Rav Moshe Fenstein’s Final Opinion Regarding a Manhattan Eruv
Since Rav Henkin mentioned in letter six that he would follow Rav Moshe Feinstein and not join those who supported an eruv, it is important to explore what Rav Moshe’s final opinion was regarding the Manhattan eruv.
While Rav Moshe wrote (Igros Moshe, O.C. 1:139-140, 5 Sivan 5712/May 29, 1952-19 Sivan 5712/June 12, 1952) an intricate teshuvah detailing his arguments why he could not support a Manhattan eruv, he subsequently wrote two letters (HaPardes, 33rd year, vol. 9 Sivan 5719/ July, 1959, p. 13 – Igros Moshe, O.C. 4:89 27 Kislev 5721/December 16, 1960) stating that if the rabbanim, after perusing his arguments in opposition to the eruv nevertheless maintained that an eruv should be established, he would not be mocheh, but he would not join those who sanction it. [These letters are what Rav Henkin was referring to when he declared that he would follow Rav Moshe and would not be mocheh against those in support of an eruv, but would not join them.]
However, Rav Moshe signed onto the Agudas Harabbanim kol korei in opposition to the Manhattan eruv dated 18 Sivan 5722/June 20, 1962. What transpired between the years that Rav Moshe wrote his letters where he stated that he would not be mocheh and his signing of the kol korei was, as Rav Moshe wrote in his hashmatah [addendum] (Igros Moshe, vol. 6, p. 428; undated, published in 1982), that “the rabbanim of the Agudas Harabbanim assembled, under the leadership of Hagaon Harav Aharon Kotler, z”l and the Roshei Yeshivos, and they let it be known to the public that there is absolutely no way to establish an eruv in Manhattan, and it is forbidden to carry even after any [measures] any rabbanim have done or will do in the future.” Clearly, the only reason why Rav Moshe signed onto the kol korei was Rav Aharon’s [and the Roshei Yeshivos] resistance to the establishment of an eruv.
Following the above, we can understand an interesting exclusion of Rav Moshe’s in the hashmatah. Even though Rav Moshe signed on to the kol korei, we see he was not at ease with its language since he omitted the strident last line when he quoted the kol korei in the hashmatah, which stated that, “those who rely on the eruv in Manhattan will be considered a mechallel Shabbos.” There is no doubt that even after Rav Moshe joined the opposition to the eruv, he was not as opposed to others establishing an eruv as were some of the other rabbanim.
In fact, Rav Moshe’s final letter on the matter of a Manhattan eruv was to Rav Shalom Yehuda Berman of the Lincoln Square Synagogue dated 6 Teves 5745/December 30, 1984. Rav Moshe declared therein that Rav Shimon Eider zt”l does not need to follow his opinion and can establish an eruv.