Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Flatbush/Williamsburg Eruv Imbroglio Continues

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


Recently (April 28, 2011), Rav Moshe Scheinerman shlita, rav of Kollel Bnai HaYeshivos in Flatbush, gave a speech at an asifa opposing the eruv in Williamsburg. [Since he maliciously attacked and was mevazeh the rav who gives the hechsher on the Flatbush eruv, I will not (as of yet) disseminate the audio clip.] Much can be said regarding many of the points raised (and those not mentioned) by Rav Scheinerman in his speech; however, to illustrate the irrationality practiced when the subject is eruvin, I will raise a few rhetorical questions.

  • All the Satmarer rabbanim gave their approval for an eruv to be established in Williamsburg from the years 1972-1981 (Part 1: The Truth About the Satmar Rebbe and a Williamsburg Eruv). Does Rav Scheinerman know better than these rabbanim what the Satmarer rebbe’s opinion regarding eruvin really was?
  • Until the current group of eruvin was established no one ever claimed that the Satmarer rebbe maintained that Brooklyn is a reshus harabbim. On the contrary, the fact that the major Satmarer rabbanim allowed an eruv and that street eruvin were always erected in Williamsburg is clear proof that the rebbe did not maintain that Brooklyn is a reshus harabbim. Does Rav Scheinerman know better than these rabbanim what the Satmarer rebbe’s opinion was regarding reshus harabbim? [The fact that some in Satmar believe today that the rebbe was of the opinion that Brooklyn is a reshus harabbim demonstrates how good the anti-eruv cabal is at rewriting history.]
  • Is Rav Scheinerman arguing that one should not follow his rav? Isn’t the halachah k’basrai?
  • Didn’t Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l maintain that when one follows one’s rav on any issue, even on issurei chilul Shabbos, albeit the halachah is not like his rav’s interpretation, no aveirah is transgressed (Igros Moshe, O.C. 1:186)? In light of this Igros Moshe, does Rav Scheinerman still maintain that one should be mocheh against those who are just following the ruling of their rav?
  • If Rav Scheinerman has the right to preach his anti-eruv rhetoric which is in opposition to the rabbanim hamatirim, in Williamsburg [note that the Williamsburg eruv is supported by the foremost halachic authority in America], why doesn’t Rav Benzion Y. Wosner shlita ― an expert on the construction of eruvin, who was summoned by the rabbanim supporting an eruv in Flatbush (see Questions and Answers Regarding the Flatbush Eruv, p. 8) ― have the right to give a hechsher on the Flatbush eruv, despite the fact that there are rabbanim haossrim?
  • Surely there are many matters regarding Yidishkeit in Flatbush that the rabbanim of Williamsburg would protest against. Would it be appropriate for the Williamsburg rabbanim to protest against these perceived laxities in the Flatbush community?
  • Does Williamsburg, a neighborhood with fifty years of protest experience against issues that they maintain are important to Yidishkeit, need to import a rav from Flatbush to teach them the importance of protest?
These inconsistencies ought to come as no surprise to those who have followed the bias against the establishment of city eruvin.

It is telling that he claims victory in Flatbush but yet feels the need to viciously attack those who disagree with him. Clearly he believes that the issue of eruvin only belongs to those who he deems are the gedolim.

Finally, the anti-eruv group was mostly content with publicly harassing the layman who use the Brooklyn eruvin and only subtly denigrating the rabbanim who support the eruv. However, Rav Scheinerman has brought the war down to a new level — he is willing to publicly flog the supporting rabbanim.

[It is of interest to note that Rav Scheinerman proved what I have argued all along that the anti-eruv cabal lied to Rav Dovid Feinstein shlita. He claims that after the cabal consulted with Rav Dovid, he declared conclusively that his father never retracted his opposition to a Brooklyn eruv, when in fact no one ever argued otherwise. The only claim that the supporters of the Brooklyn eruvin made was that if Rav Moshe would have known the facts, he would have allowed the current eruvin.]