Friday, August 19, 2011

Gezeiros and More: HaRav Shlomo Pearl Shlita on the Brooklyn and Queens Eruvin, Part 3


Rav Pearl shlita:
Rav Moshe brings a rayah from Yerushalayim, in the days when they were oleh regel there was no eruv. Why was there no eruv when the oleh regalim went? Because they were afraid if people coming would see them carrying in Yerushalayim, they would go home and say the frum Jews in Yerushalayim carry on Shabbos — you want us not to carry? So shema yitu, there was no eruv there bezman of oleh regalim. So you can ask, today there is an eruv in Yerushalayim, why are we not concerned that shema yitu? Like everything else, not everybody is somech on the eruv in Yerushalayim. Rav Moshe would probably hold that you shouldn’t carry there.

The rebuttal:
This argument of Rav Moshe is hard to comprehend. Rav Moshe questions why, if it is a chiyuv to erect an eruv, didn’t they establish one for Yerushalayim? Rav Moshe answers that since people came to Yerushalayim from all over the world they would learn that carrying is permitted and they would mistakenly carry in places where it was not possible to establish an eruv; therefore, Rav Moshe declared they did not establish an eruv for the city of Yerushalayim (Igros Moshe, O.C. 1:139:5). However, there really is no chiyuv to establish an eruv for an entire city only for the chatzeiros and the mevo'os of the city. Later, when the layout of our cities changed and our streets took on the form and the halachos of chatzeiros and mevo'os, it became a chiyuv to establish eruvin for the entire city, as well (this is the meaning of the Chasam Sofer, in O.C. 99). As a matter of fact, the Rishonim state that they did establish eruvin for the mevo'os of Yerushalayim (Ravyah, Eruvin p. 398 and Haslamah, Eruvin 6a). So I don’t understand how Rav Moshe can glean anything from the fact that no eruv was established for the entire city of Yerushalayim. [It is of interest to note the Noda B’Yehudah, Mahadura Tinyana Kuntres Achron (siman 21) and the Tiferes Yisroel (Eruvin, 10:57) maintain that an eruv was allowed in Yerushalayim; however, it was not possible to establish an eruv at the time.]

Furthermore, this is a perfect example of the irrationality practiced when the inyan is eruvin. Rav Pearl states that Rav Moshe would probably not allow carrying in Yerushalayim today. Why not? First of all, Yerushalayim has nowhere near a population of three million. Additionally, Rav Moshe admitted that if the rabbanim had already established an eruv (in Manhattan) the precedent of Yerushalayim would not pose an obstacle (HaPardes, 33rd year, vol. 9). The current (original) eruv in Yerushalayim is in existence from way back, prior to Rav Moshe writing his teshuvos regarding this matter, so no doubt Rav Moshe would agree to an established eruv such as this. Moreover, regarding Brooklyn, Rav Moshe was not even sure that it can be compared to Yerushalayim of old at all (Igros Moshe, O.C. 1:139:6, 5:28:15) so how do we know if he would include Yerushalayim of today in this gezeirah? I would argue that today with modern communication everyone would be informed about the possibility or the impossibility of establishing an eruv (and let us not forget the enormous dissemination of information by the anti-eruv cabal). Consequentially, this gezeirah is superseded as no one would carry in places where it is not permitted. [It is interesting to note, according to Rav Pearl, the fact that the overwhelming majority of people make use of the eruv in Yerushalayim today just proves that many do not follow Rav Moshe’s chiddushim in eruvin.]

Rav Pearl shlita:
What about Manhattan? Rav Moshe held that it was probably ossur to carry there, and this is what Rav Aharon Kotler held. Even if you made all the takanos there and you have everything set and you took care of any possible problem that could exist but still you couldn’t carry. This is also Rav Moshe’s mehalach — he was concerned that once people would be able to carry in Manhattan then the whole inyan of hotza’ah would become mekulkal here in America. He had svoros, a Rashba B’Avodas HaKodesh. The gemara says that if you had dalsos neulos ba'laila in Yerushalayim you could carry there, and the Rashba says you could carry in the mevo'os of Yerushalaim, but not in the streets of Yerushalaim. Rabeinu Ephraim came to the same conclusion. There’s a Trumas Hadeshen says also even if dalsos neulos ba'laila would take off the d’Oraysa but you would still have a d’rabbanan. So there are shitos that bderech klal that ain me’arvin b’reshus harabbim even with dalsos.

The rebuttal:
To begin with it’s important to note that Rav Moshe agreed that there are many reasons to allow an eruv in Manhattan, and that the rabbanim of Manhattan can establish an eruv if they choose to do so (HaPardes, 33rd year, vol. 9). This is diametrically opposed to what was written on the kol korei that even if all issues were accounted for an eruv cannot be established for Manhattan. I cannot comprehend how one can accept the efficacy of a kol korei over a teshuvah (for that matter, I question the hashmatah as well). Moreover, Rav Moshe states that rabbanim may enact a takanah only for a short period of time and not indefinitely (Igros Moshe, O.C. 4:49). How long can this takanah of not establishing an eruv for Manhattan be in effect?

Furthermore, Rav Pearl is conflating Rav Moshe shitos. Rav Moshe was concerned that Manhattan, just like Yerushalayim, would create a precedent that people would carry in places where there was no possibility of establishing an eruv. However, as I mentioned above, once the eruv was established Rav Moshe agreed that this gezeirah would not negate the eruv. In addition to the issue of Yerushalayim, Rav Moshe, citing shitos yachidaos such as the Rashba and Rabeinu Ephraim, invalidated the benefits of the mechitzos encompassing Manhattan. While these (Yerushalayim and the Rashba/ Rabeinu Ephraim) were separate issues that Rav Moshe used to object to the Manhattan eruv, he admitted that only in conjunction with each other would they negate the eruv in Manhattan (ibid., 1:139:6). Consequentially, there is no reason why Rav Moshe would not allow an eruv if it only encompasses a section of Manhattan since the eruv was already established and some of these shitas yachidaos would then not be applicable (see Would Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l Allow an Eruv for the Lower East Side of Manhattan?).

[In a handout of a shiur (number 333) that Rav Pearl gave on January 9, 2000, he argues that even though some claim that Brooklyn is encompassed on three sides with mechitzos, Rav Moshe states the pirtzos would nevertheless require delasos (ibid., 5:28:5 which refers back to 1:139:3). Rav Pearl in another handout (November 21, 1993, shiur 87) understands that Rav Moshe’s requirement of delasos is referring to the shitas HaRashba. This is entirely incorrect. The reference (in siman 5:28:5) is to anaf 3 where Rav Moshe discusses his requirement of delasos at the bridges and not to anaf 5 where Rav Moshe discuses shitas HaRashba. Moreover, Rav Moshe could not have meant anaf 5 since, according to the shitas HaRashba, delasos would not suffice at the pirtzos. Why would Rav Moshe argue that delasos are needed at the pirtzos if they would not be adequate? In any case, Rav Moshe states clearly that his requirement of delasos at the bridges was because they are only encompassed by two mechitzos. On the other hand, Rav Moshe admits that if the tzuras hapesach would be placed in an area classified as a reshus hayachid, they would be sufficient (see the end of anaf 3). The fact is that Boro Park and Flatbush are enclosed by a tzuras hapesach that is included in the three mechitzos encompassing Brooklyn (see here regarding why the other shitas yachidaos do not apply to a neighborhood eruv in Brooklyn).]

Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l’s approach is totally different from Rav Moshe zt”l’s. While Rav Moshe’s shitos in eruvin are explicated, Rav Aharon’s are not. Rav Aharon never finished his teshuvah regarding eruvin (Divrei Menachem, O.C. vol. 2, p. 16; actually it is evident from the teshuvah that it is unfinished). In any case, if we are to follow Rav Aharon’s shitos in eruvin, no city eruv — past or present, large or small — would be allowed. Thus it is simply irrational to compel the world to follow his shitos in eruvin.

Rav Pearl shlita:
So the Kew Gardens eruv originally Rav Moshe agreed to. It’s a small part of Queens, there no highway, it was easy to check, less likely to go wrong, so such an eruv would be good. So let’s have a similar kind of eruv in Brooklyn. Take a small part of Brooklyn, even a block, what’s wrong? No. Because it’s a reshus harabbim d’ir. Queens wasn’t a reshus harabbim d’ir. Why not? Because it’s bigger than twelve mil there was no samach ribo. Queens you won’t be able to carry because of shema yitu, but if it’s a small part of Queens we are not concerned with shema yitu. But in Brooklyn, we can’t say we’re not concerned with shema yitu in a small part of Brooklyn, because Brooklyn and Queens are two different parshos. Queens is not a reshus harabbim there is no samach ribo b’toch twelve mil and in Brooklyn there is a reshus harabbim there is samach ribo b’toch twelve mil.

The rebuttal:
As a matter of fact, Brooklyn and Queens are the same parsha. As I mentioned above, Rav Moshe would allow a tzuras hapesach to encompass a section of Brooklyn as long as it contained less than shishim ribo. In any case, Brooklyn just like Queens does not meet Rav Moshe’s requirement of a population of three million so it would not be classified as a reshus harabbim d’ir either.

Rav Pearl shlita:
One of the earlier teshuvos in chelek aleph, Rav Moshe seems to indicate that maybe even Brooklyn was only a shema yitu. And he says later that he was informed by chaver of mine who happened to be a marathon runner who knew exactly how many miles it was from one end of Brooklyn to the other. Rav Moshe thought that Brooklyn was more than twelve mil, but the runners knew exactly the size of Brooklyn and the map will also show you the size of Brooklyn and it was less than twelve mil, and if you wanted to create twelve mil it would probably go into Manhattan and part of Queens.

The rebuttal:
This is all a tall tale and is factually incorrect. The one who informed Rav Moshe zt”l was the Muzay rav zt”l and not some marathon runner. After Rav Moshe wrote that Brooklyn’s population was more than he required for it to be classified as a reshus harabbim (ibid., 4:87), the Muzay rav sent Rav Moshe statistics (from the District Manager of Community Board 12, Brooklyn) demonstrating that Brooklyn’s population was less than he required and that the area that Brooklyn encompassed was greater than twelve mil by twelve mil (see ibid., 4:88).

It is inconceivable that Rav Pearl would claim that Brooklyn is smaller than twelve mil by twelve mil when Rav Moshe in his teshuvos regarding this matter clearly stated otherwise (ibid., 4:87).

ולכן בברוקלין שהוא עיר אחת מלאה אוכלוסין אבל אפשר שהיא יותר מי"ב מיל על י"ב מיל

And then Rav Moshe’s final teshuvah on the matter (ibid., 4:88):

ונמצא שכל ברוקלין הוא רק י"ב מיל על י"ב וקצת יותר

The fact is Brooklyn is seventy-one square miles (without its inland water, which I think should also be included in the tally and would make it even larger). Twelve mil by twelve mil is sixty-four square miles (according to Rav Moshe’s shiur amah in regards to hilchos Shabbos). Consequentially, Brooklyn was only a matter of a gezeirah (shema yitu). However, as I mentioned above, after Rav Moshe was informed that the area that Brooklyn encompasses is greater than twelve mil by twelve mil, he was mislead into believing that, besides for a population of close to three million, over a million people come into the borough to work (ibid., the end of 4:88). Therefore, he argued that Brooklyn is osser l’dinah. These facts were made up out of whole cloth by people who simply did not want an eruv and were willing to lie to Rav Moshe to achieve their goals.

Furthermore, Rav Pearl is incorrect. Rav Moshe clearly stated that Manhattan should not be included in the twelve mil by twelve mil of Brooklyn because it is separated by water (ibid., see the end of 4:88).

In a handout of a shiur (number 333) that Rav Pearl gave on January 9, 2000, he mentioned that Rav Dovid claimed that part of Queens is included in the twelve mil by twelve mil of Brooklyn, and therefore, the population would exceed three million. I reiterate, Brooklyn is larger than the twelve mil by twelve mil so we would not add the population of part of Queens to Brooklyn’s tally. I cannot comprehend how Rav Dovid missed his father’s explicit statement that Brooklyn is larger than twelve mil by twelve mil. Even if Rav Dovid is referring to a situation where one is situated in a part of Brooklyn that is near Queens, the fact is Queens’s population is less than Brooklyn’s. Thus the sum total of a part of Brooklyn and a part of Queens would definitely not equal a population of three million.

Rav Pearl shlita:
So Brooklyn is smaller in size and therefore creates a reshus harabbim. Queens doesn’t create a reshus harabbim because it’s larger, and the population is somewhat, at that point, at least smaller, so the Queens original eruv is good. Brooklyn, we couldn’t make an eruv in any part of Brooklyn except Seagate. If the new extended eruv in Queens is still within the parameter of the heter of Rav Moshe, It could be it is? That would have to be determined to see if that fulfills the heter.

The rebuttal:
I reiterate, even Rav Moshe agreed that Brooklyn is larger in area than twelve mil by twelve mil, and the fact is the population of Brooklyn is less than three million. Consequently, it would not be classified as a reshus harabbim. I should point out that Rav Pearl mentioned a few times that the population of Queens was at that point (when Rav Moshe wrote his teshuvah) somewhat smaller. Thus Queens, according to the machmirim in all things regarding eruvin, will become an issue in the future because of its growing population. I predict this will never happen. It is simple — once Rav Moshe allowed an eruv, it is final notwithstanding the change in metzius.

[Since it seems that Rav Pearl discusses hilchos eruvin with Rav Dovid I would like to know why Rav Dovid was not concerned about his father’s gezeirah in Chicago (when he argued that his father’s shita was that a reshus harabbim would require a population of three million). On the subject of the Chicago eruv, I would like to point out an interesting dichotomy. In Brooklyn, when one argues that Rav Moshe would allow an eruv, the rejoinder is that Rav Dovid maintains that his father would not allow an eruv, and he knows his father’s opinion better than anyone. On the other hand, in Chicago (and LA), they argue that Rav Dovid is incorrect regarding his father’s shitos in eruvin. It is obvious — when the objective is to negate an eruv, the anti-eruv cabal always knows better, even better than Rav Dovid.]

Rav Pearl shlita:
Rav Moshe’s position, and this is not only his position but many others that you see, b’chlal all eruvin today are by some people not accepted. Some people don’t carry no matter what. The Gra himself held that even in your house you shouldn’t walk around with a handkerchief in your pocket. Why not? Because maybe you’ll go out in the street and you’ll forget. How do you know that? The Gemara says that erev Shabbos , chayav adam l’mashmesh b’vigdo, he should make sure he has nothing in his pocket. If you found something, what are you supposed to do? You remove it before you go out. If chayav adam l’mashmesh b’vigdo before Shabbos, then how could you put something in your pocket on Shabbos? Nothing should be in your pocket on Shabbos. The Gra is a big machmir.

The rebuttal:
Rav Pearl is simply conflating the issues. Rav Moshe upheld that currently there is no chiyuv to establish an eruv. Additionally, Rav Moshe had issues was with large city eruvin. However, Rav Moshe maintained that the criterion of shishim ribo is an accepted fundament of a reshus harabbim (ibid., 3:94, 5:19, 5:24:10). Thus, there is no reason why once an eruv is established it should not be accepted by everyone.

When referring to the Gra, I think Rav Pearl should mention that there where Chassidshe rebbes who maintained that there is a chiyuv to carry in an eruv (see Part 6: Meoz U’Mekedem – Exploring the Historical Roots of the Machlokas Regarding Eruvin).

Rav Pearl shlita:
Others who are machmir with the shitas HaRambam that a tzuras hapesach to carry has to be b’toch esser amos. You can’t have a tzuras hapesach which is more than esser amos, about seventeen or eighteen feet. So every lechi has to be between eighteen feet of each other. If that would be the case, then all the eruvin in the country are pasul, even in the camps. But this is shitas HaRambam. But you would say that we are not noheg shitas HaRambam.

The rebuttal:
Even Rav Moshe maintains that we do not follow the Rambam (ibid., 2:83). I hope, dear reader, that you recognize the underlying reason why these shitos, which are not accepted by the overwhelming majority of poskim, are mentioned by those who have a proclivity to osser eruvin.

In any case, the fact is all Brooklyn eruvin are classified as Rambam eruvin. The Rambam considers a tzuras hapesach a valid mechitzah only when utilizing at the minimum two mechitzos that are omed merubeh al haparutz (Shulchan Aruch, O.C. 362:10). Where this is not the case, each pole can be no more than ten amos apart from the other. The Kaf HaChaim (362:92) quotes the sefer Minchas Yehudah (siman 26) that states if a city has omed merubeh of its houses, they can be used to qualify the tzuras hapesachim as a Rambam eruv. Since the proximity of property lots in Brooklyn is such that they are omed merubeh al haparutz ― particularly the fences that surround the property lots ― any eruv in Brooklyn would be considered a Rambam eruv. Additionally, since Brooklyn is encircled with three mechitzos that are omed merubeh al haparutz, any eruv in Brooklyn would definitely be considered a Rambam eruv.

So there you have it — another advantage of large city eruvin.