Saturday, June 18, 2016

Part 2 -- Rebuttal: Eruv in Crown Heights According to the Alter Rebbe

The argument: D) When a Large Metropolis is Deemed as a Public Domain Even According to the More Lenient View
The existence of a metropolis that is considered as a public domain even according to the more lenient view is not just a theoretical concept. Such cities existed in the Talmudic era, as well. Thus, Rashi (Eruvin 6b) speaks of Mechuzah (a city in Babylonia) as having 600,000 inhabitants.
The rebuttal: To begin with, it is important to note that the assertion that the criterion of shishim ribo is conditional of a city is a relatively new one. Let us explore the core arguments regarding how to apply the criterion of shishim ribo, to a city or to a street. The main evidence cited by those who claim that shishim ribo is conditional on a city is that Rashi, the central supporter of this fundament, employs the word ir [city] when mentioning shishim ribo (Eruvin 6a):
ר"ה: משמע רחב שש עשרה אמה ועיר שמצויין בה ששים רבוא
However, the source for Rashi, the Behag (Berlin edition, p. 131), refers to a place/road:
רשות הרבים דוכתא דדשין בה שית מאה אלפי גוברין בכל יומא
Therefore, it is unlikely that Rashi or any of the other Rishonim maintain that the criterion of shishim ribo applies to a city.
Why then does Rashi make use of the word city in reference to the criterion of shishim ribo?
Rashi clarifies his shita further on in Eruvin (59b):
אלא לאורכה: דרך עיירות להיות פתחי פילושיהן לאורכם ורה"ר עוברת מפתח לפתח וחלוקה לאורכה ... והני דרסי בהך רה"ר ... ורה"ר זו מחברתם שכולם מעורבין בה
Likewise, we find in the Tosfos Rid (Eruvin 59b):
דדמי מבוי האמצעי לכל מבואות העיר הפתוחין לעיר, כמו המבוי לחצרות ... כך כל מבואות העיר דורסין על המבוי האמצעי כשרוצין לצאת מן העיר ולהיכנס
The same is notated in the Semag (the beginning of Hilchos Eruvin):
וכן בתוך העיר ימצא ר"ה כגון שרחוב שלה רחב שש עשרה אמה וכו' ומפולש משער לשער ובוקעין בו ס' רבוא
Similarly, we see from the Riaz (Eruvin 5:5:4):
וכן אם בא לערב כל מבוי ומבוי לעצמו הרי אוסר כל מבוי על מבוי שכנגדו וכו' ורחוב העיר, המהלך באורך כל העיר, מפסיק ביניהם ורחוב העיר אוסרן שרשות כולם שולטת בו
Rashi and these Rishonim are informing us as to how cities were designed. Because most cities were walled, cities in the past had a main road that all residents used to enter and exit the city; therefore, this thoroughfare was the reshus harabbim of the city. Consequently, when Rashi and the Rishonim who follow him use the word city in reference to shishim ribo, they are not signifying that the criterion is conditional on a city but only that the main thoroughfare [a derech hamelech] in a city containing shishim ribo would be classified as a reshus harabbim since it is traversed by its entire population.
This follows why Tosfos (Eruvin 6a); Rosh (ibid., siman 8); Rabeinu Peretz (ibid., 6a); Ritva (Shabbos 6a); Ran (Eruvin 6a), and Meiri (ibid.), when citing this Rashi (Eruvin 6a) [which utilizes city in reference to the criterion of shishim ribo], omit the word city because, as defined by Rashi, a city that includes a population of shishim ribo would also contain a central corridor traversed by the entire population of the city. A city containing shishim ribo is only an example as to how a thoroughfare can support such a population.
Now we can understand the Rashis in Eruvin (6b) describing the reshus harabbim of Yerushalayim and Mechuza.
Regarding Yerushalayim, Rashi states:
ירושלים :רשות הרבים שלה מכוון משער לשער ומפולש ויש בה דריסת ששים ריבוא ורחב שש עשרה אמה
Following this, Rashi writes about Mechuza
 אבולי דמחוזא :שערי העיר מכוונים זה כנגד זה והיו בה ששים ריבוא
In both situations, Rashi is referring to the main street of the city as being the reshus harabbim and not the entire city. Yerushalayim and Mechuza contained a population of shishim ribo which was the reason that their central routes were classified as a reshus harabbim. Clearly the Rishonim maintain that shishim ribo is conditional of the street and not of the city.
On the other hand, since today’s cities are not walled, it is not necessary for the entire populace to utilize a central thoroughfare to enter and exit the city. Hence, none of the cities’ streets are traversed by all of its inhabitants, and therefore, even in a city with a population greater than shishim ribo (unless 600,000 people actually traverse the road), we would not classify any street as a reshus harabbim.
The argument: Many of the later halachic authorities discuss such cities and, in his Shulchan Aruch, the Alter Rebbe, sec. 392: 1, 2 issues a ruling regarding a city that has that many people pass through it every day. In a place so densely populated, a tzuras hapesach would not be effective in creating an enclosure for an eruv that would include the city as a whole. Instead, it is necessary to judge each place individually: Is it a public domain -a place for the community as a whole -or shared private property.
There are those who maintain that the lenient view mentioned above does not focus on the city as a whole, but on a specific place. According to this understanding, as long as 600,000 people do not pass through this place in a day, it is not a public domain. From this perspective, even if the city as a whole has 600,000 people, a portion of that city where 600,000 do not pass in a day can be enclosed by tzuros hapesachim without considering the particular nature of a given area.
The rebuttal: First of all, there are very few later poskim who discuss cities at all. Up until lately, it was a given that the criterion of shishim ribo is conditional of a street (see Divrei Malkiel, 4:3). In regards to the Admor Hazaken, how anyone can derive from this source that he maintains that shishim ribo is conditional of a city is beyond comprehension. The Alter Rebbe is merely indicating that (according to shitas Rashi) only a city which has a street with shishim ribo traversing therein would require shiyur [we exclude a section of the city from the eruv]. There is no mention in this seif that the criterion of shishim ribo is conditional of a city. Furthermore, it is beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Alter Rebbe upholds shitas Rashi is conditional of a street. The Alter Rebbe writes (363:44):
שאם היו ששים ריבוא בוקעים במבוי זה היה רשות הרבים גמורה
This reference by the Alter Rebbe is clearly indicating that the criterion of shishim ribo is conditional on 600,000 people traversing in the mavoi itself and not the entire city (for additional proof see, 345:11, and 363:42).

As mentioned above, the simple understanding from the Rishonim (and Achronim) of the criterion of shishim ribo is that it is conditional of a street. As a matter of fact, a little further on in the same teshuvah and seif that the Rebbe quoted, the Bais Av (2:5:3) clearly states that the criterion of shishim ribo is conditional of a street and not of a city.