Lately, the kuntres Eiruvin in Lakewood (which is a translation of the introduction by the author of Kuntres HaDoreshes Masa'as Shabbos, vol. 1), was disseminated; no doubt, the author is an erudite talmid chachom, but it is my opinion that he is megala tefach u’mechasah tefachayim. The crux of his argument is that there is a halachic distinction and no benefits between the Lakewood neighborhood eruvin and a larger community wide eruv. As I present in this Kuntres, he is simply being mendacious.
The fact is there is no halachic difference between a neighborhood eruv and a community wide eruv and there are many benefits to the neighborhood eruvin (see Section One; 1, 3:2:2, 3:3:4, and 5:1), yet the Baal Hakuntres opposes it. Evidently, the author barely tolerates the neighborhood eruvin; however, he has no choice but to allow them since they are heavily relied upon and so, no doubt, are here to stay. Since his objective is to minimize eruvin, he picks his battles by fighting the community wide eruv.
Ostensibly, what the Kuntres is suggesting is that we should follow all chumros, and shitos yechidaos in matters pertaining to eruvin. However, ruling according to shitos yachidos is not the appropriate approach in halachah. [The Chasam Sofer writes (Y.D. 37) that if we were to collect all the shitos ha’ossrim, we would not be able to eat bread or drink water.] Even more so, in hilchos reshuyos and eruvin, since all criteria have to be met for the area to be classified as a reshus harabbim, even if we were to employ a shitas yachid regarding reshus harabbim that would then disqualify the eruv based on only one criterion, the other conditions would not be met and an eruv would be permissible l’chatchilah. Consequently, to invalidate an eruv, one would have to selectively choose from disparate shitos yachidos ― which in many cases are contradictory ― and that is an unjustifiable approach to halachah. The reality is that if someone learns hilchos reshuyos and eruvin with an open mind, he would realize that since it is almost impossible to meet all the criteria of a reshus harabbim, creating an eruv l’chatchilah is a real possibility.
These requirements to seek every chumra in matters pertaining to eruvin have created some of the foremost conflicts in recent history and have created an atmosphere where rabbanim are uncomfortable giving hechsherim even on neighborhood eruvin. Therefore, I hope that this Kuntres will set the record straight for the general public by illuminating the issues and demonstrating that there are many reasons why a community wide eruv would be allowed l’chatchilah.
This Kuntres consist of two sections. Section One is an overview of the pertinent halachos demonstrating that there are no halachic distinctions between a Lakewood community wide eruv and the neighborhood eruvin. Section Two is an analysis and a refutation of the entire Eiruvin in Lakewood Kuntres in a linear fashion. I apologize in advance for the repetition, but this is the nature of any critique, and I have no choice but to follow his lead.