Wednesday, June 18, 2008

An Open Letter From HaRav Kimchi Shlita

On the numerous occasions when I debated members of the anti-eruv cabal, they mentioned two letters from Rav Shimon Eider zt”l regarding the NW London Eruv. One of the letters was addressed to Rav Chaim Halpern shlita, and according to the cabal, it stated that Rav Eider had asserted that his rebbe Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l would have objected to the NW London Eruv because of the machlokas that ensued. I argued that Rav Moshe would not have objected to the eruv because of machlokas since he allowed the rabbanim to erect an eruv in Manhattan and in Brooklyn in the face of opposition. I stated then that if Rav Moshe had mentioned anything to Rav Eider regarding machlokas and eruvin, it was only a suggestion that Rav Eider should not involve himself in the internal politics of eruvin if there is no consensus from the local rabbanim. After I received a copy of this letter, I was proven correct. According to this letter, if some of the local rabbanim want to establish an eruv, Rav Moshe would not object even if there is opposition.

The cabal alleged that the second letter from Rav Eider was addressed to Rav Avrohom Kimchi shlita. The cabal asserted that Rav Eider argued in this letter that his rebbe Rav Moshe would object to the NW London Eruv for halachic reasons. However, as we will now see from the following letter, Rav Kimchi never received such a missive which also explains why it was never disseminated. The following open letter from Rav Kimchi should hopefully put to rest this rumor circulated by the anti-eruv cabal. Subsequently, there is no doubt that Rav Moshe would not have objected to the NW London Eruv for halachic reasons.


18th June 2008


It has been brought to my attention that in the debate surrounding the NW London Eruv a claim has been made which is entirely without any foundation or truth whatsoever.

It is well known that approximately 20 years ago, at the initial planning stage of the eruv, the late R. Shimeon Eider ztzal came to London for several days on our request. He spent many days with me together with our team, during which he carefully considered many possible maps for the eruv, and finally decided on the one which was eventually built. He took great care with all measurements, traffic flow figures and maintenance strategies, as was fitting for an expert and a professional in his field. From the outset he was enthusiastic and encouraged us all in this venture, and the intention was that he would return to supervise its actual construction. However, when he realized the extent of the opposition from other local rabbonim he apologized to me on the phone and said that he was not able to suffer the aggravation of machlokes.

At no point did he indicate in any way that he had changed his mind about the validity and kashrus of the eruv itself, and when it was built he simply let it be known that he had not in fact supervised its construction, which is absolutely correct.

It is now being claimed that a letter was written to me in which he allegedly cites his halakhic reservations or problems with the eruv as the reason for his withdrawal, and that I have allegedly suppressed this letter.

I would like to make it absolutely clear that I have never received such a letter myself, or anything similar to it, nor have I ever heard of its alleged existence. In fact anyone who had been at any of the many meetings and phone calls we had together would be amazed at this claim, since it was with great certainty and enthusiasm that he led us in the initial stages of this project citing all the reasons why London did not have the problems of Manhattan, and that clearly the rulings of HaGaon R. Chaim Ozer ztzal for Paris and the rulings of HaGaon the Chazon Ish zatzal were directly applicable here.

Yehi Ratzon she'nizkeh le'harbos be'divrei sholom ve'emess