Monday, June 05, 2006

The Williamsburg Eruv Imbroglio Continues

Part of an ongoing commentary on the bias against city eruvin.


In the past few weeks, the anti-eruv publication Mishmeres Chomoseinu (that is published intermittently in Williamsburg) and the Yid (May 19, 2006) transcribed a speech by Rav Hillel David shlita of Flatbush that was delivered in Williamsburg this past Chol Hamoed Peasch. Rav David’s key point in support of the Williamsburg anti-eruv campaign is the matter of one’s responsibility to be mocheh against those who carry. Much can be said regarding many of the points raised by Rav David in his speech; however, to illustrate the irrationality practiced when the subject is eruvin, I will raise a few rhetorical questions.

  • Is there a requirement for one to be mocheh against those who are following the ruling of their rav who allows them to carry in the Williamsburg eruv? [Note that the Williamsburg eruv is supported by possibly the foremost halachic authority in America.]
  • Didn’t Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l maintain that when one follows one’s rav on any issue, even on issurei chilul Shabbos, albeit the halachah is not like their rav’s interpretation, no aveirah is transgressed (Igros Moshe, O.C. 1:186)? In light of this Igros Moshe, does Rav David still maintain that one should be mocheh against those who are just following the ruling of their rav?
  • If one has a chiyuv to be mocheh in matters regarding yidishkeit, why didn’t Rav David feel just as obligated when he was in Williamsburg to be mocheh against the protests maligning one of the Gedolei Hador, Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman shlita (which was spearheaded by some of the members of the Williamsburg anti-eruv camp) as he did against the eruv, especially since he referred to Rav Shteinman’s position regarding Brooklyn eruvin in that same address?
  • If Rav David has the right to preach his anti-eruv rhetoric which is in opposition to the rabbanim hamaterim, in Williamsburg, why doesn’t Rav Benzion Y. Wosner shlita ― an expert on the construction of eruvin, who was summoned by the rabbanim supporting an eruv in Flatbush (see Questions and Answers Regarding the Flatbush Eruv, p. 8) ― have the right to give a hechsher on the Flatbush eruv, despite the fact that there are rabbanim haossrim?
  • Surely there are many matters regarding yidishkeit in Flatbush that members of the Williamsburg community would protest against. Would it be appropriate for members of the Williamsburg community to protest against these perceived laxities in the Flatbush community?
  • Does Williamsburg, a neighborhood with fifty years of protest experience against issues that they maintain are important to yidishkeit, need to import a rav from Flatbush to teach them the importance of protest?

These inconsistencies ought to come as no surprise to those who have followed the bias against the establishment of city eruvin.