Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Part 5: Rav Henkin’s Final Opinion on the Manhattan Eruv

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.

Monday, July 08, 2019

Part 4: Rav Henkin’s Final Opinion on the Manhattan Eruv

Rav Henkin’s Final Opinion Regarding A Manhattan Eruv
What is apparent from the entire corpus of Rav Henkin’s writing regarding the Manhattan eruv is that his main issue was whether all the pirtzos were sealed off and that there should be a consensus of most of the rabbanim of Manhattan since he did not want to be the main one supporting the eruv. Clearly, if not for these two issues, Rav Henkin would have fully agreed to the establishment of the Manhattan eruv. However, the issue whether or not Manhattan should be classified as a reshus harabbim is where Rav Henkin departed company from almost all the rabbanim who did not support the eruv in Manhattan, including Rav Moshe Feinstein. It is obvious from the get go that Rav Henkin acquiesced to Rav Seigel’s opinion that Manhattan is not classified as a reshus harabbim, so much so that Rav Henkin never brought up the issue again. Moreover, if Rav Henkin would have classified Manhattan as a reshus harabbim, he could not have agreed to the eruv even for times of greet need (see letter seven).
Now let us explore when the undated letter with the crossed out address (letter six) was written. Since we now know that Rav Henkin would cross out the old address on Ezras Torah’s stationary on all letters penned after the 26 of Tammuz, it is still a possibility that the last letter was letter seven, since it was written on the 28 of Tammuz, and thus the undated letter six could have been written earlier, either on the 26 or 27 of Tammuz. [This important point, that letter seven was dated 28 of Tammuz which was after the Ezras Torah move and hence, could have been the last letter was omitted by Rabbi Kleinman in this article.]
Furthermore, since there are similarities between letters number (four) five and six, the logical conclusion would be that letter seven was the final one on the matter. In letters five and six, Rav Henkin states that he could not pasken for the entire city and that the pirtzos should be rectified. It would, therefore, follow that the undated letter six was not after number seven where Rav Henkin actually said that they should establish the eruv for times of great need.
Moreover, even if letter number six was written last, it only attests to the fact that a consensus of the rabbanim never materialized regarding the Manhattan eruv and that Rav Henkin only allowed the eruv for all, when and if there was a general agreement.             
Finally, even if letter six was the last one on the matter, and Rav Henkin joined Rav Moshe in declining to publicly support the eruv but not to object to those who allowed one, there is, nevertheless, a substantial difference between these two Gedolim. This is evident from the fact that Rav Moshe’s signature is included on the 1962 kol korei opposing the Manhattan eruv; however, Rav Henkin is not among the signatories. Rav Henkin’s signature was extremely important and was, no doubt, sought after by the Agudas Harrabanim (whose stationary it was on). The lack of Rav Henkin’s signature is very telling.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Part 3: Rav Henkin’s Final Opinion on the Manhattan Eruv

5) On 13 Cheshvan 5721/November 3, 1960, Rav Henkin wrote a letter to Rav Menachem Kasher zt”l (ibid., p. 14; Gevuros Eliyahu, siman 118) stating that while he agreed with the rabbanim who supported an eruv regarding certain points, he still had some doubts regarding other issues, particularly if all the pirtzos were sealed. He went on to say that one could rely on the rabbanim who supported the eruv and particularly on the Shotzer rebbe who expounded on the [heter for the] bridges and tunnels. Rav Henkin then stated that he could not pasken for the entire city, which contained many great rabbanim, until there was some consensus on the issue. He reiterated that the main point was that the pirtzos should be built up and that there should be a person in charge of making sure that the pirtzos are sealed.
6) In a following letter (as mentioned in the article this letter is undated, but it must have been written sometime after 26 Tammuz 5721/July 10, 1961) to Rav Kasher (Divrei MenachemO.C. vol. 2, pp. 14, 135; Gevuros Eliyahu, siman 121), Rav Henkin stated that since there were many rabbanim in Manhattan, he was not the person in charge of this matter. He continued that he would follow Rav Moshe Feinstein [regarding Manhattan] and not join those who supported an eruv, but he would also not be mocheh against those who allowed one. Rav Henkin then reiterated that if any modifications where made it should have permanence and that a vaad should be established in order to assure that no changes [over time] are being made to the mechitzos.   
7) On 28 Tammuz 5721/July 12, 1961, Rav Henkin wrote his final letter regarding eruvin [as was understood until Rabbi Kleinman, “unearthed this inconsistency”] to the Vaad L’Tikkun Eruvin B’Manhattan (Divrei MenachemO.C. vol. 2, pp. 14-15; Hapardes 36th year, vol. 4; Kisvei Hagriah Henkin, pp. 32-33, and Gevuros Eliyahu, siman 119). He stated that there was a sound basis to establish an eruv in Manhattan and that the borough was no different than other cities that had erected eruvin and was even superior to them [because of its mechitzos].
He continued that the Vaad was comprised of prominent rabbanimadmorim and baal habattim under the auspices of Rav Kasher, Rav Eisenstadt, and the Shotzer rebbe who were all working on obtaining the support of other rabbanim after which they would call a meeting of the rabbanim to decide the matter of establishing the eruv after all the needed modifications where made. Rav Henkin declared that it was his belief that they should not wait until this meeting of the rabbanim to proceed, because from experience, he knew that it would take a great deal of time until they would come together, and it was a pity to wait so long. Rav Henkin recommended that they should instead immediately rectify what needed to be corrected and then publicize that there were rabbanim who were responsible for the kashrus of the eruv. However, until the Vaad would receive the written support of most of the rabbanim of Manhattan, the heter for the eruv would only be for times of great need.
On the other hand, once they had garnered the necessary support from most of the rabbanim, they could publicize that the heter was for all.
Rav Henkin gave some examples of what he considered a great need: Women and children who felt a need to leave their apartments on Shabbos, particularly during the summer; doctors who needed to carry for a choleh shain bo sakana; the need to carry on Shabbos that falls on Succos.
Rav Henkin added, among other things, that the Vaad should place advertisements in the newspapers stating that only the borough of Manhattan is included in this eruv. The Vaad should establish a fund to pay the salaries of two masgichim, and that the rabbanim should expedite the establishment of mechitzos for the boroughs of Brooklyn, Bronx, and Queens, since they do not have a general eruv. He also suggested that the Vaad designate two talmidei chachamim who are experts in hilchos eruvin to answer people’s questions regarding eruvei chatzeiros in the other boroughs.
There is a similar letter (dated as above, letter seven) from Rav Henkin to Rav Moskowitz (Gevuros Eliyahu, siman 120) where he concludes that everything published regarding this matter should be done in the name of the Vaad and not in his name; however, Rav Henkin allowed that they can make use of the contents of his letter. 

Friday, July 05, 2019

Part 2: Rav Henkin’s Final Opinion on the Manhattan Eruv

Rav Henkin’s Letters Regarding a Manhattan Eruv
In order to contextualize Rav Henkin’s opinion regarding the Manhattan eruv, we need to analyze all of his pertinent writings on the matter:     

1) Rav Henkin’s first mention of a Manhattan eruv was in 1936 (Luach HaYovel Shel Esras Torah, p. 62). Rav Henkin declared that Rav Seigel’s eruv of 1905 could no longer be relied upon because Rav Seigel had only enacted sechiras reshus for ten years. [Rav Seigel wrote a kuntres titled Eruv V’Hotzaah allowing one to utilize the eruv. In Gevuros Eliyahu, Rav Kleinman mistakenly referenced the wrong source, Rav Seigel’s teshuvah in his sefer titled Oznai Yehoshuasiman 18; however, this teshuvah only argued that Manhattan is not classified as a reshus harabbim and was penned prior to Eruv V’Hotzaah which was written to allow that one can actually carry in lower Manhattan, heter tiltul. No doubt the citation should have been to Eruv V’Hotzaah.] However, the main reason Rav Henkin asserted that the eruv was problematic was because of the changes to its parameters (the waterfront and the elevated Third Ave. train line) with the establishment of the bridges that crossed over Manhattan’s waterfront.
2) The above letter was later reprinted in Edus L’Yisroel, 1949 (p. 151; Gevuros Eliyahu, siman 114; it seems that Rabbi Kleinman did not realize that this letter was first published in Luach HaYovel Shel Esras Torah, in 1936) where Rav Henkin added a paragraph in which he stated that although someone mentioned that most of the bridges in fact comprise an integral tzuras hapesach, he refutes this claim. He added that there is an additional matter of asu rabbim u’mevatlei mechitzta since the borough of Manhattan contains shishim ribo. However, he admitted that Rav Seigel had already paskend (Oznai Yehoshuasiman 18) regarding this issue [that we do not say asu rabbim because Manhattan is encompassed by mechitzos and that the shishim ribo would need to traverse the street itself; actually, Rabbi Kleinman in Gevuros Eliyahu, siman 114 n. 746 missed the point that in essence Rav Henkin by declaring that Rav Seigel had already issued an opinion on these matters was affirming that shishim ribo is conditional of the street and that we pasken lo asu rabbim u’mevatlei mechitzta, and therefore Rav Henkin, never cited these issues again].
 3) On 12 Kislev, 5719/November 24, 1958 (Gevuros Eliyahu, siman 115) Rav Henkin issued a haskamah on the Shotzer Rebbe’s, Rav Yosef Dovid Moskowitz zt”l’s, sefer Kuntres Tikkun Eruvin Manhattan (1959). The Shotzer rebbe mentions (p. 45) that he investigated the Manhattan waterfront and its bridges in 1954 and again in 1959 and found that they were halachically sealed. Among the issues Rav Henkin mentioned in his haskamah was that if Manhattan’s mechitzos as is are halachically valid, then he believed that one cannot make an argument in opposition to an eruv that some may come to carry in other neighborhoods (Rav Henkin is disagreeing here with one of Rav Moshe’s arguments against a Manhattan eruv; Igros Moshe, O.C. 1:139:5, 5:28:15, and Rav Schwab Maayan Beis Ha’shoeva, Va’yakhel). However, Rav Henkin declared that if tzuras hapesachim or other means to close the gaps were to be used, as was employed in Europe, he believed that they would not endure. Rav Henkin continued that even though the Shotzer Rebbe maintained that the pirtzos of the bridges and tunnels of Manhattan are halachically considered sealed, he was still not clear about the matter. Rav Henkin concluded that if the mechitzos were valid then he would be lenient regarding zeraim negating the mechitzos and shemo yaaleh hanahar sirton and sechirus reshus. [There is a follow up to this letter with some clarifications in Gevuros Eliyahu, siman 116. Actually, Rabbi Kleinman missed some additional points of Rav Henkin’s which were published in Divrei MenachemO.C. vol. 2, p. 224.]  
4) On 7 Teves 5719/December 18, 1958, Rav Henkin wrote a letter to Rav Eisenstadt (collection Gevuros Eliyahu, siman 117) stating that, on the whole, he was not opposed to an eruv in Manhattan and if sechirus reshus was enacted, it would be sufficient for all. However, Rav Henkin stated that he did not want his name included with those who support using the eruv. Furthermore, he declared that he did not believe that it is fitting to publicize the heter.     
[At a meeting in Rav Henkin’s house on 16 Adar Beis 5719/March 26, 1959, regarding the issue of the Manhattan eruv (HaPardes, 33rd year, vol. 9, and Divrei MenachemO.C. vol. 2, p. 38), the following was discussed: the fact that Manhattan was an island that was encompassed by mechitzos b’y’dai adam (besides for one area) and the issue of the bridges and tunnels being halachically sealed.
On 16 Adar 5720/March 15, 1960, Rav Henkin signed on to a kol korei of the Vaad L’Maan Tikkun Eruvin B’Manhattan (ibid., p. 10) that stated there is a need to investigate how to bring to fruition the plan for a Manhattan eruv.]

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Part 1: Rav Henkin’s Final Opinion on the Manhattan Eruv

In the Mishpacha article “Book of Life” (issue 613 2 Sivan 5776 June 8, 2016) Eytan Kobre interviewed Rabbi Daniel Osher Kleinman (the editor of Rav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin’s zt”l’s teshuvos Gevuros Eliyahu) regarding Rabbi Eitam Henkin Hy”d. In order to demonstrate Reb Eitam’s quest for the truth and his ability to be mekabel, Reb Daniel cited an incident when he unearthed an inconsistency and Reb Eitam reversed his long held opinion. The issue was regarding the halachic feasibility of an eruv in Manhattan according to the opinion of Reb Eitam’s grandfather Rav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin.
Rav Henkin had written several letters on the topic of the Manhattan eruv. In one undated letter, he joined Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l in declining to publicly support an eruv, while in another, seemingly his last on the matter, Rav Henkin ostensibly lent his approval. The prevailing belief, with which Reb Eitam concurred, was that in his final pronouncement on the matter, Rav Henkin had, indeed, endorsed the construction of an eruv in the borough. However, Rabbi Kleinman discovered that the address of Ezras Torah on the stationary that Rav Henkin used for this undated letter was crossed out, and a new address was written in. According to Rabbi Kleinman, when Ezras Torah moved in the summer of 5721/1961, Rav Henkin made sure to cross out the previous address and write the new one on every letter following 26 Tammuz 5721. Therefore, the undated letter of non-support for the eruv, although previously thought to have been written years earlier, had actually been penned sometime after late Tammuz 5721, making it veritably his last known statement on the issue.
The prevailing belief on the topic of Rav Henkin’s position regarding an eruv in Manhattan up until Rabbi Kleinman unearthed this inconsistency had been set forth by Rav Menachem Kasher zt”l and the Shatzer Rebbe zt”l. Because of Rav Henkin’s stature as one of the preeminent poskim in America, the significance of his position cannot be underestimated. It is for this reason that Rabbi Kleinman’s discovery is of great importance. However, to those unfamiliar with Rav Henkin’s writings on the subject, the article may leave some with the mistaken impression that not only did Rav Henkin in his final opinion not lend his support for the eruv, he was actually in opposition to the establishment of an eruv for Manhattan [since he joined Rav Moshe Feinstein who, as is well known, signed onto the 1962 kol korei in opposition to the Manhattan eruv; more about this later on]. This is incorrect, and as I will demonstrate further on, there are omissions in Rabbi Kleinman’s arguments, as well.
To begin with, it is important to note that the first Manhattan eruv, which was established by Rav Yehoshua Seigel zt”l in 1905, used as its parameters the natural riverbanks [mechitzos hayam] that only encompassed the Lower East Side up until the Third Avenue El. As the Jewish community migrated out of the Lower East Side, there was a growing need to enlarge the Manhattan eruv to encompass more of the island. In 1949, the Amshinover Rebbe zt"l urged Rav Tzvi Eisenstadt zt”l to establish an eruv that included the entire Manhattan. Rav Eisenstadt spent days investigating the Manhattan waterfront and concluded that it was bounded by man-made walls [mechitzos b’y’dai adam] and, therefore, an eruv could be established (Minchas Tzvisiman 4). There were many meetings and teshuvos written concerning this eruv, the culmination being that most rabbanim allowed an eruv in Manhattan. Along with Rav Eisenstadt and the Amshinover Rebbe, the list included the Kapishnitzer Rebbe, Boyaner Rebbe, Novominsker Rebbe, Rav Michoel Dov Weissmandel, Rav Yonasan Steif, Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank, Rav Menachem Kasher, and the Shatzer Rebbe, zt”l. In Iyar of 1962, an eruv was finally established under the supervision of the Shatzer Rebbe.
The following month on the 18th of Sivan, a kol korei opposing the Manhattan eruv was issued by the Agudas Harrabanim with the signatures of Rav Aharon Kotler, Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Gedalia Schorr, Rav Chaim Bick, and Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky, zt”l.

Series 2 - Part 8.2: Commentary on Eruvin Shiurim by Rabbi Shraga Kallus

The Shiur - Series 2 - 8.15: The Rebuttal - Series 2 - 8.15: ______________________________________ The Shiur - Series 2 ...