only that there was a third of a mechitzah on one side. (Additionally, since the fourth side was parutz merubeh al haomed we would then say asi avira d’hay gisa u’d’hay gisa u’mevatel lei and this third of a mechitzah would be of no value.) The only reason that the Achiezer mentioned that there is an additional third of a mechitzah is because there would be that much less to rectify with a tzuras hapesach. It is important to note that this is a non issue in Brooklyn, since in any case the mechitzos encompassing Brooklyn comprise of pasei bira’os in all four corners and therefore they are considered shem daled mechitzos. More so the Brooklyn eruv is superior to the one that they were going to establish in Paris since it has, with the batim, omed merubeh on the fourth side as well.

Additionally, some declare that the reason the Achiezer allowed the bridges to be rectified with a tzuras hapesach was because the pirtzos were only ten amos wide, but if they were sixteen amos (according to Rav Avrohom Chaim Noeh, that is approximately 24 feet and according to the Chazon Ish, about 32 feet) he would require delasos. This is fiction. If a pirtza of sixteen amos would have been of concern to the Achiezer he definitely would have mentioned that an eruv was allowed because there were no pirtzos sixteen amos wide either. More so, there were bridges in Paris that were much more than sixteen amos such as: Pont d'Austerlitz, 98.4251969 feet; Pont Saint Louis, 52.4934383 feet; Pont du Carrousel, 108.2677165 feet, and Pont d'IĆ©na, 114.8293963 feet. Most importantly, this assumption is not an issue at all since no one paskens that pirtzos of sixteen amos negate a mechitzah because it is not a shiur pirtza only a shiur reshus harabbim (see Pirtzos, Biblical or Rabbinical proscription?).

Some assert that since the Chazon Ish was involved in the Paris eruv and the Achiezer did not employ the Chazon Ish’s chiddush it is proof that the Achiezer did not agree with him. This is indicative of the length the anti-eruv group would go to invent stories. The Achiezer didn’t live in Paris, so in all probability he only knew what they told him. The most logical thing he would have wanted to rely on was facts like mechitzos (mechitzos ha’yam and mechitzos b’y’dai adam) not a chiddush in mechitzos like the Chazon Ish’s. Additionally, the objective in Paris was to make an eruv for the entire city so to have utilized the Chazon Ish’s chiddush he would have had to know exactly the metzios of the mechitzos habatim there. It is not a given that the Chazon Ish’s chiddush would facilitate an eruv for the whole city. It could very well be that at the outskirts of the city even the Chazon Ish’s chiddush wouldn’t be of much help.

Some even go so far and claim that since the Chazon Ish was involved in the Paris eruv and the Achiezer didn’t employ his chiddush it is proof that the Chazon Ish himself retracted his chiddush (Kovetz Bais Yitzchok, 1996). This is totally unsubstantiated. Nowhere do we see in the Chazon Ish’s writings that he retracted his chiddush. More so, the Chazon Ish employed his chiddush even after the issue of the Paris eruv in 1938. Additionally, even today all of the Chazon Ish’s talmidim uphold his chiddush which is proof that he did not retract at all (Shoneh Halachos, siman 363).

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