Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Part 1: Rebuttal of Hagaon Rav Yosef Heller Shlita’s Shiurim on Eruvin

After reading a transcription of the Rosh HaKollel, Hagaon Rav Yosef Heller shlita’s, two shiurim opposing an eruv in Crown Heights, I feel that there is a need to clarify the many misconceptions mentioned in the shiurim. I will only address pertinent points, and I will omit the rest of the transcription.
It is unfortunate that the initial assumption in Chabad is that an eruv is proscribed. This conjecture is so entrenched that some are willing to go to great lengths and pile on layer upon layer of assertions in opposition to an eruv even if these arguments were never Chabad issues. The contention that Brooklyn is classified as a reshus harabbim according to the Alter Rebbe is baseless and is being used to convince the gullible public to inveigh against an eruv.
I reiterate, the purpose of this rebuttal is not to judge the efficacy of an eruv for Crown Heights but only to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Crown Heights would not be classified as a reshus harabbim according to the Alter Rebbe.
The following are notes from a shiur on the Crown Heights eruv delivered on Sunday, 13 Sivan, from a talk in Kollel by Harav Heller Shlita, transcribed and edited by Rabbi M. Greenberg
The argument: Eruv is a concept in Torah and halacha, and one who does not hold of the concept of eruv is an apikoros. There is no such thing as “not holding of eruv.” However, you can say you don’t hold of “this” eruv.
The rebuttal: I am sure Rav Heller made this important point because he realizes that with all the rancor against an eruv in Crown Heights people are bound to say things that smack of apikorsus.  In fact, many people in Crown Heights have been saying things that appear to be rooted in apikorsus, such as, “Chabad does not hold of eruvin,” c”v.
The argument: I once asked R. Sholomo Miller about the eruv he built in Toronto and he told me it is one of the best eruvin in America, yet Bnei Torah shouldn’t use it. With “bnei Torah” he meant those who are mehader b’mitzvos. He built the eruv, yet it was clear to him that someone who is mehader b’mitzvos shouldn’t use it.
The rebuttal: Hagaon Rav Sholomo Miller shlita reestablished an eruv in Toronto and most people rely on this eruv including almost all Chasiddim. However, this eruv is in conflict with Rav Miller’s rebbe, Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l shitos in eruvin; therefore, he suggests that Bnei Torah should not make use of the eruv. Rav Aharon’s arguments include that the criterion of mefulash u’mechuvanim, even as it applies to mavaos hamefulashim, is conditional of a walled city, and that we pasken asu rabbim umevatlei mechitzta. The Tzemach Tzedek clearly maintains that in order to classify mavaos hamefulashim as a reshus harabbim, they would need to be mefulash u’mechavanim m’shar l’shaar even in an unwalled city (Chidushim, Shabbos 6a). Furthermore, the Alter Rebbe maintains that we pasken lo asu rabbim umevatlei mechitzta (363:42; 364:4, and Kuntres Achron, 345:2). These positions are clearly in conflict with Rav Aharon’s shitos in eruvin. Therefore, Rav Miller’s stringencies are not pertinent to the issue whether or not we classify Brooklyn as a reshus harabbim according to Chabad.
The argument: You can’t make an eruv in crown Heights. Crown Heights is unlike Borough Park where there is a machlokes if one can make an eruv or not. Great rabbonim made the eruv there and say you could use it, while other great rabbonim say that an eruv cannot be made there. It was always the subject of a machlokes.
The rebuttal: As an aside, I have seen people cite the Igros Moshe, O.C. 4:86 as proof that an eruv cannot be erected if the rabbanim are not all in agreement. They are incorrect, for Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l’s concern was not the consensus of other rabbanim but the halachah as he saw it.  A case in point: Had the position of other rabbanim been a consideration, Rav Moshe would not have allowed the Manhattan rabbanim to establish an eruv (ibid., 4:89; HaPardes, 33rd year, vol. 9, and see here), even though he maintained otherwise, and he undoubtedly knew that there were rabbanim other than himself who were also against the establishment of an eruv (see Kuntres Tikkun Eruvin Manhattan, pp. 168-169). Moreover, even regarding the Flatbush eruv, we see from Rav Moshe’s teshuvah (Igros Moshe, O.C. 4:87) that he did not advise the rabbanim who erected the eruv that the issue of consensus would negate the establishment of an eruv there.
The following notes are from the subsequent shiur on the Crown Heights eruv delivered on Thursday, 17 Sivan, from a talk in Kollel by Harav Heller Shlita, transcribed and edited by Rabbi M. Greenberg
The argument: In order to make statements about Hilchos Shabbos you must know hilchos shabbos. R. Moshe Feinstein and R. Zalman Shimon Dvorkin knew hilchos Shabbos and they both said it is impossible to make an eruv in big-city neighborhoods such as Crown Heights.
The rebuttal: Let’s start from the beginning.  Rav Dvorkin zt”l signed a kol korei of the Agudas Harbbanim without penning a teshuvah on the matter. This kol korei is similar to the spurious anti-eruv 1979 Flatbush kol korei which supposedly most rabbanim signed on. The original Flatbush kol korei stated clearly that the anti-eruv 1962 Manhattan kol korei included an issur on the entire New York City and all large cities in America, which is definitely an invention of the Flatbush kol korei. The Manhattan kol korei is extant, and it clearly only refers to a Manhattan issur and not the entire New York City or any other large city in America. On the kol korei which Rav Dvorkin signed, they also made a comprehensive declaration that the issur on Manhattan included all large cities. In truth, this broader assertion is an invention of this kol korei, as well.
Not only were eruvin established in many large cities across America, Rav Moshe obviously did not agree that the issur included all large cities. Rav Moshe allowed an eruv even after he signed the Manhattan kol korei for Detroit, Michigan, and moreover, he allowed an eruv for Kew Garden Hill, Queens. Even more so, when the rabbanim in Flatbush wanted to establish an eruv they asked Rav Moshe about the matter. Not only did Rav Moshe not declare that it was prohibited to construct an eruv in any large city (as the Flatbush kol korei claims that it was already proscribed in the 1962 Manhattan kol korei), he did not even recommend that they not erect an eruv there.[1]
Clearly Rav Moshe did not consider the Manhattan kol korei a hindrance to erecting an eruv in Brooklyn or in any large city. Moreover, there is no doubt that Rav Moshe did not sign any kol korei opposing an eruv in Brooklyn. Rav Moshe’s signatures on all of these kol korei’s are simple forgeries (see The 1979 Flatbush Kol Korei Exposed; Part 2: The 1979 Flatbush Kol Korei Exposed, and The 1981 Boro Park Kol Korei Exposed). Consequently, every kol korei that has been issued by the Agdas Harabbanim especially regarding eruvin should be discounted (besides for the Manhattan kol korei [2]).
Furthermore, it does not seem like Rav Moshe gave much credence even to the Manhattan kol korei. Rav Moshe wrote a letter to Rav Shalom Yehuda Berman of the Lincoln Square Synagogue on 7 Teves 5745/December 31, 1984 and declared that even in Manhattan ― where he signed the kol korei opposing the eruv ― Rav Shimon Eider zt”l does not need to follow his opinion and can establish an eruv. Apparently, Rav Moshe did not even consider the Manhattan kol korei a limitation on the ability for others to establish an eruv in Manhattan. 
Therefore, since these kol koreis do not inspire much credibility and are more hyperbolic then factual, even if Rav Dvorkin signed onto this kol korei, it does not mean that its words are etched in stone and are obligatory.



[1] The above debases Rav Michel Zalman Shurkin’s writings that have been bandied about lately in Crown Heights. Rav Shurkin claims that when some “modern rabbanim” of Flatbush wanted to establish an eruv, Rav Moshe changed the language of the kol korei from שכל מי שמוציא בשבת ע"י העירוב הזה הרי הוא 'כ'מחלל שבת בפרהסיא to הרי הוא מחלל שבת בפרהסיא. In fact, Rav Moshe wrote (Igros Moshe, O.C. 4:87) that these Flatbush rabbanim came to him prior to establishing the eruv yet Rav Moshe was not mocheh, and moreover, never issued a p’sak din barur. So who are we to believe ¾ Rav Shurkin’s writing or Rav Moshe’s own writing on the matter? Furthermore, these rabbanim from Flatbush were no more modern than Rav Shurkin himself; some of them were also talmidim of Rav YB Soloveichik. Rav Chaim Zev Bomzer. also a talmid of Rav YB Soloveichik and who was involved with the Flatbush eruv, stated that when he asked his rebbe if he could be involved with the eruv Rav Soloveichik answered that Rav Bomzer is a rav and has a right to pasken as he sees fit. Rav Bomzer then asked his rebbe about his opposition to an eruv in Massachusetts to which Rav Soloveichik answered that Brookline is not Brooklyn.
[2] Regarding the Manhattan kol korei, Rav Moshe wrote that he signed mainly because of Rav Aharon Kotler (Igros Moshe, O.C. 4:86 and Addendum to O.C. 4:89). It is of interest to note that in the end Rav Moshe did not seem too proud of the Manhattan kol korei’s language since he omitted its last line in his teshuvah (ibid.).