Thursday, May 15, 2008

Would the Chazon Ish Have Utilized His Chiddush to Allow an Eruv L’chatchilah?

Something that has bothered me for many years has now been answered. In Orchos Rabbeinu (vol. 1 p. 170, vol. 3 p. 253), they write that the Chazon Ish did not want to include Jabotinsky Road (481) in the Bnei Brak eruv. They go so far as to claim that even though the road according to the Chazon Ish’s chiddush (see The Brilliant Chiddush of the Chazon Ish) would not be classified as a reshus harabbim, nevertheless, he did not want to include it in the eruv. From these statements many have argued that although the Chazon Ish maintained that there is no reshus harabbim today in large cities, he would not enact his chiddush l’chatchilah. There was never any doubt in my mind that something was wrong with these statements in Orchos Rabbeinu. Anyone who learnt through the Chazon Ish on eruvin ─ his chiddushim and his countless letters defending them ─ would realize how strongly the Chazon Ish believed in his chiddush and could not honestly argue that the Chazon Ish would not utilize his chiddush l’chatchilah. Moreover, the Chazon Ish called his chiddush a clear and encompassing heter for our cities (Chazon Ish, O.C. 107:7). Evidently he would have relied on his chiddush l’chatchilah.

I hope that this matter will now be put to rest. In the Bnei Brak newspaper known for its Chazon Ish leaning, Arba Kanfos (April 30, 2008 p. 21; see below), they published an article from Rav Nissim Karelitz shlita where he states emphatically that the Chazon Ish’s chiddush can be relied on l’chatchilah, and that the reason why Jabotinsky Road was not included in the eruv was because it was parutz merubeh al haomed and therefore did not meet the Chazon Ish’s requirement. This follows what Rav Karelitz clearly states in his sefer Chut Shani (vol. 2, p. 281) that the Chazon Ish only had an issue with Jabotinsky Road because it was not within the boundaries of the city. However, through the Chazon Ish’s chiddush, streets in the city proper would normally be considered encompassed by mechitzos. [Additionally, it is apparent from one of the letters to Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlita published in the kuntres The Eruv Hamehudar in NW London (p. 38) that he maintains that the Chazon Ish’s chiddush can be used l’chatchilah, as well.]

The only issue that the Chazon Ish himself wrote about was that almost every time he inspected the eruv after Shabbos it was either broken or ripped. Therefore, he maintained that the eruv was considered be’chezkas pasul every Shabbos (Teshuvos V’Ksavim, siman 85; see the copy of this ksav yad in Orchos Rabbeinu, vol. 1 p. 170). He was therefore uneasy about people utilizing the eruv. However, since modern construction materials can withstand extreme weather conditions, they are b’chezkas kayama. There is no doubt then that the Chazon Ish would allow an eruv utilizing his chiddush and allow carrying in it today l’chatchilah.

An article published in the Bnei Brak newspaper Arba Kanfos (April 30, 2008 p. 21) which cites Rav Nissen Karelitz shlita who maintains that the Chazon Ish’s chiddush can be relied on l’chatchilah, and that the reason why Jabotinsky Road was not included in the eruv was because it was parutz merubeh al haomed.