Monday, May 08, 2006

Part 4c: The Permissibility of a Brooklyn Eruv According to Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l

Continued from part IVb

The only issue Rav Moshe zt”l had with the Brooklyn mechitzos was that he required delasos (Igros Moshe, O.C. 5:28:5) and as stated above, since we are erecting the tzuras hapesachim in a reshus hayachid, Rav Moshe would not have required delasos. However, regarding Manhattan, Rav Moshe stated that, based on additional shitos yechidaos (shitas haRashbah and Rabeinu Ephraim), even with mechitzos and delasos at the pirtzos, Manhattan would not be classified as a reshus hayachid (ibid., 1:39:5-6).

Even these shitos yachidaos would not affect an eruv in a Brooklyn neighborhood for the following reasons:

  • Rav Moshe only utilized these shitos in conjunction with his chiddushim regarding delasos and the similarities he noted between Manhattan and Yerushalayim (see Yerushalayim of Old and Brooklyn: A Common Thread?) to nullify the benefit the mechitzos surrounding Manhattan would have provided (ibid., 1:39:6). However, since Rav Moshe would concur that delasos are not necessary when a tzuras hapesach is established in a reshus hayachid and the issue of Yerushalayim does not concern us in Brooklyn as well (see Yerushalayim of Old and Brooklyn: A Common Thread?), there is no question that Rav Moshe would have allowed an eruv in Brooklyn in its current construction. Therefore, in regards to Brooklyn’s mechitzos, Rav Moshe only refers to his requirement of delasos and not to these shitos yachidaos (ibid., 5:28:5).
  • Rav Moshe at first stated in a teshuvah regarding Manhattan (ibid., 1:140) that he was unclear whether mefulash is considered a criterion of a reshus harabbim. On the other hand, according to those who do regard mefulash as a criterion of a reshus harabbim, since the streets of Manhattan were not mefulash the mechitzos would classify Manhattan as a reshus hayachid ― or me’d’rabbanan as a karmelis. In which case, notwithstanding these shitos yachidaos, Rav Moshe allowed that delasos at the pirtzos would be the only requirement. However, in a later teshuvah regarding Brooklyn (ibid., 5:28:7) Rav Moshe does accept that for a walled city to be classified as a reshus harabbim there is a requirement that its streets ― to be analogous to the diglei hamidbar ― would need to be mefulash u’mechuvanim m’shaar l’shaar, a criterion of a reshus harabbim (see Part 1: Why Brooklyn Is Not a Reshus HaRabbim). [This is contrary to Rav Aharon Kotler’s zt”l’s understanding of the criterion mefulash u’mechuvanim m’shaar l’shaar as being dependent solely on mechitzos and not a criterion of a reshus harabbim (see Mishnas Rav Aharon, 6:2).] Therefore, given the fact that Brooklyn is enclosed by mechitzos and its streets are not mefulash u’mechuvanim m’shaar l’shaar, Brooklyn would not be classified as a reshus harabbim at all, and Rav Moshe would agree, that these mechitzos would classify Brooklyn as a reshus hayachid, notwithstanding these shitos yachidaos. Consequently, in regards to Brooklyn, Rav Moshe only mentions that there is a requirement of delasos if Brooklyn is enclosed by mechitzos (Igros Moshe, O.C. 5:28:5). However, as explained previously, since we are erecting a tzuras hapesach only around a section of Brooklyn, delasos would not be required as well.