Sunday, June 19, 2016

Part 4 -- Rebuttal: Eruv in Crown Heights According to the Alter Rebbe

The argument: E) Why the Arguments Supporting the Boro Park Eruv Would Not Apply in Crown Heights
The exponents of the Boro Park eruv base their argument on the thesis that the question of whether or not an eruv can be established does not depend on the number of inhabitants of the city as a whole, but on the number of people who pass on a city's main street and the other roads leading into it. Their rationale is that the cities of the Talmudic era consisted of one main thoroughfare with side streets leading into it. This was its public domain. Thus, they contend, if 600,000 people do not pass through the main street of a neighborhood and its side streets on one day, that neighborhood is not considered a public domain.
As mentioned, according to the Alter Rebbe, the emphasis is on the city as a whole, not on its main street. However, even according to the other approach, there is a fundamental difference between Crown Heights and other neighborhoods. Eastern Parkway is a major thoroughfare with many other streets leading into it. Besides all the people who live in the neighborhoods surrounding it, many commuters on public transport use it and a large number of cars pass through. Hence, it is quite likely that 600,000 people pass through it and its side streets on an ordinary day.
The rebuttal: As I mentioned previously, no one of stature argues that shishim ribo is conditional of the population of the city. This is a modern day argument. The Alter Rebbe certainly does not understand the criterion as such either. It is simply untrue that there is a difference between Crown Heights and Boro Park.   The same argument which is being made about Eastern Parkway was made about Ocean Parkway, and most rabbanim allow an eruv that would include Ocean Parkway. 
The writer declares, without any substantiation, that those who uphold that the criterion of shishim ribo is conditional of a street, would include those people traversing the side streets leading into the thoroughfare in the tally.[8] In fact, this entire argument is specious. Roads that bisect main thoroughfares would not be included in the count of those traversing the main roadway; we only judge the volume of people traversing each section and not the entire length of the roadway in order to calculate the total (see Bais Ephraim, siman 26 p. 47; Yeshuos Malko, siman 27; Bais Shearim, the end of siman 132, and Minchas Yitzchak, 8:32). It is illogical to include the entire length of a thoroughfare in one aggregate. Those entering along one section of the roadway are only traversing that particular section and are independent of those traveling along the roadway at a different point.    
Furthermore, as mentioned above, Rav Moshe admitted that the simple reading of the Shulchan Aruch (shishim ribo ovrim bo b’chol yom) is that the criterion of shishim ribo is conditional of the street and of the myriads traversing that particular section of the road on a daily basis (Igros Moshe, O.C. 1:139:5, 4:87). Therefore, Rav Moshe posited that in order to classify a intercity road (which the writer argues Eastern Parkway is) as a reshus harabbim, according to the Shulchan Aruch 600,000 people would need to traverse a particular section of the road on a daily basis (ibid., 5:28:16).  Accordingly, we would not include vehicles or individuals entering the roadway at different points in the total count as they are each traveling along different segments of the roadway.
Finally, the Bais Av weighed in on this matter, as well. In the same teshuvah and seif that the Rebbe quoted, the Bais Av (2:5:3) clearly states that the requirement of the criterion of shishim ribo is that the 600,000 people gather in one place. No doubt the Bais Av maintains that only those people traversing a particular section of a road are included in the tally.
Consequentially, since no section of Eastern Parkway includes shishim ribo traversing it, we would not classify the parkway as a reshus harabbim
Additionally, most poskim maintain[9] that the occupants of a vehicle are not tallied in the shishim ribo. See note [10] below concerning the Alter Rebbe’s opinion in regards to the occupants of vehicles. Therefore, there is no doubt that there is nowhere near shishim ribo traversing the parkway.  
In any case, even according to the writer, you would think that since he declared that, “it is quite likely that 600,000 people pass through Eastern Parkway on an ordinary day,” he would have done some research and perused the city’s statistics to ascertain if it is even a remote possibility. However, it does not seem like the writer did any investigating since he did not offer any figures to go with his claim. Actually, even the suggestion itself is spurious for if we were to include the entire length of Eastern Parkway in one tally, it is not credible to claim, in a borough as vast as Brooklyn, that one out of every 4.3 people of the entire borough’s population (2,600,000) is traversing Eastern Parkway on any given day (even if we added the few hundred thousand people who come into the borough daily). In fact, the statistics corroborate that this is an incorrect suggestion (see note [11] below for the figures).

[8]  It is interesting that Rabbi Levine argues that the criterion of shishim ribo cannot be conditional of a street because it would be difficult for 600,000 people to traverse a sixteen amos wide street in a single day. Clearly Rabbi Levine understood that those who maintain that the criterion is conditional on a street require the myriads to traverse each section of the roadway. If Rabbi Levine would allow that the criterion includes those passing over any section along the entire length of the roadway and that we include the population of the streets leading into the main thoroughfare, his proof would be inconclusive since it would be much more of a probability for the collective count of a lengthy roadway to include 600,000 people traversing it on a daily basis (as they are actually claiming here regarding Eastern Parkway).
This begs the question of why, at this point, is Rabbi Levine arguing that, even according to those who posit that the criterion of shishim ribo is conditional of a street, Eastern Parkway is definitely a reshus harbbim because of the collective number of people from all the segments of the parkway, when previously he understood that we would only count each section separately.  This is the fallacy of the entire treatise; Rabbi Levine is so aggressive in labeling Crown Heights as a reshus harabbim that he lost track of what he wrote previously.
[9]   See the following poskim who maintain that the occupants of a vehicle are not tallied in the shishim ribo: Sheilas Yavetz, 1:7; Bais Ephraim, O.C. 26; Yeshuos Malko, siman 26-27; Tikkun Eruvin Krakow, 1:3; Maharsham, 1:162; Harei B’samim, 5:73; Bais Av, 2:9:3; Chavalim BaNe’imim, O.C. 3:14; Mahari Stief, siman 68; Divrei Yatziv, 2:172:13; V’yaan Yoseph, 1:155:1; Kuntres Tikkun Eruvin Manhattan, siman 12 p. 105; Kinyan Torah, 4:40:6, Tzitz Eliezer, as cited in The Contemporary Eruv, 2002 p. 54 note 119.
The reason is either because a vehicle in itself is considered a reshus hayachid and therefore its occupants are not part of the total or because we only include pedestrians (holchei regel) who traverse the street in the tally. It’s important to note that the concept that only holchei regel create a reshus harabbim is already mentioned in the Rishonim (Or Zarua, Hilchos Erev Shabbos siman 4 and Rabbeinu Avraham ben HaRambam in Birchas Avraham, siman 15).
[10]  באמת גם לדברי השו"ע הרב (סימן שמ"ה סעיף י"ט), יל"פ מש"כ שאינו נח תשמיש הליכתו, שקאי על הספינה דמשו"ה לא הוי רה"ר, היינו כיון שאין יכולין לדרוס ברגל כ"א בספינות מפני המים, משו"ה לא הוי רה"ר, ומה שלא כתבו הטעם משום דספינות הוי רה"י, היינו משום דיש ספינות שאינו רה"י, וכמו שראינו בדברי השבלי הלקט (דף מ"ב) שכתב וז"ל: כתב הרב אביגדור כהן צדק דוגית שאינה גבוה מן המים עשרה טפחים אין מטלטלין בה, וכ"כ אח"כ וז"ל: ומצאתי בדברי הגאונים שאם המחוז יבש שאין הספינה יכולה להתקרב ביבשה וכו', מותר לירד בעברה הוא ביצת קטנה שהעברה הוא כגשר, והר"ר אביגדור כהן צדק כתב שאין ליכנס בדוגית קטנה עי"ש, הרי שהיה שכיח טובא ספינות כאלו, שאינם רה"י, ע"כ כתבו טעם דשייך על כל הספינות.

[11]  At the outset, it is important to note that the poskim maintain (Kuntres Tikkun Eruvin Manhattan, p. 108; Kinyan Torah, 4:40:7, and Rechovas Ha’ir, 23:2) that the same people traversing a road in both directions (even if we include in the tally those traveling in a vehicle) are only counted traveling in one direction.  Consequently, since the following statistics include many of the same people coming and going, the actual number of those passing through would be closer to half the number cited here. The approximate statistics quoted here are all culled from the US Census and the average daily weekday MTA and city and state DOT statistics.
The parkway has at the most 43,000 vehicles [with an average of 1.5 occupants per vehicle] traversing it daily in both directions. If we tally the average daily vehicular traffic of all of the parkways intersecting roads, it would be approximately 200,000 vehicles traversing it daily in both directions (some of these vehicles actually turn on to the parkway and were already included with those passing over the parkway itself). Roughly 25,000 people live along the length of the parkway (and many of them were already included in the subway, buses and vehicular totals). If we add those entering and exiting the subway stations along the length of the parkway, it would be approximately 40,000 people. Regarding buses, it is difficult to figure how many people are actually passing over the parkway itself since the MTA’s ridership statistics include the buses’ entire run. The tally on the entire length of the many bus routes that traverse all of the bisecting roads of the parkway, is roughly 150,000 people riding the buses daily in both directions.
Consequently, a rational total for the parkway with all of its intersecting roads [by adding up the figures and including average occupancy and then dividing the total in half]  would be roughly 275,000 unique people daily, which is far from the requirement of 600,000 people passing over the road on a daily basis. Moreover, these are average weekday statistics. Shabbos and Sunday are not included, and in fact, the average tally is considerable less on these two days. Therefore, since according to the Alter Rebbe the criterion of shishim ribo is a daily requirement and on these two days of the week Eastern Parkway has far fewer people traversing it, the parkway would definitely not be classified as a reshus harabbim. Furthermore, as I mentioned above, the overwhelming majority of poskim maintain that we do not include in the tally those traveling in a vehicle; thus, the total is not even close to the prerequisite of 600,000 people traversing the road on a daily basis.
However, this is all an exercise in futility, since only those traversing a particular section of the road are included in the tally. Moreover, even if the parkway meets the criterion of shishim ribo, there are additional criteria of a reshus harabbim [mefulash and mechitzos] which would render the parkway a reshus hayachid me’d’Oraysa