Thursday, October 14, 2021

Kol Koreis as Evidence

Lately, I see that some are trying to prove that Chabad was opposed to eruvin in large cities by citing the fact that Lubavitcher Rabbonim signed onto the 1979 Flatbush kol korei. They imply that this kol korei was forgotten about and demonstrates the position of the undersigned Lubavitcher Rabbonim.

In fact, I should note that the kol korei was not overlooked. However, the reason why I would not cite it is simply because kol koreis are unreliable documents. Those who utilize kol koreis as evidence for anything are either naïve or are trying to pull the wool over someone’s eyes. In this case, I suspect the latter.

First of all, it is important to note that there was no meeting of rabbanim in 1979 when they issued the kol korei against the eruv. Some individuals went to each rav personally to collect signatures. This explains how these individuals produced this kol korei by later adding all the signatures to one text. Even if the signatories signed a kol korei, it is doubtful that they saw the text that was the final kol korei. Furthermore, those involved in eruvin know the individuals who collected the signatures for this kol korei and the tactics that were used to assemble it. Hence, it is doubtful that many of the signatories were willing participants.

The 1979 Flatbush kol korei in particular is demonstrably fabricated as I have posted previously; see here. In fact, I demonstrate that Rav Moshe Feinstein never signed onto this kol korei.

There is no doubt that most rabbanim did not sign on the text of the kol korei that is extant. In fact, rabbanim such as the Pupa rav, the Sharmesher rav, and the Debrecener rav who were added to the kol korei maintain that Brooklyn is not a reshus harabbim. Both the Pupa rav and the Sharmesher rav wrote letters of support for a Williamsburg eruv in 1973 (Otzros Yerushalayim, 298-300 and Al Mitzvas Eruv, pp. 162-163); clearly they maintained that there was no issue of reshus harabbim in Brooklyn. Furthermore, they both wrote teshuvos that demonstrated that they upheld that the criterion of shishim ribo is conditional of the street and not the city (Tiferes Naftali, siman 25:4, V’yaan Yoseph, 131:1, 155:1, 195:2). No doubt they maintained that an eruv can be established in Brooklyn (see V’yaan Yoseph ad loc. for additional reasons to allow eruvin in Brooklyn). The Debrecener rav clearly maintained that Brooklyn is a karmelis (Be’er Moshe, 1:40), proving that he did not sign on to the text of the 1979 Flatbush kol korei, which claimed that Brooklyn is a reshus harabbim. [Only a letter or a teshuvah can be relied on.]

As I have said previously, to argue that the Alter Rebbe would not allow an eruv in large cities because of reshus harabbim issues is simply am haraatzus. Following all of the above, why should anyone believe that the signatures from Lubavitcher Rabbonim are any more valid?

There is no doubt that those who are citing this kol korei are grasping at straws.

Monday, September 06, 2021

K’siva V’Chasima Tova


I would like to wish my readers and all of Klal Yisroel a k’siva v’chasima tova and a gut gebentchte yahr. Hashem yemaleh kol mishalos lebecha l’tova.

As we enter 5782, may the lines we have drawn serve not to divide us but rather to unite us as one, so that together we may be zocheh to greet Moshiach speedily in our days.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Groundbreaking! Chabad and City Eruvin

I applaud the Chabad Rabbanim who signed this kol korei. The Lubavitcher position regarding city eruivn can finally be put to rest. As I have said previously, to argue that the Alter Rebbe would not allow an eruv in large cities is simply am haraatzus. 


Monday, December 28, 2020

Vandalism in Tottanham

To all my readers from Stamford Hill: Regarding the vandalism that occurred this week, realize that the only answer is to expand the eruv to include the entire neighborhood. Approximately twenty years ago in Boro Park, the eruv only included part of the neighborhood, and we experienced similar issues with vandalism.  At that point, Rav Ephraim Fishel Hershkowitz zt”l implored Rav Chaim Leib Katz shlita, the Rav HaMachsherto include the entire Boro Park within the eruv. When an eruv belongs to an entire community, it is more difficult to defend vandalism.   

Above all, do not be deceived by the arguments presented by yungerleit claiming that only the Tottanham neighborhood can be enclosed. They claim that the world follows the Bais Ephraim who maintains that in a situation of three mechitzos (as opposed to pasei bira’os) pirtzos esser is on a d’Oraysa level.  Accordingly, since only Tottenham can be encircled without including any pirtzos esser, the other neighboring areas are classified as a reshus harabbim and no eruv can be erected therein.

This dear readers is shtusim. The Bais Ephraim does not make this distinction; they invented this argument in order to negate eruvin at all cost, and it illuminates their desperation. The Bais Ephraim clearly maintains that lo asu rabbim u’mevatlei mechitzta even of three mechitzos as can be determined from his diagrams. While there are some questions as to how he explains certain issues (and I can explain all of them away), this cannot change the fact that the Bais Ephraim’s second diagram clearly says otherwise. As to pirtzos esser being on a d’Oraysa level in a situation of three mechitzos, the entire teshuvah of the Bais Ephraim demonstrates otherwise. In essence, they are arguing that the only reason the Bais Ephraim allows pasei bira’os [an enclosure consisting of four two-sided posts of at least an amah wide in each direction forming the corners of a square] to delimit a reshus harabbim is because then even pirtzos esser would be allowed. However, in a situation of omed merubeh of three mechitzos, we say that pirtzos esser is on a d’Oraysa level and turzas hapesachim would not suffice, when in fact the Bais Epharim argues that the reason he requires pasei bira’os is because otherwise asu rabbim u’mevatlei mechitzta (I realize that this is a very complicated inyan, and I hope to write about this at length in the future). It’s about time these yungerleit stop inventing new objections to our eruvin.

There is no reason whatsoever not to include additional neighborhoods in the eruv. It is simply punishing the rest of the community and midas Sidom.  

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Eruvin in the News: Queens 4

A Look Back at Our Borough’s Historic Role

Earlier this week, the Daf Yomi world made the siyum on Maseches Eiruvim. This is an opportunity to look back at the historic role Queens played in paving the way for the establishment of eiruvim throughout America and to remember the work of some of the people who made it possible. Read on...


This article about eruvin in Queens is fascinating. As an epilogue, I would add that the Judge Aaron Goldstein mentioned in this article was in Maimonides Hospital in 1999 prior to his passing. A member of the nascent Boro Park Vaad HaEruv happened to be visiting someone at the hospital at the time and struck up a conversation with the neighboring patient. This patient mentioned that he was Judge Aaron Goldstein and that his proudest moment on the bench was when he issued his ruling in favor of eruvin. He added that he was very pleased that his ruling was being employed all over the world. 

Additionally, I would like to expound on what the article accepts as a simple matter namely that Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l allowed the Queens eruv (Kew Gardens Hills). In fact, there has been much spilled ink regarding the difference between Brooklyn where Rav Moshe objected to an eruv and Queens where he allowed one. There has been absolutely no rational reason that has been suggested to date. All the arguments submitted are clearly excuses after the fact.

There are people who attempt to rationalize why Rav Moshe allowed an eruv to be erected in Queens. For example, some allege that Queens was not incorporated into the city as a whole unit but rather as a set of disparate neighborhoods, which is evident by the fact that when one writes a letter he indicates the neighborhood not just the borough, e.g. Kew Garden Hills, Queens as opposed to the other boroughs. Therefore, they argue, the population of Queens is considered divided, and each neighborhood is independent of the other, which is why Rav Moshe allowed an eruv to be erected there. This argument is specious; Rav Moshe never claimed that Kew Gardens was a separate entity, only that it was a small neighborhood in Queens (Igros MosheO.C. 4:86 and Addendum to O.C. 4:89). Additionally, Kew Gardens Hills is part of Queens just as Boro Park and Flatbush are part of Brooklyn, as can be seen on any map of the area. Every neighborhood in Queens is built up to the adjoining neighborhood and forms one contiguous borough just as all neighborhoods do in Brooklyn. Why then did Rav Moshe allow an eruv in Queens and oppose one in Brooklyn?

Moreover, according to Rav Moshe, it makes no difference whether or not Queens is considered as one city since Rav Moshe’s main thesis is that we view an area of twelve mil by twelve mil and not how the boroughs are conceptualized. If the twelve mil by twelve mil area contains a population of 3 million, an eruv cannot be erected in any part of it (ibid., 1:139:5, 4:87-88). Kew Garden Hills is part of the twelve mil by twelve mil of Queens just as Boro Park and Flatbush are part of the twelve mil by twelve mil of Brooklyn. If the population of Queens doesn’t meet the requirement of Rav Moshe’s chiddush to be classified as a reshus harabbim, neither does the population of Brooklyn. Even more so, since both Brooklyn and Queens have similar populations of over 2 million, why did Rav Moshe not apply the same gezeirah that he implemented regarding Brooklyn and Detroit to negate an eruv in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens as well (see Three Million: More or Less?)?

Additionally, in a speech given a while ago about the eruv in Flatbush, there was a claim made that the reason Rav Moshe allowed an eruv in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens was that the area is encircled with mechitzos. This is a fabrication, as Rav Moshe never refers to mechitzos in any teshuvah concerning Kew Gardens Hills (ibid., 4:86 and Addendum to O.C. 4:89). Nor does anyone else mention mechitzos regarding Kew Gardens Hills (See Minchas Cheinsiman 24 and Minchas Asher, 1:51-52, 2:56-57, 2:59). More so, since Brooklyn is encircled with mechitzos as well, why should it be any different than Kew Gardens Hills? If Brooklyn would require delasos at its pirtzos, Kew Gardens Hills would require delasos as well (Igros MosheO.C. 1:139:3).

Some even argue that those establishing the Kew Gardens Hills eruv did not apprise Rav Moshe of the pertinent statistics of Queens. First of all, this argument is motzei laz on those people whose only aveira was that they wanted to be mezakeh their neighborhood with an eruv. In any case, if this is so, why is it so difficult for these same people to believe that Rav Moshe was sold a pack of lies regarding Brooklyn (e.g. that the borough contains a population of greater than 3 million, including more than a million people commute into the borough to work, and that both Boro Park and Flatbush contain a population more than shishim ribo, and that Brooklyn is not encompassed by mechitzos)? I guess when the objective is to negate eruvin, we believe all tales, but when the goal is to establish an eruv, we don’t even believe the written word.      

See these posts for the underlying reasons why I believe Rav Moshe allowed the Kew Gardens Hills eruv: Part1, Part 2

Thursday, October 29, 2020

The New Dibros Moshe on Eruvin

In the new Dibros Moshe on Eruvin, they published for the first time in any of Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l’s seforim an important letter in the section titled Igros Moshe (page 576; this is one of the only two letters that are new to this volume, and I will write about the other letter shortly). However, this letter has been published previously in HaPardes, 33rd year, vol. 9 (1959; it was also mentioned in Kuntres Tikkun Eruvin Manhattan p. 161, and Divrei MenachemO.C. vol. 2, siman 4). From the original publication in HaPardes, we see that they omitted a few details in the new Dibros Moshe. To begin with, they omitted that Rav Moshe wrote this letter to Rav Moshe Bunim Pirutinsky zt”l. They also left out the beginning and end of this letter. Furthermore, they left out the name of the rav who established the original Manhattan eruv, Rav Seigel zt”l. There is no doubt that the original letter as published in HaPardes was the full letter as it was circulated at the time of the controversy and was never contested. [In fact, Rav Moshe wrote a similar letter in 1960 (Igros Moshe, O.C. 4:89) to Rav Eli Jung.] It is not plausible that the copy of the letter that Rav Moshe retained was missing these details. I will leave it to the reader to judge if some of or all of these omissions were purposeful or not (pay particular attention to the omitted beginning and end of the letter).

The first letter that follows is from the new Dibros Moshe; the second is the complete letter from the HaPardes. For the reader’s edification, I bolded the discrepancies in the second letter.  

ספר דברות משה עם ליקוטי אגרות משה - מועד חלק ראשון - עירובין שקלים ראש השנה - עמוד תקעו

בעצם איני רואה תועלת גדול וצורך לעשות תקון לטלטל בכאן של"ד לעירות שביוראפ שהי' הצורך גדול ממש לחיי נפש שלא היה אפשר להכין מים לבהמות וכדומה מחיי הנפש אף לעצמן אבל שבכאן יש הכל בבית ואף בבית כנסיות יש סדורים וחומשים עד להרבה, ורק לאלו הפושעים שעוברים על כל איסורי התורה לסלק מהן איסור הוצאה, שכנגד זה הרי יצא קלקול לאלו יראי ה' שלא היו רוצים לסמוך על המתירין אם היו יודעים גם טעמי המחמירים וגם לאחר שיתקלקל איזה מהמחיצות לפי רוב השינוים המתהוים בכאן כמעט בשנים קרובות וכמו שאחרי שנתבטל טעמו של רב אחד שלא פסקו מלטלטל, ולכן איני רואה שיהיה חיוב לתקן במאנהטן אף אם היה ההיתר ברור.

 הפרדס: שנה ל"ג - סיון, תשי"ט - חוברת ט' - עמוד 13

לדעתי בעניותי בארתי בערוך שודאי יש טעמים גדולים להתיר לתקן במאנהעטן אבל כיון שיש גם טעמים להחמיר כפי שבארתי שלא מבורר מנהג נגדם, ומצד החשש שלא יתירו במקומות שא"א לתקן כדהוכחתי מירושלים איני רוצה להצטרף להמתירים, אף שאיני מוחה בהמתירין מאחר שהטעמים להתיר מרובין ומצד החשש שהוכחתי מירושלים בדיעבד בשיערבו הרי יהיה מותר, וכיון שהם סוברים להתיר אף אחר שראו מה שכתבתי (באגרות משה סי' קל"ט) ודאי הרשות בידם לעשות כמו שהם סוברים, ובעלי נפש יראי ה' שיחושו להטעמים להחמיר שכתבתי לא יטלטלו. אבל בעצם איני רואה תועלת גדול וצורך לעשות תקון לטלטל בכאן של"ד לעירות שביוראפ שהי' הצורך גדול ממש לחיי נפש שלא היה אפשר להכין מים לבהמות וכדומה מחיי הנפש אף לעצמן אבל שבכאן יש הכל בבית ואף בבית כנסיות יש סדורים וחומשים עד להרבה, ורק לאלו הפושעים שעוברים על כל איסורי התורה לסלק מהן איסור הוצאה, שכנגד זה הרי יצא קלקול לאלו יראי ה' שלא היו רוצים לסמוך על המתירין אם היו יודעים גם טעמי המחמירים וגם לאחר שיתקלקל איזה מהמחיצות לפי רוב השינוים המתהוים בכאן כמעט בשנים קרובות וכמו שאחרי שנתבטל טעמו של הגר"י סיגעל שלא פסקו מלטלטל, ולכן איני רואה שיהיה חיוב לתקן במאנהטן אף אם היה ההיתר ברור. אבל אם אחר כ"ז סוברים המתירין שהוא צורך בשביל התינוקות ובשביל השוגגין איני מוחה אבל איני מצטרף.          

Monday, October 26, 2020

Part 9: Rebuttal to the Laws of an Eruv - Hebrew Section

פרק י"ג

כלל העולה מדברינו בכמה צירוים שמשכחת לה כשמערבין את העיר ויש שם מחיצות שאינם עומדים בקו אחד

ומעתה נבוא לדון על כמה ציורים המשכחת לה כשמערבין את כל העיר וסומכין על שורות הבתים שישמשו כעומד מרובה על הפרוץ. הנה, בציור כזה (כב) לשטח האמצעי יש ד' מחיצות עומד מרובה על הפרוץ, אבל כל השבילים היוצאים מהם יש להן רק ג' מחיצות עומד מרובה על הפרוץ, דשטח א' אין לו מחיצה 1 מאחר שהוא חוץ מהיקף ההוא, אבל יש לשטח הא' מחיצות 2, 3, 4, דמחיצה 3 ודאי יכולה לשמש מחיצה לשטח הא', דהמחיצה הצפונית שבשטח הא' הרי היא מחוברת עם המחיצה הצפונית של השטח האמצעי, ועי"ז נעשית מחיצה 3 מחוברת אל השטח הא'. וכן שטח ב' אין לו מחיצה 2 אבל יש לו מחיצות 1, 3, 4, מטעם שביארתי. וכן שטח ג' אין לו מחיצה 3 אבל יש לו מחיצות, 4, 1, 2. וכן שטח ד' אין לו מחיצה 4 אבל יש לו מחיצות 1, 2, 3. כלל הדבר: כל שטח שהוא חוץ מההיקף אינו יכול העומד מרובה לשמש למחיצה לאותו הצד, אבל יכול הוא לשמש לעומד מרובה לצד שכנגדו, דלגבי שטח שכנגדו הרי הוא בתוך ההיקף. וכיון שיש לו עומד מרובה בג' רוחות, ודאי דהצד הד' ניתר בפס ד' או בצוה"פ.

ובציור כזה (כג) השטח הב' ניתר בעומד מרובה של השטח הא', כיון דהשטח הב' הוא בתוך ההיקף של השטח הא', ע"כ יכולה מחיצה הא' לשמש להתיר את הפירצה שבשטח הב', כמ"ש החזו"א. וביארנו בס"ד דאין שום ראשון או אחרון חולק על זה. בציור כזה (כד) השטח הב' יש לו עומד מרובה אף אם יהיה העומד מרובה רק בצירוף מחיצה 1, שמושכין את מחיצה 1 למקום מחיצה 2, אבל שטח א' אין לו מחיצה 2, מאחר שהוא חוץ למחיצה 2,וניתר בפס ד' או בצוה"פ, מאחר שיש לו ג' מחיצות שלימות.

ואם יהיה ציור (כג) בשני מקומות זה כנגד זה, כזה (כה), הרי שתי הפירצות ניתרות מדין עומד מרובה על הפרוץ, כמו בציור (כג), אבל אם יהיה ציור (כד) בשני מקומות כזה (כו) אז יהיה הדין כמו שביארנו בציור (כב), דשטח א' אין לו מחיצה 1אבל יש לו מחיצות 2, 3, 4, 5, שמושכין את מחיצה 3 עד מחיצה 4, ובצירוף שתיהן יש עומד מרובה ומתיר גם את שטח א'. וכמו"כ שטח ג' אין לו מחיצה 4, אבל יש לו מחיצה 5, 6, 1, 2. נמצא דכל שטח שבתוך ההיקף ההוא מוקף בשלש מחיצות עומד מרובה על הפרוץ. כן הוא לפי שיטת החזו"א וכל הפוסקים.

נמצא דהעיר שהיא מוקפת מד' רוחות לא משכחת ציור (כד) בשני מקומות דאף לגבי צד ההוא, הוא מחוץ להיקף אבל לגבי צד שכנגדו הוא כציור (כג).


Kol Koreis as Evidence

Lately, I see that some are trying to prove that Chabad was opposed to eruvin in large cities by citing the fact that Lubavitcher Rabbonim ...