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.

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Series 2 - Part 8.1: Commentary on Eruvin Shiurim by Rabbi Shraga Kallus

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