Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Truth About Rav Yonasan Stief zt”l and a Eruv in New York City

Since the establishment of the current Williamsburg eruv, there has been much debate regarding the opinion of the Viener Dayan, the great posek and tzadik Rav Yonasan Stief zt”l (1877 - 1958). A great deal has been alleged in Rav Yonasan’s name regarding eruvin, much of which is clearly inaccurate and was concocted way after the fact, particularly in the book Yalkut Michtavim. As usual, in their haste to prove that all the poskim were against establishing eruvin, the anti-eruv group concocts fictional stories that, upon closer examination, do not hold water. Therefore, I would like to set the record straight and present the facts chronologically.

In 1949, Rav Chaim Michoel Dov Weissmandel zt”l wrote a teshuvah to Rav Tzvi Eisenstadt zt”l in support of an eruv for Brooklyn (Toras Chemed, siman 1). He stated the following regarding Rav Yonasan:

ובענין זה יש לי עצה טובה, ידענא בי' בגברא רבא, זקן ויושב בישיבה, ובעל הוראה מפורסם ע"פ דרכי הוראה של מרן הח"ס ותלמידיו זי"ע, הגאון האמתי וצדיק תמים, מוהר"ר יונתן שטייף נ"י, שיש לו כח דהיתרא לשם שמים. טוב הדבר למעשה להכניסו בהוראה זו. גם אנכי אדבר עמו אי"ה, אמנם למעשה, טוב הדבר שגם מעכ"ת נ"י כה יעשה."

"והנני מסיים מעין הפתיחה, טוב הדבר אם מעכ"ת יכניס להוראה זו את הגאון ר' יונתן שליט"א שהוא רב בברוקלין, ועל הוראתו יסמכו ויסכימו רבים כו'. וידע כבוד הדרת גאונו נ"י, כי מלבד שהגאון הנזכר שליט"א הוא בקי גדול ומצויין בהוראה, גאון וצדיק וישיש, יש כאן טעם גדול אחר להטיל עליו את ההוראה, לפי שהוא ענותן שלא נמצא כמוהו בדור הזה לפע"ד, שפל ברך, שייף עייל נפק שלא יורה הוראה אלא בפלפול חברים ושאילת פה כל הגדולים וכל הקטנים בכל מיני כבוד והידור, וזה עיקר גדול להוציא את ההוראה הזאת לפועל."

Rav Eisenstadt heeded Rav Weissmandel’s words, and the following year (1950), when he established the Vaad Lema’an HaEruv B’Manhattan, he appointed Rav Yonasan to lead the organization (Kuntres Tikkun Eruvin Manhattan, p. 168 and Divrei Menachem, p. 6).

In 1950, Rav Yonasan wrote a teshuvah supporting an eruv for Manhattan and Williamsburg (Mahari Stief, siman 68; see also Yeshiva University Archives, MS. 1300A for the original teshuvah written to Rav Eisenstadt). He stated:

ולפי"ז באופן זה יש לערב הן העיר ברוקלין והן העיר מאנהעטטען ומכש"כ אותן השווקים שאין בהם ס"ר בוקעין בו, שעל ידי התיקון שיעשה בהם יהיו מובדלות מיתר השווקים שיש בהם דריסת הרגל של ס"ר שלא יהיו פרוצים להם, ובפרט חלק הנקרא וויליאמסבורג שאין כאן שוק שס"ר בוקעים בו, וביחוד העיר ברוקלין אפשר לתקן שכונות שכונות דהיינו אותם השווקים שדרים בהם לרוב מהיראים, בקל יש לתקן אותם בצוה"פ, כי אפשר להשגיח ולבדוק בכל ע"ש אם לא נתהווה איזה שינוי או פירצה."

Additionally, Rav Yonasan mentioned in his teshuvah that he had written a Kuntres Tikkun Eruvin which he had not yet completed. This kuntres, which was recently published in Ohr Yisroel, vol. 32-33, demonstrates that he was a major supporter of an eruv for Manhattan and Williamsburg. The last time Rav Yonasan wrote dealing with city eruvin was on June 25, 1954, in his haskamah on the Shotzer rebbe’s sefer Kuntres Tikkun Eruvin Manhattan (ibid., Introduction p. 9). He stated:

לתקן העיר מאנהאטען שיהא כדאי לערב שם להציל רבים מעון חלול שבת במלאכת הוצאה, וגם לרבות הטריח את עצמו לדבר עמי פה אל פה בענין הגדול הלזה."

In the book Yalkut Michtavim, the anti-eruv group claims that Rav Yonasan withdrew his support for city eruvin because of the Satmar rebbe zt”l’s strong objection to eruvin. [Regarding the speciousness of the claim that the Satmar rebbe objected to eruvin see Part 1: The Truth About the Satmar Rebbe and a Williamsburg Eruv.] More so, they allege that not only did Rav Yonasan later retract his support for an eruv, he even concurred that New York was a reshus harabbim d’Oraysa. Besides for the consequences of believing allegations that surface some fifty years after the fact ― if we were to believe these allegations, every teshuvah can then be questioned see Noda B’Yehudah, Tinyana, Y.D. 29-30 ― these claims do not follow chronologically. As is typical of their approach, the anti-eruv group gathered bits of information and created tall tales. The following will illustrate the fallacy of their allegations.

1. The allegation that Rav Yonasan retracted his support because of the Satmar rebbe’s objection to eruvin:
The Yalkut Michtavim (p. 27-30) quotes a rav who claimed that by the year 1951-52, after Rav Yonasan had already been involved in the Williamsburg eruv, the Satmar rebbe asked him to refrain from establishing one. The Satmar rebbe’s objections were understood to include all city eruvin.

These are the facts:
  • In 1954, Rav Yonasan gave a haskamah on the Shotzer rebbe’s sefer Kuntres Tikkun Eruvin Manhattan (ibid., Introduction p. 9) supporting an eruv for Manhattan. This proves that Rav Yonasan was still involved in the establishment of city eruvin a few years after this fabricated story.
  • Rav Yosef Eliyahu Steiner zt”l, who was a talmid of Rav Yonasan and later became the Viener Dayan, wrote a letter of support for an eruv in Williamsburg in 1981. Rav Steiner states his primary reason of support for the eruv was because Rav Yonasan supported an eruv for Manhattan and Williamsburg. This is clear evidence that Rav Yonasan never retracted his support for eruvin in New York City. [Additionally, all the Satmar rabbanim gave letters of support for a eruv in Williamsburg between the years of 1972-1981. There is no doubt that if the Satmar rebbe had objected to an eruv in 1951-52, these rabbanim would never have supported an eruv in later years.]

    2. The allegation that Rav Yonasan later agreed that New York City may be a reshus harabbim d’Oraysa:
    In 1953, Rav Yonasan gave a Shabbos Shuva and Kol Nidrei derasha (September 12 and 19) stating that women should not wear jewelry outside because our streets are classified as a reshus harabbim d’Oraysa (Yalkut Michtavim, p. 31-33). The anti-eruv group argues that this proves that Rav Yonasan retracted his teshuvah where he had stated that there is no reshus harabbim d’Oraysa today.

    These are the facts:
  • Rav Yonasan wrote a teshuvah clearly supporting an eruv for Manhattan and Brooklyn. To hold up his derasha as proof that he retracted is disingenuous, especially since his derasha did not pertain to eruvin but to hotza'ah. This, though, is typical of the anti-eruv group, who in their quest to ban eruvin utilize all issues even those that do not pertain to eruvin as an indication of one’s opinion regarding the issue.
  • Rav Yonasan’s own notations of this derasha are extant, and he does not call the streets a reshus harabbim d’Oraysa only a reshus harabbim. As a matter of fact, the poskim use the term reshus harabbim regarding hotza'ah and are actually referring to a reshus harabbim d’rabbanan (a karmelis). [Rav Yonasan was referring to the shita that even wearing jewelry in a karmelis is ossur me’dinah, but since women might wear jewelry despite this shita, it is preferable sheyihyu shogegin. However, as a Dayan, he maintained that he had a responsibility to remind people that it is really ossur me’dinah (see Chai Anochi LeOlam, p. 146-147).]
  • Even if Rav Yonasan would agree that there is a reshus harabbim d’Oraysa today, he maintained that a tzuras hapesach would downgrade a reshus harabbim d’Oraysa to a karmelis (Mahari Stief, siman 68). Therefore, if an eruv was erected, there would be no issue of a d’Oraysa any longer. [Furthermore, Rav Yonasan maintained that because our streets are encompassed by mechitzos habatim, they are definitely not classified as a reshus harabbim.]
  • The main evidence that this tale was created after the fact is Rav Yonasan’s haskamah on the Shotzer rebbe’s sefer, Kuntres Tikkun Eruvin Manhattan. Since Rav Yonasan notated this Shabbos Shuva and Kol Nidrei derasha, we know that it was given on September 12 and 19 of 1953. On the other hand, the haskamaha on the Shotzer rebbe’s sefer, where he urges the establishment of the Manhattan eruv, is dated June 25, 1954. This proves beyond a shadow of doubt that Rav Yonasan was still involved in the establishment of eruvin after his derasha about hotza'ah, and he did not retract his opinion that there is no reshus harabbim d’Oraysa today even in New York City.
  • As stated above, Rav Steiner wrote in 1981 that he knew that Rav Yonasan supported an eruv for Manhattan and Williamsburg.

    3. The allegation that Rav Yonasan later agreed that New York City may be a reshus harabbim d’Oraysa:
    The Mishmeres Chomosenu, Ki Seitze 5763 states that Rav Yonasan wrote in his commentary on the sefer Zichru Toras Moshe (p. 121) published in 1952, that there are those who question the heter regarding an eruv for Manhattan since there is shishim ribo traversing therein and it may require delasos. Therefore, they argue that Rav Yonasan, following the publication of his teshuvah (1950), retracted and admitted that New York City may be a reshus harabbim d’Oraysa.

    These are the facts:
  • Rav Yonasan mentions a teshuvah from Rav Eisenstadt regarding this matter in his commentary on Zichru Toras Moshe. The omission of a reference to his own teshuvah is obviously because Rav Yonasan wrote this commentary prior to writing his teshuvah, although he published the commentary at a later date.
  • As mentioned previously, Rav Yonasan subsequently (1954) wrote a letter to the Shotzer rebbe supporting an eruv, which clearly proves that he did not retract.
  • As stated above, in 1981, Rav Steiner wrote that he knew that Rav Yonasan supported an eruv for Manhattan and Williamsburg.

    Additionally, the Yalkut Michtavim (p. 30), quoting Rav Yonasan (Mahari Stief, siman 68 p. 69), states that if all the rabbanim are not in agreement, an eruv cannot be established because according to the Yerushalmi (Eruvin 3:2, 7:9) the main takanah of eruvin is for shalom. [It is very debatable if this is the simple peshat; I would suggest that the Yerushalmi is signifying that an eruv brings shalom, but it is not suggesting that if an eruv does not bring shalom one can’t be erected.] However, the Yalkut Michtavim deliberately omits the rest of the passage. Rav Yonasan follows this statement with a recommendation that every rav should only erect an eruv for his neighborhood, and then all the rabbanim do not have to be in agreement (Rav Yonasan is either referring to Manhattan, where the eruv was going to encompass the whole island and include all the neighborhoods, or to Rav Weissmandel’s original suggestion for an eruv that would include most of Brooklyn).

    In summation, the shoddiness of this revisionism is beyond belief, and this should be discernable to all. There is no doubt that Rav Yonasan was one of the great proponents of eruvin for Manhattan and Brooklyn. Unfortunately, since the issue is eruvin, it is not surprising that there are people who want to believe that this is anything but a work of fiction.
  • Eruvin in the News: Wynnewood, PA 3

    Designating the Import of a 'Little String'

    November 16, 2006
    By Rachel Silverman

    Four years ago, Kelly Galfand couldn't take her kids to synagogue on Shabbat.

    That's because doing so would render Galfand, an observant Jew in Lower Merion, at odds with Jewish law. Read on ...

    Thursday, November 23, 2006

    Part 14: Things You Have Always Wanted to Know About the Flatbush Eruv (But Were Never Told)

    Continued from part XIII

    (עם בנו הרה"ג רבי בן ציון הלוי שליט"א רב המכשיר העירוב דפלטבוש)

    הגאון רבי שמואל הלוי וואזנר שליט"א
    אב"ד זכרון מאיר בני-ברק
    בעמ"ח שו"ת שבט הלוי, וז"ל:

    "... כל זה אם יש באמת ס' רבוא בוקעים, אבל אם אין ס' רבוא בוקעים כאשר אמר כ"ת, א"כ אין מה לדבר. וכן מש"כ כתה"ג בענין הצורך לעשות עירובין בעיירות שאין ס' רבוא בוקעים [11] הגם שהרחובות רחבות טובא – אמת גמור שזה הי' דעת אבותינו ורבותינו מעולם, ואין להרהר בזה." (שו"ת שבט הלוי ח"ו או"ח סוס"י מ"א)


    הגאון רבי משה ליב ראבינאוויטש שליט"א
    :אב"ד דק"ק מונקאטש, וז"ל

    "... דבר פשוט הוא, שמה שכותב רבן של ישראל החתם סופר ז"ל (או"ח סי' צט) שאי אפשר בשום אופן לקהל ישראל לשמור שבת כהלכתו ולשמור ב"ב בכל יום השבת מבלי להוציא מפתח ביתו החוצה דברים קטנים ומטפחת, הנה הוא שקול כנגד כל החששות כולם. ואיך נחשוש על העתיד בחששות הבדוים מן הלב, במקום שהחת"ס מעיד, ומוכיח כן מהש"ס, שבלי עירוב א"א לשמור שבת כבר מעכשיו בהווה, מידי שבת בשבתו. ולדעת החוששים לרה"ר מה"ת, כ"ש שצריכים להזהר בשמירת שבת אלף פעמים ככה.
    וכאן המקום להבהיר, שלנו יוצאי פולין וגאליציע, קבלה בידנו מאבותינו כמסורה וכתורה שבע"פ, שאנו סומכין בהל' עירובין על הוראת שר התורה הבית אפרים ז"ל, שלחם מלחמתה של תורה להצדיק רבותינו הקדושים בעלי השו"ע ונושאי כליו אשר מפיהם אנו חיים. ואין זה רק בדיעבד (לומר ח"ו שהמנהג קיימת רק משום שאין לאחרים הכח למחות בנו), אלא אף לכתחילה, ואף למצוה לדעת אבוה"ק זי"ע."
    (סוף תשובתו במכתב לאנ"ש כ"ד טבת תש"ס)


    הגאון רבי יחזקאל ראטה שליט"א
    אב"ד קארלסבורג
    :בעמ"ח שו"ת
    עמק התשובה, וז"ל

    "... אין בזה [בתיקון העירוב דב.פ.] סתירה לדעת הרבנים הקדמונים נוחי נפש ז"ל, שעד עתה לא הי' המדובר לעשות באופן מעולה כזה, ובפרט שנתברר כי עירנו מוקף עם ג' מחיצות העשויין בידי אדם כדת וכהלכה, ובכן יכולין הכל לסמוך בהיתר טלטולו." (במכתבו ו' דחנוכה תש"ס לפ"ק)


    [11] בוקעים היינו ב"רחוב", ולא סגי אם הס' רבוא מצטרפין יחדיו מכלליות תושבי העיר, וכמו שהעיד בשמו תלמידו המובהק הגאון רבי משה שאול קליין שליט"א במכתבו (מיום ה' בלק תש"ס) וז"ל "זה מנהג מדורות לסמוך על הראשונים דאין רה"ר דאורייתא בזה"ז שכיח בינינו, וע"כ ראיתי שמו"ר מרן הגר"ש וואזנר שליט"א אף שמחמיר לעצמו, מ"מ אינו מורה כן לאחרים. ואף שהעיר בני ברק נמצאת מחוברת לכמה ערים בגוש דן, ויש בכל המקום הרבה יותר מס' רבוא, מ"מ כיון שאין ס' רבוא בוקעין בו בשום רחוב מרחובות העיר בני ברק, אינו מחמיר לאחרים, כי התנאי דרה"ר של ס' רבוא תלוי ברחוב ולא בכלליות העיר," עכ"ל.

    Monday, November 20, 2006

    Eruvin in the News: Venice Beach, CA 5

    Synagogue to Get Sacred Boundary

    Commission Approves a Plan to Create an Eruv, or Symbolic Line, Through Westside Beach Areas After Ensuring Rare Birds Will be Protected.

    By Duke Helfand and Charles Ornstein
    November 20, 2006

    An Orthodox synagogue has won permission to string a religious boundary along the beach from Santa Monica to Marina del Rey after agreeing to take steps to protect a rare bird that nests in the coastal area.

    Members of the Pacific Jewish Center in Venice welcomed the California Coastal Commission's decision last week to grant their request to run fishing line between lampposts and sign poles through several miles of prime beachfront, creating an unbroken symbolic border. Read on ...

    Friday, November 17, 2006

    Eruvin in the News: Philadelphia, PA

    Anti-Orthodox Bias Inside the Eruv

    Magazine Feature Illustrates a Dirty Little Secret About Jewish Prejudices

    November 09, 2006
    By Jonathan Tobin

    The truth can hurt. Especially when it comes to a group that tends to regard itself as open-minded and sensitive to the feelings of others. But even though it might be easier to keep pretending that it doesn't exist, it's time once again to face the truth about a not-inconsiderable segment of American Jewry: More than a few of us are religious bigots. Read on ...

    Thursday, November 16, 2006

    Eruvin in the News: Los Angeles, CA 2

    Checking the Eruv

    Every week our crew of Rabbis inspects the complete eruv looking for any breaks. We also have additional periodic inspections of some of the more difficult sections of the Eruv. Here they head out by air to get a look at the hillsides along the 405. See the photos here.

    Part 12: Sechiras Reshus For Contemporary City Eruvin

    אם מהני לשכור משכירו ולקיטו של המלך לגבי רשות של ישראל

    כתב בתשובת אבני נזר סימן מ"ה אות י'ד בישראל לא מהני לשכור מן שכירו של שו"ל, אלא צריך לשכור מגזבר המלך בעצמו היינו ראש העיר, והנה לכאורה צ"ע דהרי גם ראש העיר הרי אינו אלא שכירו של שו"ל, דהרי המלך עצמו אינו אלא שו"ל שיכול להניח כלים בבתי העיר, א"כ גזבר המלך אינו אלא שו"ל של המלך, והמלך עצמו הרי הוא שו"ל של הבעה"ב, ואיך מהני לשכור מגזבר המלך לגבי הישראלים.

    ובאמת גם בתשובת הרשב"א שהביא הב"י סימן שפ"ב כתב חילוק בין גזבר המלך לשו"ל של המלך, בתחילה כתב דגזבר המלך כהמלך, והשוכר ממנו כשוכר מן המלך, והשכירות נופל לכיס המלך, ואפי' משו"ל נראה כן, וכ"ש בגזבר המלך. הנה מבואר ברשב"א שיש שני דברים, גזבר המלך, ושו"ל של המלך, וגזבר המלך ס"ל להאבנ"ז דמהני גם גבי בישראל, אבל שו"ל של שכירו לא מהני, אלא גבי עכו"ם.

    וביאור הדבר נראה דהנה בתשובת מהרי"ט סימן צ"ד כתב וז"ל, וכתבו המפרשים דכל כה"ג שיש לו תפיסת יד בהבתים יכול הוא להשכיר, ושוכרים ממנו או משליחו דשליחו של אדם כמותו, דקיל הוא דהקילו חכמים בעירוב שאפילו שכירו ולקיטו של ישראל נותן עירובו ודיו, וכן שו"ל משכיר, אף שכירו של מלך המקבל פרס ממנו, וכן כתב הריב"ש כלשון הזה, יש לדון ולהקל בענין זה שיוכל האדון להשכיר רשות הגוים והממונה שלו כמוהו, שהרי גם הממונה יוכל מטעמו להניח כלי האדון בביתם, א"כ חוזר הוא להיות בעד האדון ומטעמו, כשכירו ולקיטו של כל אחד ואחד עכ"ל.

    והנה משמע לכאורה דרק ממונה כזה שיוכל להניח כלים ברשות האדון מהני, אך מהרי"ט לא כתב כן, דכתב אח"כ וז"ל שכל שהשר יש לו יכולת שוכרין משכירו ולקיטו, אע"פ שאין להם יכולת כלל, והו"ל כשו"ל דגמ' ששוכרין הימנו אע"פ שאין להם שום תפיסת יד, וכן הביא מדברי הרשב"א ששו"ל של מלך יכול לשכור, ואין ספק שכל עבד מעבדיו הקטנים לא גרע משכירו ולקיטו, עיי"ש. משמע שא"צ שיהיה לו תפיסה בהבית, ונראה מזה שמהרי"ט הבין כוונת הריב"ש, דהממונה של המלך לא היה לו באמת רשות מהמלך, אלא המלך היה יכול ליתן לו רשות, וכיון שהוא עובד עבודתו של המלך, א"כ כשהמלך רוצה להניח כליו בהבתים הוא מצוה לממונים שיעשו זאת, ע"כ לענין כח המלך בהבתים הוי ממונה שלו כשלוחו, וכן ס"ל בשו"ל שבגמרא, דכיון דעושה עבודתו ע"כ נעשה כשליחו גם לענין כחו בהבית, אבל אין לו תפיסת יד בהבית עצמו, ואפילו אם נימא ששו"ל שבגמ' דר בביתו, מכל מקום סבירא ליה למהרי"ט דזה לא נקרא תפיסת יד, כיון שהוא דר שם מחמת שהוא טפל להבעה"ב ואין זה תפיסת יד בהבית עצמו, וכמ"ש גם הב"י בשם דודו הר"י קארו בסימן שצ"א, עכ"פ ס"ל למהרי"ט דזה מהני משום דהבעה"ב אם היה רוצה היה נותן לו רשות בהבית, ע"כ הוי כשליחו, אבל באמת זהו קולא גדולה, דהרי לעת עתה אין לו רשות בהבית, וזה ס"ל להאבנ"ז דמהני רק גבי עכו"ם, וזה הכוונה של שכירו של שו"ל, שהרי השו"ל היינו המלך יש לו תפיסה בהבית עצמו.

    ובביאור הלכה סימן שפ"ב סעיף י"א הביא בשם העצי אלמוגים דצריך שהבעה"ב כבר נתן לו רשות, ולא סגי במה שיוכל ליתן לו רשות, ובסעיף י"ד הקשה הביאור הלכה על מהרי"ט מדברי הש"ע סעיף י"ג שכתב דאם יחד לו מקום אינו כשליחו בכל הבית. ולמ"ש לא קשה כלום, וכן תירץ הישועות מלכו סימן ל"א, דשם כיון שאינו עובד עבודתו וכל כוחו הוא רק מטעם קנינו בהבית, להכי צריך שיהיה לו רשות בהבית, אבל שו"ל העובד עבודתו סגי במה שהאדון יכול ליתן לו רשות בכל הבית, אף שעדיין לא נתן לו רשות. גם מה שהביא הביאור הלכה מדברי הטור דהוי כאילו דר עמו בבית, ל"ק דר"ל דהנחת כלים הוי כדירה בבית, אבל העובד עבודתו סגי במה שיכול ליתן לו רשות בביתו, אף שעדיין לא נתן לו. ואפי' אם נימא דאין זה כוונת הטור, אין מזה קושיא על מהרי"ט דלמד שיטתו מדברי הרשב"א שמהני שו"ל של המלך, ופשיטא דאין לעבד המלך כח בבתי העיר.

    והנה כל זה הוא גבי סתם עבדי המלך, אבל גזבר המלך שהוא מופקד על זה ממש, דהיינו כשרוצה המלך להשתמש בבתי העיר, הוא עושה זאת ע"י גזברו המיוחד לזה, א"כ הרי גזבר זה יש לו רשות ממש בבתי העיר, דאף שאין לוהכח הזה מחמת עצמו, מ"מ הרי הוא שליחו של המלך ממש, לענין כחו בהבתים, וזה עדיף הרבה משו"ל דעלמא וזה מהני אף בישראל, להכי סבירא ליה להאבנ"ז דגזבר המלך מהני אף בישראל, וזה כוונת הרשב"א דגזבר המלך הוא כ"ש משו"ל.

    וכן ס"ל להגו"ר להדיא דגזבר המלך מהני גם בישראל, שכתב ששוכרין מגזבר המלך וידו כיד כל בני העיר, כיון ששולט בכל העיר, וכו' כיון שיכול גזבר המלך להניח בבתי העיר את אנשי הצמא וכלי המלחמה לעת שיצטרך לו, ואח"כ כתב ואע"פ ששר של מצרים כשרוצה לעשות איזה דבר וכו', נמצא שלשר לבדו הממשלה, והשכירות ממנו או משכירו סגי, ואח"כ כתב דזה מהני גם גבי צדוקים שדינם כישראל, משמע דאף שאין לגזבר המלך כח בעצמו רק כשנותן לו המלך רשות, אפ"ה מהני מטעם שביארנו. ועיין בשו"ת מהרש"ם חלק ה' סימן ל"ג שלמד מדברי הגור"ד דמהני לשכור מראש העיר כיון שהוא ממונה מן המלך, להעמיד אנשי חיל בהבתים, עיי"ש.

    אם צריך שיהיה לו רשות בהבתים בכל עת

    הנה בשו"ת חכם צבי סימן ו' כתב, דשר העיר דאין לו כח אלא להעמיד אנשי המלחמה בשעת מלחמה, אין לו דין שכירו ולקיטו אלא בשעת מלחמה, זולת אם יש בידו לעורר מדנים עם שכניו בכל עת שירצה. ויש שרוצים לומר דה"ה המלך שיכול לסלק מן הבתים רק בעת הצורך לצרכי העיר, וכשאין לו צורך א"א לסלק, לאמהני שכירות ממנו.

    אבל מדברי הגינת ורדים לא נראה כן, שהרי כתב וז"ל כיון שיכול גזבר המלך להניח בבתי העיר את אנשי הצבא וכלי מלחמה לעת המצטרך לו, וכו' מ"מ כיון שלעת הצורך עושה כרצונו ואין מוחה בידו, נמצאת אומר שיד המלך שייכא ואגידא בקרקעות עכ"ל. הרי דהדגיש דלעת הצורך עושה כרצונו, משמע דבלא שום טעם ואין צורך לו אין בידו להשתמש בבתי העיר, ואפ"ה מהני, ונראה דגוונא דהחכם צבי חלוק מגוונא דהגור"ד, דבגוונא דח"צ באמת לא היה לשר עיר שום כח מחמת עצמו, רק שאנשי העיר נתנו לו רשות להעמיד שם אנשי חיל, והישועות מלכו סימן ל"א כתב, דצ"ל דמיירי בשר שלא היה תחת המלך, וא"כ כיון דשלא בשעת מלחמה אין לו רשות, ע"כ אינו שו"ל אז, אבל מלך שיש לו רשות מצד עצמו ואינו תלוי כלל ברצון בני העיר, מיקרי תפיסת יד אף שאינו משתמש בבתי העיר אלא בשעה שמצטרך לו כהגו"ר, דהרי סו"ס יש לו כח ובעלות על הבתים.

    וז"ל תשובת אבקת רוכל סימן מ"ז, וכמושב עינינו ראינו שכל מלך סותר הבתים שאצל החומה בשעת חירום, כדי שלא יכנסו צרים הצוררים בבתים לסתור משם המבצר או החומה, וכו' וזהו דינא דמלכותא ואינו גזל, וכאלה רבות מקרים בכל יום מזה המין וממינים אחרים לצורך המלך, עכ"ל. ובודאי דברים כאלו אינו דינא דמלכותא אלא כשיש לו צורך בהם, ואפ"ה מהני לשכור מן המלך בכל זמן וכמ"ש.

    וכ"כ בשו"ת שואל ומשיב מהדו"ת ח"ב סי' ס"ב דכשיכול השר להשחית ולקלקל הבתים לצורך נוי העיר מקרי יכול לסלקו. הרי דבלא צורך היה א"א לסלק ואפ"ה היה אפשר לשכור ממנו בכל זמן.

    Wednesday, November 15, 2006

    Part 13: Things You Have Always Wanted to Know About the Flatbush Eruv (But Were Never Told)

    Continued from part XII

    הגאון רבי טוביה גאלדשטיין זצ"ל

    אב"ד וראש הישיבה דישיבה וכולל "עמק הלכה"

    "... בשנת תש"ס באו אלי ג' רבנים חשובים לדבר עמי בענין תיקון צוה"פ בבארא פארק להתיר הטלטול בש"ק.

    והשבתי להם, שהיות ושמעתי שישנם מחיצות סביב העיר ברוקלין, א"כ רצוני לברר אמיתות הדבר, כדי שההיתר יהיה ברור גם ע"פ חומרותיו של הגאון רבי משה [פיינשטיין] זצ"ל.

    וכך הוה, שלחתי התלמידים שלי יחד עם ראש הכולל, וטרחו להקיף את כל הנהר סביב, והעידו בפניי שאכן ישנם מחיצות ממש הגבוהים יותר מי' טפחים, שנעשו בידי אדם, המקיפים את העיר מג' רוחותיו. ואף שישנם פירצות באיזה מקומות, מ"מ כיון דהעומד מרובה על הפרוץ, הוי רשות היחיד מן התורה, ובדרבנן מהני צוה"פ לכו"ע, וע"כ נכון וראוי לתקן צוה"פ בלי שום פקפוק כמו שאר ערי היהודים בעולם המתוקנים בעירוב." (משיחתו לתלמידיו בכולל עמק הלכה)


    הגאון רבי אפרים פישל הערשקאוויטש שליט"א

    אב"ד דק"ק האליין, וז"ל:

    "... הנה הלכה פסוקה בשו"ע או"ח סי' שצ"ה מצוה לחזור אחר שיתופי מבואות ומברך עליו על מצות עירוב. ופירש שם הט"ז הטעם דהוי מצוה, הוא משום שלא יבוא לידי איסור טלטול ... והמכשול הוא פשוט שהרבה אנשים שוכחים ומוציאים באיסור. ואע"ג דבא ע"י שכחה והוי מתעסק, מיקרי מכשול ותקלה כמש"כ בשו"ת רעק"א סי' ח' דיש במתעסק בשבת איסור תורה וכ"כ בספר הבתים ...

    ואפילו בזמן הזה דאין לנו רה"ר גמורה, מ"מ בשבת אפי' איסור דרבנן חמור ויש איסור אפי' במתעסק. וכה"ג כתב הרא"ש (בפ' במה טומנין סי' ב') בשם רבינו חננאל משום חומרא דשבת חשובה איסור דרבנן כשל תורה ואזלינן לחומרא...

    מלבד זה מצוי מכשול בהוצאת המפתחות בהחגורה ואינם בקיאים כיצד לחברו עם החגורה. ופותחים גם כשיש על המנעול תורת רה"י, כי כשהוא עומד בכרמלית אסור לתחוב המפתח כשהמנעול הוא בכלל חורי רה"י. וגם הוצאת מטפחת היד סביב הצואר הנשמת אדם (כלל נ"ו) חוכך לאסור...

    ...מצות עירוב הוא חיוב הלמ"מ כמו הדלקת נרות, כמפורש בס' שכל טוב (פ' בשלח עמו' רי"ד) והכינו את אשר יביאו, את אשר יאכלו לא נאמר אלא אשר יביאו, כלומר יכינו ביום הששי במבואות ובחצרות תיקוני לחי'ים וקורות וצורות פתחים ועירובים ושיתופים להתיר להם את אשר יביאו ביום השבת מרשות לרשות עכ"ל.

    ...וכ"כ בלקח טוב (פ' בשלח) את אשר יביאו, מכאן לעירובי חצירות מן התורה, שיערב אדם בשבת בפת או בשום מאכל כדי שיטלטל מבית לבית ומחצר לחצר עכ"ל. והוי עשיית עירוב מצוה חיובית ...."[10] (קובץ אוצרות ירושלים חלק רח"צ שנת תשמ"ב)


    [10] ובא וראה אזהרתו החמורה של רבינו הרא"ש ז"ל נגד אחד מרבני דורו, שאסר לתקן עירוב של צורת הפתח, וזל"ק: "אתה רבי יעקב ברבי משה דבאלינסיא, כבר כתבתי לך על ענין העירוב שנהגו בכל גלויות ישראל להתיר מבואותיהם המפולשין, בצורת פתח, ואתה אסרת אותו לקהל פריריש, וכתבת לי ראיותיך, ואני הודעתיך שאין בהם ממש. והזהרתיך שתחזור בך ותאמר לקהל, שיתקנו מבואותיהם כאשר הורגלו עפ"י גדוליהם. והנה הוגד לי, שאתה עומד במרדך ואתה מכשיל את הרבים בחילול שבת. לכן אני גוזר עליך, אחר שינתן לך כתב זה בעדים, שתתקן המבואות המפולשין לרשות הרבים בצורת פתח, תוך שבועיים אחר שתראה כתב זה. ואם לא תתקן המבואות כאשר כתבתי, אני מנדה אותך. ואם היית בימי הסנהדרין, היו ממיתין אותך, כי אתה בא לעקור תלמוד שסידר רב אשי, ולחלוק על כל הגדולים שהיו עד היום הזה" (שו"ת הרא"ש כלל כ"א או"ק ח' ובאו"ק ט'. וראה עוד לעיל בהערה 8).

    Monday, November 13, 2006

    Would Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l Allow an Eruv for the Lower East Side of Manhattan?

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

    Since the eruv encompassing the whole Manhattan, established in 1962 (see The Hundredth-Year Anniversary of the First Eruv in New York 1905-2005) by Rav Menachem Kasher and the Shotzer rebbe, zt”l has been declared not viable there has been some debate regarding the establishment of an eruv for the Lower East Side. There are a number of eruvin encompassing parts of Manhattan; however, since the Lower East Side is the place where Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l resided, the issue has become taboo. As in most situations where there is resistance to eruvin, it is doubtful that much thought has been given as to why the subject is closed to debate. I would like to present my analysis why I believe that Rav Moshe would not object and possibly would even agree to a neighborhood eruv for the Lower East Side and other parts of Manhattan as opposed to the 1962 eruv that encompassed the entire island.

    At the outset, it is important to note that both in 1959 (HaPardes, 33rd year, vol. 9) and in 1961 (Igros Moshe, O.C. 4:89) Rav Moshe wrote letters supporting the right of the rabbanim of Manhattan to erect an eruv. However, he personally maintained that an eruv could not be established. Rav Moshe argued that even though he would agree that the mechitzos encompassing Manhattan were sufficient, he had the following three shitos yachidaos which he used in conjunction with each other (ibid., 1:39:6) to object to the Manhattan eruv:

    • Issue number 1:
      Even though Manhattan with its mechitzos would be considered a reshus hayachid, since the bridges are open along their sides, they would require delasos (ibid., 1:139:3).
    • Issue number 2:
      Even though Manhattan is enclosed by mechitzos and we were to utilize delasos to close the gaps in the mechitzos, the Rashbah and Rabeinu Ephraim would not allow an eruv since there is a reshus harabbim contained therein (ibid., 1:39:5-6).
    • Issue number 3:
      Even if there is no halachic basis against establishing an eruv in Manhattan, an eruv should not be established there. Manhattan, like Yerushalayim, has many international visitors. Just like an eruv was not erected in Yerushalayim in the times of the Bais HaMikdash because of the fear that people who traveled to Yerushalayim from all over the world would, upon returning home, erect eruvin improperly, an eruv should not be established in Manhattan because of this fear as well (ibid., 1:139:5, 4:89, 5:28:15). [The Noda B’Yehudah, Mahadura Tinyana Kuntres Achron (siman 21) and the Tiferes Yisroel (Eruvin, 10:57) maintain that an eruv was allowed in Yerushalayim, however it was not possible to establish an eruv at the time.]
    • Regarding issue number 1:
      Rav Moshe’s first issue does not affect an eruv only encircling a neighborhood in Manhattan since the tzuras hapesachim that have been erected do not include the bridges and are only encompassing a neighborhood that is included in the mechitzos surrounding Manhattan. Therefore, the area is classified as a reshus hayachid, and delasos are not required. Some have declared that Rav Moshe would require delasos to close all gaps in mechitzos encompassing an area such as Manhattan and Brooklyn (me’d’rabbanan). This is incorrect and is a misreading of Rav Moshe’s teshuvah. Rav Moshe clearly states that the reason why he requires delasos at the bridges is only because the bridges are not enclosed by mechitzos. On the other hand, gaps in the mechitzos would not require delasos; tzuras hapesachim would suffice (ibid., 1:139 see the end of anaf 3 where Rav Moshe states clearly that if the tzuras hapesach is erected in a reshus hayachid, it is sufficient; see Is There a Requirement of Delasos According to Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l).
    • Regarding issue number 2:
      Rav Moshe’s second issue no longer pertains to Manhattan after he wrote his 1981 teshuvah (ibid., 5:28). Rav Moshe at first stated in his teshuvah regarding Manhattan (ibid., 1:140) that he was unclear whether mefulash u’mechuvanim m’shaar l’shaar is considered a criterion of a reshus harabbim. However, Rav Moshe admitted that according to those who do regard mefulash as a criterion of a reshus harabbim, he would allow that delasos at the pirtzos would be sufficient and the shitos yachidaos [the Rashbah and Rabeinu Ephraim] would not be an issue. The reason being is that these shitos yachidaos are only of concern when the area in question has met all the criteria of reshus harabbim (including the criterion of mefulash). 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). Consequently, given the fact that Manhattan is enclosed by mechitzos and its streets are not mefulash u’mechuvanim m’shaar l’shaar, Manhattan would not be classified as a reshus harabbim at all, and Rav Moshe would agree that these mechitzos would classify Manhattan as a reshus hayachid, notwithstanding these shitos yachidaos. (Delasos at the pirtzos would be his only requirement which, as stated above, would be unnecessary as well.) [I hope to post an in depth bi’ur regarding the shitas haRashbah and Rabeinu Ephraim.]
    • Regarding issue number 3:
      Rav Moshe agreed that if the rabbanim in Manhattan would erect an eruv, the precedent of Yerushalayim would b’dieved not pose an obstacle (HaPardes, 33rd year, vol. 9; Kuntres Tikkun Eruvin Manhattan p. 161, and Divrei Menachem, O.C. vol. 2, siman 4).

    Moreover, since Rav Moshe only used these three shitos yachidaos in conjunction with each other to object to the Manhattan eruv (Igros Moshe, O.C. 1:39:6) now that we have illustrated that each issue l’chatchilah (or at least issue 1 and 2) would not concern him, there is a possibility that Rav Moshe would permit, and perhaps even support, the establishment of a Manhattan neighborhood eruv. Additionally, we see that Rav Dovid Feinstein shlita agreed that, according to his father’s chiddush in shishim ribo, an eruv could be established in Chicago and in Los Angeles (West Rogers Park Eruv, 1993 p. 23 and the LA Eruv Guidebook). It is evident that Rav Dovid was not concerned with issues number 1 and 2 as these issues are not primary concerns.

    We are left with the 1962 kol korei against the establishment of an eruv in Manhattan with Rav Moshe’s signature. However, the fact is Rav Moshe states that rabbanim may enact a takanah only for a short period of time and not indefinitely (Igros Moshe, O.C. 4:49). [It is important to note that only when Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l and other Roshei Yeshivos made this takanah in 1962 not to erect an eruv in Manhattan did Rav Moshe join them and prohibit the eruv as well (ibid., 4:86 and Addendum to O.C. 4:89). Even when Rav Moshe signed on the 1962 takanah with Rav Aharon, we see that he was not at ease with the language which stated that, “those who rely on the eruv in Manhattan are considered a mechalel Shabbos,” since after he quoted this takanah in his teshuvah, he omitted this last line (ibid.).]

    In summation, since there is a possibility that Rav Moshe zt”l would even support a neighborhood eruv today, why should the Lower East Side be different than any other neighborhood in Manhattan that established an eruv?

    Friday, November 10, 2006

    Eruvin in the News: Tanzania, Africa − New Heights for Eruvin

    Out of Africa, an Orthodox Trio’s Unorthodox Climb Up Kilimanjaro

    By Debra Rubin

    Eating kosher food, celebrating Shabbat, and studying Talmud are not unusual activities for observant Jews.

    Doing all three while climbing the world’s tallest freestanding mountain is another story. Read on ...

    Tuesday, November 07, 2006

    History of City Eruvin − Part 4: The Eruv in St. Louis

    Continued from part III

    Rav Jaffe set forth why he believed that an eruv could not be established in St. Louis and in any other city in America. He stated that, according to the current city survey, the population of St. Louis was greater than 600,000.[64] The city was 18 miles long and close to 12 miles wide, and the city was 150 streets lengthwise and 60 streets across its width.[65] The streets were more than 16 amos wide, and some were even up to 60 amos wide. From one side of the city, all the streets intersected Broadway [the widest street] and from the other side of the city the streets ran parallel to Broadway. Broadway and all the streets in St. Louis were mefulash from one end of the city to the other and they led into intercity highways. Rav Jaffe added that all cities in America were laid out in such a pattern.

    Even if one claimed that there was no shishim ribo traversing therein daily, Rav Jaffe stated that, according to many Rishonim and Achronim, the city would still have been classified as a reshus harabbim. This is either because they did not require shishim ribo traversing the street daily or because they did not consider shishim ribo to be a condition of a reshus harabbim. More so, even those who accepted shishim ribo as a criterion of a reshus harabbim would have agreed that an intercity highway that is 16 amos wide did not require shishim ribo in order to be classified as a reshus harabbim. Therefore, Rav Jaffe stated, the only way to rectify large cities in America in order to establish an eruv would have been with delasos neulos ba’laila [doors which are closed at night] or at least reuyos linol [suitable for closing], which would have been impossible to erect since all the streets were open to the intercity highways and the trains were constantly running.

    Rav Jaffe added that the streets could not even be classified as being encompassed by two mechitzos since they were open by more than 16 amos along their length and breadth; accordingly, only delasos would have sufficed. More so, according to those who did not require shishim ribo, since every street was not only open to the end of the city but was also open to the next avenue by more than 16 amos, there is no doubt that it was a reshus harabbim [and even according to those poskim who required shishim ribo bokim b’chol yom there was a possibility that they would also have considered the city a reshus harabbim since at times there was shishim ribo bokim].

    An additional point set forth by Rav Jaffe was that even the Rishonim who regarded shishim ribo bokim bo as a criterion of a reshus harabbim would nevertheless have required delasos to facilitate carrying. Rashi, who was the main Rishon to uphold that shishim ribo bokim is a criterion of a reshus harabbim, nevertheless, only allowed that it removed the issur d’Oraysa [skilah and chatas] but for a heter tiltul [d'rabbanan] he would have required delasos. Rav Jaffe added that some of the largest cities such as New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago and even possibly St. Louis did, in fact, have shishim ribo traversing therein and would definitely have required delasos, according to all opinions.

    Rav Jaffe continued that one should not accuse him of having only collected chumras, since he had investigated the applicability of the heterim of the Maharitats[66] and the Bais Ephraim[67] to ascertain if there could possibly not be a requirement of delasos. However, Rav Jaffe declared, the Pri Megadim[68] would have disagreed and would have required delasos. More so, he stated, the Maharitats and the Bais Ephraim might not have required that the streets be closed with delasos since there were Rishonim who maintained that two mechitzos would classify the area as a reshus hayachid and because the streets were only open from two sides. However, since the streets of St. Louis were open on all sides along their length and width, it was possible that even the Maharitats and the Bais Ephraim would have required delasos. Additionally, Rav Jaffe declared that only when it was not possible to erect delasos would the Maharitats and the Bais Ephraim, as a last resort, not have required delasos. More so, even if we could rely on the Bais Ephraim’s heterim in this situation [St. Louis], since the matter was possibly a d’Oraysa, the tzuras hapesachim were required m’dinah, and their establishment needed to be without kulos.

    Because of the way the streets were laid out in American cities, Rav Jaffe argued that, according to the poskim, every street required a tzuras hapesach from one side and from the other side, either a lechi or a korah. To erect tzuras hapesachim, Rav Jaffe declared, would have been impossible because neither the populace nor the government would have allowed it.

    Rav Jaffe then rebutted all of Rav Rosenfeld’s grounds for allowing an eruv in St. Louis. He refuted Rav Rosenfeld’s claim that the telegraph poles and wires could have been used as tzuras hapesachim. Telegraphs poles, Rav Jaffe declared, were not sufficient since they were classified as a tzuras hapesach min hatzad [a doorway whose lintel rests on the sides of the doorposts]. Furthermore, as the gaps between the telegraph poles and the houses were more than three tefachim, the tzuras hapesachim were not actually enclosing the area. Additionally, Rav Jaffe contested Rav Rosenfeld’s assertion that since the telegraphs lines encircled the city they were sufficient even without the houses.[69] Rav Jaffe brought support that it was not sufficient to use tzuras hapesachim to circumscribe all sides of an enclosure.

    In contesting Rav Rosenfeld’s utilization of the Mississippi River for one side of the St. Louis eruv, Rav Jaffe argued that the other end of the street that led to the river required a tzuras hapesach. Furthermore, he asserted that there was a concern that the riverbanks might later be obliterated by sediment and that the river might also freeze. Moreover, there were ships and bridges that negated the riverbanks. Additionally, according to some poskim, in a city larger than beis se’asayim [five thousand square amos], riverbanks were not sufficient because they were einam mukafim l’dira [not made with the intent to sustain habitation]. Furthermore, Rav Jaffe claimed that the way the city streets were situated more than 10 amos away from the river, they required a tzuras hapesach. More so, if the rabbim [masses] traversed therein, even a gap of four tefachim needed to be rectified.

    Rav Jaffe argued that the hills at the end of the city, which he had heard Rav Rosenfeld was using, were not sufficient as mechitzos. He argued that even if these hills existed, the other end of the street that led to the hills required a tzuras hapesach. Additionally, Rav Jaffe claimed the city streets were situated more than 10 amos away from the hills. More so, if a rabbim traversed therein, even a gap of four tefachim needed to be rectified. Furthermore, according to some poskim, natural walls would not be sufficient in a city that is larger than beis se’asayim because they are einam mukafim l’dira.

    Despite Rav Rosenfeld’s claim that an eruv could be built in all cities in America because the streets were built on inclines,[70] Rav Jaffe asserted that none of the streets were built up 10 tefachim over a four amos area because the trolleys would not have been able to travel such inclines. Rav Jaffe added that even if there had been a street with such a gradient, it would have flattened out by the next street, and a tzuras hapesach would have been needed at the intersection. Additionally, he claimed, these inclines are einam mukafim l’dira according to the Magen Avraham.[71] Furthermore, according to the Magen Avraham,[72] if there was a rabbim traversing these inclines, we would say asu rabbim u’mevatlei mechitzta. Even though the Magen Avraham considered a rabbim to only be shishim ribo, many poskim disagree with him regarding this issue.

    Consequently, Rav Jaffe argued that we could not be lenient and allow an eruv for St. Louis and other large cities in America since it was a safek d’Oraysa. All the criteria of reshus harabbim were met besides for the possibility that there was no shishim ribo traversing therein, which many Rishonim and Achronim did not accept as a criterion at all. More so, some of the large cities did have shishim ribo bokim.

    Additionally, Rav Jaffe refuted Rav Rosenfeld’s claim that the roads were not considered 16 amos wide since the streets and the sidewalks were not considered one contiguous 16 amos. He argued that the sidewalks were created for the general public, and as one could not demarcate the sidewalk from the street, they must be included with the streets as one contiguous 16 amos. Additionally, Rav Jaffe added that there were streets that were 16 amos wide even without the sidewalks.

    Rav Jaffe disputed Rav Rosenfeld’s argument that, even though Washington Avenue was wider than 16 amos, since there were pillars across the width of the street,[73] it was not classified as a reshus harabbim.[74] Rav Jaffe claimed that this heter only affected Washington Avenue, and since the avenue was open at its intersections to many streets that were wider than 16 amos, the heter was irrelevant. Additionally, he argued, the pillars were too far apart to be considered mechitzos.

    Rav Jaffe contested, as well, Rav Rosenfeld’s claim that the manhole covers for the underground waterworks could be considered delasos when they were open, and therefore, the street was not classified as a reshus harabbim.[75] He argued that, nevertheless, the city as whole did not lose its status as a reshus harabbim.

    Following the above, Rav Jaffe stated that even if St. Louis was a small city and a kosher eruv of tzuras hapesachim was established, we would still not be able to carry therein. The majority of the population in American cities was non-Jewish and even the Jewish population consisted mostly of mechalelei Shabbos so renting of the reshus would not suffice. Rav Jaffe scoffed at Rav Rosenfeld’s renting of the rights to carry in St. Louis from a policeman. He claimed that through this means Rav Rosenfeld wanted to allow the rental of the reshus for Baltimore, as well.[76] Rav Jaffe argued that the policeman was, at most, the representative of the mayor, and in a country such as ours, where the government is elected by the populace and only represents the people, the mayor and even the president himself did not have the right to evict anyone from his home. Rav Jaffe added that in this country even the privileges to the streets were shared equally by all, and the government could not remove people or change the streets as it pleased. Consequentially, even the renting of the reshus for the street would not suffice.

    Rav Jaffe summarized that there were no delasos, no tzuras hapesachim, no koros, no lechayayim, no tikun reshuyos, and no sechiras reshuyos but there was a possibility of an issur skilah and kares and all would agree that there was an issur me’divrei kabalah.

    He signed this teshuvah, on January 9, 1894, as the Av Bais Din of St. Louis.[77]

    Rav Jaffe appended this teshuvah to a letter[78] he wrote to Rav Shmuel Salant (1815-1909),[79] Rav, Ravad of Yerushalayim regarding mikvaos. He asked for a haskamah from the rav regarding his issur on the eruv that the recently arrived rav had established since the whole foundation of Yehadus was in peril because of it, and he mentioned that other rabbanim from here [America] agreed with him as well.[80] Rav Jaffe then sent his teshuvah to his friend Rav Eliezer Zalman Grayewsky (1843-1899)[81] in Eretz Yisroel asking him for his opinion since Rav Grayewsky knew the layout of St. Louis.[82] Rav Grayewsky agreed with Rav Jaffe and declared that an eruv could not be established.[83] Rav Grayewsky published Rav Jaffe’s Sho’el Ka’inyan and included a haskamah dated [5]655[84] and his own glosses dated July 5, 1894.

    Additionally, Rav Jaffe received the following haskamos:
    Rav Shmuel Salant, who stated that while he did not have the time to peruse the sefer, he knew Rav Jaffe from before as a gadol b’Torah. Rav Salant added that he was delighted to know and see that in America, too, there now existed rabbanim of great scholarship. If only, he states, their numbers would increase in all the cities of America.
    Rav Shaul Chaim Hurowitz (1828-1915),[85] of Yerushalayim[86] dated December 19, 1894. Rav Hurowitz mentioned that Rav Grayewsky had asked of him to examine the sefer Sho’el Ka’inyan and to comment on it. He then deliberated some points regarding other halachic issues that Rav Jaffe discussed in his sefer.
    Rav Naphtali Herz HaLevi Vaidenboim (1852-1902),[87] Ravad of Yafa,[88] dated December 14, 1894. He stated that Rav Grayewsky asked him for a haskamah on the sefer Sho’el Ka’inyan. After examining the sefer Rav Vaidenboim wrote that, on the whole, he agreed with Rav Jaffe regarding the eruv. However, he disagreed with him regarding the right to rent the reshus from a policeman and even from the mayor. The mayor, Rav Vaidenboim argued, was an employee of the inhabitants of the city and renting from him was no less than renting the reshus through sechiro v’lekito [an employee or a seasonal worker] of sechiro v’lekito. He then included some points regarding additional halachic issues that Rav Jaffe had discussed in his sefer.

    Next: The First St. Louis Eruv
    [64] It is very probable that Rav Jaffe was referring to the population tallies published in Gould’s St. Louis Directory which, by 1893, claimed the city’s population was 574,569. This would also explain Rav Jaffe referring to his source as a current city survey, which was issued yearly, as opposed to the census which is conducted every 10 years and only gave a figure of 452,000 for 1890. However, as we shall see further, Rav Jaffe was unsure if there actually was shishim ribo traversing therein daily (see also note 176). Moreover, the fact that Rav Jaffe argued that the population was over shishim ribo (which is even more than Gould’s for that year) must mean that he was including some of the suburbs in this tally (see following note).
    [65] Since the streets of St. Louis are not all parallel to each other, it is hard to know exactly how Rav Jaffe calculated the number of streets. However, it is clear from the dimensions of the city that he presented and the number of streets that he mentioned, that Rav Jaffe also included some suburbs (see preceding note and note 176).
    [66] Siman 251.
    [67] O.C. siman 26-27.
    [68] Aishel Avraham, siman 364:2.
    [69] As we shall see, Rav Rosenfeld did not mention this argument in his Tikvas Zecharia.
    [70] Ibid. See also note 153.
    [71] Siman 363:39.
    [72] Ibid., 40.
    [73] I am not sure what purpose these pillars served, but I believe that they had something to do with a rail system that ran partway up Washington Avenue.
    [74] As we shall see, Rav Rosenfeld did not mention this argument in his Tikvas Zecharia.
    [75] Ibid.
    [76] The mention of Baltimore was probably because at that time Rav Rosenfeld was still commuting there; see notes 33-34.
    [77] Sho’el Ka’inyan, p. {12} 23.
    [78] Ibid., p. 37.
    [79] Author of Toras Rabenu Shmuel Salant (Yerushalayim, 1998).
    [80] At this time, Rav Jaffe could only be referring to verbal agreement by the American rabbanim since the earliest haskamah published by Rav Jaffe from any rav in America was in Teshuvah KaHalachah VeDivrei Shalom, dated from the start of 5656, and which postdated Sho’el Ka’inyan, dated 5655.
    [81] Author of Ginas Egoz (Berlin, 1887); Haggadah Shel Pesach Gevul Yam (New York, 1889); Kadish Le’alam (Yerushalayim, 1891), and Siach Eliezer on Seder Hoshanos Selichos VeYotzros (Yerushalayim, 1896).
    [82] In Sho’el Ka’inyan (p. 226), and in Teshuvah KaHalachah VeDivrei Shalom (p. 28) Rav Jaffe mentioned that Rav Grayewsky had been to St. Louis. See also what Rav Grayewsky writes in ibid., p. 30.
    [83] Sho’el Ka’inyan, p. {23} 45.
    [84] It is interesting to note that Rav Grayewsky excused himself in his haskamah (ibid., p. 6) why he wrote comments on a sefer from a rav in America.
    [85] Author of Yad Shaul on the Nachlas Dovid, vol. 1 (Vilna, 1864); Kelilas Shaul (Vilna, 1879); Mitspeh Shaul on the Nachlas Dovid, vol. 2 (Vilna, 1881), and Pri Eitz Chaim on the Bais Dovid (Yerushalayim, 1904).
    [86] Formerly Rav of Dubrovno.
    [87] Author of Shaar Naftali and Imrei Shefer on the Sidur HaGra (Yerushalayim, 1895); Luchos HaBris on the Shnei Luchos HaBris (Yerushalayim, 1937), and Kesef Mishnah on the Mishnas Chassidim (New York, 2006).
    [88] Formerly of Bialystok.

    Sunday, November 05, 2006

    Eruvin in the News: Venice Beach, CA 4

    A Kosher Beach That's Not for the Birds

    By Rachael Myrow
    November 4, 2006

    Orthodox Jews in California's Venice Beach have found a 3,000-year-old loophole to a Jewish law that prohibits them from enjoying the beach on the Sabbath. But as Rachael Myrow of member station KPCC reports, environmentalists are concerned their solution might be dangerous for local birds. Listen to the NPR broadcast here.

    (Note an eruv is not a loophole at all. Most proscriptions against carrying on the Shabbos are me’d’rabban and are not min haTorah. The same legal framework established by Chazal that prohibits carrying also includes a provision that allows for carrying if an eruv is established. Additionally, Ms. Marcia Hanscom’s (Sierra Club) claim that, “It's a privatizing of our public land for one segment of the community. And there are a lot of people who think that's inappropriate,” has never been supported in any court. On the contrary, as Mr. Zev Yaroslavsky (L.A. County Supervisor) stated, “To them, this is an important thing. To the rest of us, it's a piece of nylon wire. So why make a big deal out of it.” I will add that Ms. Hanscom’s declaration that, “We're even trying to get the power lines taken down near here,” shows the type of unreasonable people they are dealing with.)

    Thursday, November 02, 2006

    Eruvin in the News: Edgware, London 4

    Eruv Boon for House Prices

    By Alex Sholem
    Thursday 2nd of November 2006

    Just weeks after going live, North London’s second eruv is contributing to Edgware’s house price bonanza. And now other communities are taking the first steps towards establishing their own religious boundaries. Read on ...

    Eruvin in the News: Venice Beach, CA 3

    California Costal Commission Report

    The new California Costal Commission report recommends allowing the establishment of the eruv in Venice Beach LA. Read the report here.

    Finally! Stamford Hill Joins the Club

    Mazel Tov to the Jewish residents of Stamford Hill upon the establishment of their  eruv . Finally, the last bastion of opposition to the ...