Friday, December 29, 2006

Eruvin in the News: Venice Beach, CA 6

Two groups sue California Coastal Commission to challenge religious 'eruv' enclosure approval

Two local environmental groups have filed a lawsuit challenging the California Coastal Commission approval of a plan by an Orthodox synagogue in Venice to construct a symbolic religious enclosure known as an "eruv" several miles along the beach.

The Marina Peninsula Neighborhood Association and the Coastal Law Enforcement Action Network (CLEAN) filed a lawsuit Monday, December 18th, in the California Superior Court of San Francisco against the California Coastal Commission for approving the installation of fishing wire and poles to hold the wires along beaches in Santa Monica, Venice and near the Marina del Rey entrance channel. Read on ...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Eruvin in the News: Toronto, Canada

A String and a Prayer

By Joshua Knelman
Special to The Globe and Mail

It's 4:15 p.m. on Friday at the corner of Bathurst and Lawrence. The kosher butchers, bakeries and King David Pizza are already closed. Men in black hats and black suits hurry along darkening, cold streets. These hours of slim winter light before sunset are precious for Toronto's Orthodox Jewish community, a time of intense preparation for the day of rest and prayer. At 4:30 p.m., the 39 rules of Sabbath descend here. Or at least 38 do, depending on whether the eruv is operational. Read on ...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Eruv Stories: A Burning Issue, Follow-Up

In Eruv Stories: A Burning Issue, I mention a story regarding Harav Mordechai Benet zt”l and the eruv in Nikolsburg. The Christian butcher Topolanski stubbornly refused to allow the [eruv] chain to be set up. This was due not so much to his own scruples, but rather because of his neighbors, who objected to the presence of this symbol of an alien belief in their proximity. It was Harav Benet who convinced Topolanski to allow the erection of a tzuras hapesach on his house by blessing him that his house would always be protected from fire.

A similar story is cited in Die Juden Und Judengemeinden Mahrens In Vergangenheit Und Gegenwart by Hugo Gold, published in 1929 (see facsimile of p. 443 below). However, the issue mentioned was not about erecting chains but only regarding eruvei techumin. He states that the neighbors objected to the sign above Topolanski’s doorway which stated in Hebrew, “Bais HaEruv”. This sign indicated that herein lay the eruv techumin and that this was the boundaries of the town. From this point onwards would begin the 2000 amos (see Pe’er Mordechai, p. 174 who cites Hugo Gold).

This version of the story is suspect. The story, as I originally posted it, was mentioned prior to 1929 in both Kovetz Kerem Shlomo (the letter was written in 1874) and Hickl's illustrierter J├╝discher Volkskalendar (1926/27). Both maintain that the story was regarding erecting a tzuras hapesach. More so, the story published in Kovetz Kerem Shlomo was written by Harav Moshe Lieb Cohen zt”l who, since he was a Dayan in Nikolsburg not long after the passing of Harav Benet, probably had more intimate knowledge of the story than the other citations. Additionally, it is more probable that Topolanski’s neighbors would object to a tzuras hapesach (which actually was a very contentious issue between Christens and Jews) then just some Hebrew words above the doorway.

However, there is a possibility that Topolanski’s house was the site of both the eruv techumin and a lechi since it was on the outskirts of the town.

Facsimile of Die Juden Und Judengemeinden Mahrens In Vergangenheit Und Gegenwart, p. 443, that mentions the story regarding the eruv in Nikolsburg.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Eruv Stories: In the Merit of Meseches Eruvin

The Chazon Ish was once asked why miracles are not openly performed in our own generation, as they were in previous eras. The Chazon Ish answered that even today Hashem constantly performs miracles to protect His nation. He related the following miracle that he himself experienced during his youth.

In Russia, during the time of the First World War, anyone who was caught without the proper identification papers was suspected of being a spy, and was subject to interrogation, imprisonment, or worse. On the day the Chazon Ish completed his commentary on Meseches Eruvin, he was sitting in the shul in Minsk when suddenly someone entered and announced that a group of soldiers had gathered on the outskirts of the city, and were preparing to make a search for all those who did not have their papers in order. Since the Chazon Ish did not have the necessary papers, he fled to the forests outside the city to hide until the soldiers completed their search and left. When he reached the edge of the forest, he realized that he had walked right into the soldiers’ camp where they were preparing to enter the city. Since he was already in clear view of the solders, he could not turn around and run. He had no choice but to walk straight through their camp, trying to appear as innocent as possible. Amazingly, the soldiers took no notice of him at all, and he walked safely through the forest.

The Chazon Ish concluded that Hashem had preformed this great miracle for him in the merit of his studies in Meseches Eruvin.

(Translated from Toldos Yaakov, p. 108, by Meorot HaDaf Ha Yomi, vol. 347; see also Hamodia Magazine, August 30 2006, p. 10, for a slightly different version of the story)

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 ...