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. 

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

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