Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Part 2: The Jewish Tribune’s Argument Against the NW London Eruv

Continued from part I

The Jewish Tribune, page 4:
This [that it is sufficient if a road just services shishim ribo to be classified as a reshus harabbim] is the opinion of almost all the leading authorities of our time – Rav M Feinstein ztl, Rav A Kotler ztl, Rav S.Z. Auerbach ztl, Rav Kaminetsky, zl. Rav Y.Y. Weiss ztl and yibodel l’chaim Rav Y. S. Elyashev shlito – although their opinion in this regard seem to be ignored in the publication!
The rebuttal:
Rav Moshe zt”l’s opinion was (Igros Moshe, O.C. 1:139:5, 4:87, 5:28:16) that an intercity road [sratya] would require 600,000 people traversing the same section of the road daily for it to be classified as a reshus harabbim. Additionally, Rav Moshe stated (ibid., 5:28:5, 5:29) that the criterion of shishim ribo when applied to a city would necessitate a population of at least 3,000,000 inhabitants. Only a city with such a sizable population could physically satisfy the condition of shishim ribo ovrim bo, 600,000 people collectively traversing its streets at one time. Obviously, the author of this article does not know Rav Moshe’s opinion at all. Regarding Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l’s view, I challenge the author of this article to cite one teshuvah of Rav Aharon’s dealing with how to apply the criteria of shishim ribo. Dear reader, there is no such teshuvah. The opinions of Rav Auerbach zt”l and Rav Kaminetsky zt”l are pure hearsay from the cabal. Regarding Rav Weiss zt”l, as cited above in regards to the Bais Ephraim, he maintains that shishim ribo needs to actually traverse the street but just not every day of the year (Minchas Yitzchak, 8:32). That Rav Elyashiv shlita subscribes to this opinion is hearsay from the cabal, as well. As a matter of fact, Rav Elyashiv’s opinion is clarified in his letter which was included in the kuntres, and it is certainly not what this article claims it to be. What can be discerned from this letter is that Rav Elyashiv maintains that shishim ribo is conditional of the city and is not applicable to a road at all. This is just another proof that the cabal states opinions that they make up out of thin air in the name of gedolim. As I had mentioned prior in my post regarding the kuntres, I am surprised that Rav Elyashiv maintains that shishim ribo is conditional of a city, since the overwhelming majority of poskim uphold that it is a qualification of a street (see Part 2a: Why Brooklyn Is Not a Reshus HaRabbim). [In answer to those who argue that the Achiezer maintains that shishim ribo is conditional of a city, see my post Part 1: The Achiezer Explained where I prove otherwise.]

The Jewish Tribune, page 4:
(Other eruvim in major cities do not encounter the same issues which for reasons of the limited scope of this article cannot be dealt with. They will be clarified in a kuntres to be published shortly.)
The rebuttal:
There is no doubt that the NW London eruv is as mehudar or possibly even more mehudar, as most city eruvin past or present. I look forward to a clarification of the difference between the London eruv and eruvin in the rest of the world.

The Jewish Tribune, page 4:
The roads concerned, albeit interconnected and not absolutely straight, are still classified as r’shus horabim particularly as they are highways. (Confirmed by Rav S.Z. Auerbach and Rav YS Elyashev). It is true that the Chazon Ish ztl advanced a novel and more lenient view but his thesis is opposed by all the aforementioned authorities and earlier gedolim.
The rebuttal:
The roads of London fail to meet at least two of the requirements of a reshus harabbim: 1) They do not contain shishim ribo. 2) They are not mefulash u’mechuvanim m’shar l’shaar. Moreover, since the eruv consists of mechitzos habatim on all four sides that are omed merubeh al haparutz (or at the minimum we can make use of the Chazon Ish’s chiddush) the area enclosed is fundamentally a reshus hayachid min haTorah. Even one of the above conditions would be sufficient ground to permit an eruv of tzuras hapesachim. Accordingly, as there are many reasons to allow an eruv in London, even a Baal Nefesh can utilize the eruv with certainty. Additionally, there is no difference between a road and a highway that runs through a city as the article seems to suggest. Both would need to be mefulash u’mechuvanim m’shar l’shaar. I reiterate, everything that the cabal mentions in the name of the gedolim (Rav Auerbach zt”l and Rav Elyashev shlita) is hearsay. While Rav Kotler zt”l and Rav Feinstein zt”l disagreed with the Chazon Ish, there is nothing in the writings from Rav Kaminetsky zt”l, Rav Weiss zt”l (see more regarding Rav Weiss and this matter further down), and Rav Elyashev shlita that argues on the Chazon Ish. [It is important to note that according to Rav Kotler, no city eruv ─ large or small, past and present ─ could have been erected. It is therefore clear that the minhag is not like him.] Additionally, Rav Auerbach zt”l maintained that, in case of great need, one could possibly rely on the chiddush of the Chazon Ish (Minchas Shlomo, 2:35:22; actually, in Halichos Shlomo, Hilchos Tefillin, siman 31:95 they mention that Rav Auerbach stated that the halachah is probably like the Chazon Ish). Moreover, there are poskim who clearly utilize the Chazon Ish’s chiddush (Even Yisroel, 8:36; Shevet HaLevi, 8:97; Machazeh Eliyahu, 39:2; Kinyan Torah, 4:40, and Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlita in Shoneh Halachos, siman 363).

The Jewish Tribune, page 39:
In practice, even the Chazon Ish ruled that the K’vish Haschachor in Bnei Brak should not be included because of the possibility of it being a r’shus horabim min HaTorah (testimony of his nephew Rav N. Karelitz).
The rebuttal:
As I posted lately (Would the Chazon Ish Have Utilized His Chiddush to Allow an Eruv L’chatchilah?) this statement has been refuted by Rav Karelitz shlita himself. Dear reader, there is not a word argued by the cabal that can be trusted.

The Jewish Tribune, page 39:
Another major obstacle is that of karfifos. This relates to sizeable areas within the eruv perimeter which are not designed for daily living purposes … Their existence can disqualify the validity of the eruv unless they are enclosed with proper halachic partitions – something not feasible. Any assertion that such karfifos do not exist within the eruv is incorrect. It should be noted that the Chazon Ish zl was very opposed to any eruv encircling, karfifos and for this reason alone, to portray the London eruv as being “valid according to the Chazon Ish” is manifestly untrue.
The rebuttal:
As I mentioned above, karpeifos are an issue to be dealt with but not a reason to negate an eruv. Additionally, the experts wrote that the Chazon Ish would allow these karpeifos. Moreover, Rav Halpern, in his teshuvah, wrote extensively regarding the London karpeifos and categorically allowed them, so why has it only become an issue now? Additionally, I am told that there is an eruv that was established by one of the main objectors to the NW London eruv which included karpeifos. So again, why has it become an issue only lately? The hypocrisy continues. [I hope to post in the near future a more detailed rebuttal regarding some of the arguments against the teshuvah on karpeifos published in the kuntres.]

The Jewish Tribune, page 39:
A further problem which makes the word ‘mehudar’ ring hollow, is that of s’chiras r’shus within the eruv area. All non-Jewish residents must rent out their rights to the street for Eruv use – otherwise they will automatically invalidate the Eruv. This involves approaching all of them individually for this propose which is naturally not possible. Alternatively, one can go over their heads and rent the rights from someone who can enforce entry into their premises without their permission. In former times, such autocratic authority existed but not today in our democratic countries. The use of the Mayor of London for this purpose cannot really be taken seriously as even the police do not have these powers without reasonable cause for suspicion.
The rebuttal:
To begin with, it’s important to note that this argument would call into question all city eruvin large and small. Consequentially, there is no doubt that this matter has not been considered a difficulty by the majority of poskim who allow city eruvin l’chatchilah. Why should London be any different? Even though there are a few rabbanim who mentioned to their talmidim that they should not carry, no city eruv was advertised as being only b'dieved. This issue has only become a problem lately when a group formed in Eretz Yisroel with a goal to enact all chumras possible in eruvin, including establishing small neighborhood eruvin so that the renting of the rights from each and every person included in the boundaries of the eruv would be possible. However, as Rav Dovid Eisenstein mentioned in the kuntres (p. 56) [regarding a neighborhood eruv that was established in Golders Green] these eruvin will eventually need to rely on the general sechiras reshus from the city Mayor (and such), since those involved with these eruvin are bound to lose track of new non-Jewish residents which would require a renewed sechiras reshus from them. I am told this has actually happened regarding most of the neighborhood eruvin set up by this group in Eretz Yisroel. This is a classic example of people creating chumros that they ultimately cannot carry out. Instead of them plumbing the depths of the inyan impartially ─ which according to all is only d’rabbanan ─ and allowing themselves to realize that there are many heterim, they are machmir and seek to create difficulties. There are numerous reasons to allow our sechiras reshus (see here Part 1: Sechiras Reshus for Contemporary City Eruvin) such as the power of government to employ eminent domain (or as it is called in England, a compulsory purchase). I believe that the words of Rav Yisroel Yaakov Fisher zt”l (Even Yisroel, 8:36) succinctly sums up who these “baalei chumras,” were when he basically told them that the large Yerushalayim eruv is just fine, and he is not keen on the neighborhood eruvin at all. [Sure there were gedolim who joined these “baalei chumras,” however, they clearly did not intend to negate large city eruvin as is the agenda of these askanim. I will add that I know for a fact that some of these gedolim quietly support city eruvin.]

The Jewish Tribune, page 39:
For this reason alone Rav S.Y. Elyashiv rules that where the “individual renting of rights” is not possible, no eruv should be constructed to allow people to carry who would not do so otherwise. He adds that only where people are already carrying and the purpose of the eruv is designed to limit the transgression, can s’chirus r’shus be carried out via the authorities.
The rebuttal:
Rav Elayshiv said no such thing. Rav Elyashiv states in the letter published in the kuntres (p. 37) that there are those who are machmir and don’t use the city eruv because they maintain that it is not adequate to rely on the sechiras reshus from the city Mayor. However, Rav Elyashiv acknowledged that the Ginas V’radin is lenient, and the Bais Meir cites a reason to be lenient as well, but the Bais Meir concludes that, Heaven forbid, that he should be lenient when other poskim are not. Nevertheless, Rav Elyashiv declared the Gedolie Yerushalayim constructed an eruv of tzuras hapesachim in order that people should not come to carry without an eruv at all. Therefore, Rav Elyashiv concluded in this letter that it is a mitzvah gedolah to erect and enhance the eruv in Yerushalayim. Consequentially, the Jewish Tribune’s suggestion (which they obtained from one of the members of the anti-eruv cabal’s seforim) that Rav Elyashiv only allowed the reliance on sechiras reshus, “to limit the transgression,” of people who had previously been carrying, but that he would not allow an eruv to be constructed where people have not yet been carrying is now proven incorrect. Rav Elyashiv stated clearly in this letter that the Gedolei Yerushalayim constructed an eruv, and that it is even a mitzvah gedolah to erect an eruv. Clearly Rav Elyashiv is not just referring to a situation where people have been already carrying, as this article suggests, since he even mentions the construction of a new eruv. [Additionally, the Yerushalayim eruv has been expanded over the years to include new neighborhoods where people had not been carrying thus far, so apparently there have been new eruvin constructed in Yerushalayim, as well.]

Moreover, if the sechiras reshus was only allowed, “to limit the transgression,” of people who have previously been carrying, why haven’t we ever seen the Gedolei Yerushalayim proclaim as such. Furthermore, why didn’t Rav Elyashiv state clearly in this letter that the Yerushalayim eruv was not intended for people to carry therein, but that it was only established to save people from transgression? Instead, Rav Elyashiv just states that there are people who are machmir and do not rely on their city’s sechiras reshus, but nevertheless, the Gedolei Yerushalayim allowed an eruv. In fact, the overwhelming majority of residents of Yerushalayim rely on their eruv. Even more so, this claim is offensive. Does anyone actually believe that the residents of Yerushalayim who make use of the eruv would not listen to the Gedolei Yerushalayim if they told them not to carry, as this article suggests? Dear readers, this argument is fiction, and Rav Elayshiv never said any such thing. Clearly Rav Elyashiv’s intent when he wrote, “the Gedolie Yerushalayim constructed an eruv of tzuras hapesachim in order that people should not come to carry without an eruv at all” was just as the Chasam Sofer (O.C. siman 99) declared, that it is impossible that people would not come to carry without an eruv. Therefore, Rav Elayshiv concluded that it is a mitzvah gedolah to erect an eruv, without any further qualifications. Dear readers, why should London be any different?

Besides for which, as Rav Dovid Eisenstein mentioned in the kuntres (Hebrew section p. 56), London’s situation regarding sechiras reshus is possibly superior to Yerushalayim. In fact, I was told that Rav Elyashiv shlita admitted so to Rav Moshe Berlin shlita. In light of this letter from Rav Elyashiv, all arguments in his name regarding sechiras reshus from the cabal and their seforim should be discounted.

The Jewish Tribune, page 39:
Space does not permit discussion of other problems inherent in the construction of this eruv which lies largely within non-Jewish districts where no legal permission for necessary checking is possible.
The rebuttal:
The fact is most city eruvin prior to WWII were established in non-Jewish districts. Furthermore, there is no difference between the countless city eruvin in America and city eruvin all over the world which are mostly constructed within non-Jewish districts. Why should London be any different?

The Jewish Tribune, page 39:
The late Rav Eider zl – an expert of eruvim refused to become involved in this eruv which he asserted would only cause great dissention (contrary to the implication on page 551) – and how right he was. In a letter he writes – “A community eruv needs vigilance and constant repairs. We have communities in which almost every week the eruv needs repairs…because of vandalism, weather conditions and accidents affecting wires or posts”. How often over a five year period has this Eruv been declared out of bounds? It is worth remembering that it only needs one thin wire to snap or slip down on the side of dozens of “tzuros hapesach” posts anywhere along the eleven mile boundary and the entire Eruv is possel, with no means of informing the public! And that is called Mehudar?
The rebuttal:
No one is being forced to carry so there is no need for dissention. If a rav does not want his kehilah to use the eruv, he should just state his opinion loud and clear. Why is there the need to, “cause great dissention,” if not for political reasons? It may be that Rav Eider did not want to be involved with an eruv in the face of controversy, and so he offered reasons not to erect an eruv in light of such a situation (my suspicions have now been confirmed, Rav Eider was threatened by the cabal to stay out of the London eruv). However, anyone familiar with Rav Eider’s immense contribution to the establishment of city eruvin can attest that, notwithstanding these issues (vandalism etc.), he was involved in erecting city eruvin all over the world. Additionally, there is no doubt that the eruvin in Europe prior to WWII had these same issues, and no one argued that an eruv should not be erected for these reasons. I have been informed that after the initial start up tribulations, there have been few if any issues with the eruv’s status on Shabbos. Actually, since non-Jews were hired to check the eruv and repair any breaks on Shabbos, there never is a need to inform the public. Moreover, there were eruvin in the past and there are eruvin today that are as large as the NW London eruv, and none of them have a means of notifying the public (actually, many poskim do not require that the public even be informed). Why should London be any different? Yes, if the Yerushalayim eruv is considered mehudar, notwithstanding all these so called issues, why shouldn’t the London eruv, which is more mehudar, be classified as such?

There is an interesting dichotomy that I would like to bring to light. When the Boro Park eruv was established, there was an argument set forth by the cabal that Boro Park is unlike Europe prior to WWII, and even today since there is no official city Bais Din that would be in charge of the upkeep of the eruv. It is fascinating that the issue of upkeep is being inveighed against the NW London eruv despite the fact that the city of London does maintain a Bais Din, and thus regarding this matter, it is no different than any of the eruvin established prior to WWII. Instead of lauding the London Bais Din for bringing in these experts to upgrade the eruv to a mehudar status, they are harshly criticized. It is obvious that the cabal will use any argument that they can to negate an eruv.

The Jewish Tribune, page 39:
The same renowned expert was a close talmid of Rav M. Feinstein zl, and has no hesitation in writing (about the proposed London Eruv) “I am reasonably certain that Rav Moshe would oppose the Eruv” and yet it is still considered ‘mehudar’ despite the opposition of the leading posek of our generation!
The rebuttal:
Even if Rav Eider said what they claim he did, that he is, “reasonably certain that Rav Moshe would oppose the Eruv,” how does this affect its mehudar status? Nowhere in Rav Eider’s letter does he claim that Rav Moshe’s issues with the eruv were of a halachic nature. Moreover, Rav Eider said no such thing. Anyone who would read Rav Eider’s letter would see that the cabal is inserting words into it. Rav Eider did not claim that Rav Moshe would object to the eruv only that his rebbe advised him not to be involved in establishing an eruv in a city where there is opposition. Nowhere did Rav Moshe suggest that rabbanim can’t establish an eruv in their city in the face of opposition.

The Jewish Tribune, page 39:
In the publication great play is made of the fact that this Eruv “is like the Eruv of Yerushalayim”. Firstly acknowledge experts in the field – both here and in Eretz Yisroel – have written to refute this comparison and assert that in major respects London is halachially far worse.
The rebuttal:
The biggest experts in the field who happen to be involved with both the Yerushalayim and London eruvin argue that the London eruv is more mehudar than the Yerushalayim eruv. Do these, “acknowledged experts in the field,” know both situations better than these experts from Yerushalayim? Moreover, it would be nice to see what these so called, “acknowledged experts in the field,” have to say.

The Jewish Tribune, page 39:
Secondly, Rav Y.S. Elyashiv has written explicitly that if official statistics will prove that Yerushalayim has 600,000 inhabitants, the entire Eruv is in jeopardy and will have to be reviewed. In London we have long passed that stage and yet is still ‘kosher’ and even ‘mehudar’?
The rebuttal:
It is fascinating how the cabal did not realize that this statement contradicts their claim a few paragraphs earlier regarding Rav Elyashiv’s shita in shishim ribo. Here they admit that from Rav Elyashiv’s letter we see that he maintains that the criterion of shishim ribo is conditional of the city, but previously they argued that Rav Elyashiv upholds that the possibility of shishim ribo to traverse a street is sufficient for the street to be classified as a reshus harabbim. Clearly there is not a word that this cabal says in the name of the gedolim that can be trusted, as they can’t even get their arguments straight.

Yerushalayim has reached the stage ─ of containing a population greater than shishim ribo ─ quite a few years ago, and the eruv has not been dismantled but is here to stay (the population of Yerushalayim is growing at about a rate of 10,000 residents a year). Moreover, Rav Elyashiv (who seems to be machmir regarding shishim ribo) was clearly being stringent because of the fact that the Yerushalayim eruv consists of tzuras hapesachim. However, the London eruv consists of mechitzos so there is no reason to think that Rav Elyashiv would be stringent in such a situation as well. Furthermore, just as Rav Elyashiv allowed an eruv in Toronto consisting of mechitzos, there is no doubt that he would allow this eruv in London as well. I reiterate all statements in the name of Rav Elyashiv emanating from the cabal, even those written in their seforim, should be discounted. This letter published from Rav Elyashiv in the kuntres proves that they argue fictitious opinions in his name (including that Rav Elyashiv maintains that the possibility of shishim ribo to traverse a street is sufficient for the street to be classified as a reshus harabbim and their claims regarding Rav Elyashiv’s shita in sechiras reshus).

Part III