Friday, July 07, 2006

Glatt Yosher?

from Ma‘ayan Beit Hasho’eiva by R' Shimon Schwab:
(second chief rabbi of K'hal Adath Jeshurun, Washington Heights, New York)

[analysis of the mitzva of ‘eiruv as "in remembrance of leaving Egypt"]

...And here is a place for me to copy a letter that I arranged more than thirty years ago, against an article that was published for certain rabbis who wanted to enact ‘eiruvey hhatzeirot [or in the colloquial, eruvs] in Manhattan, and was published in the monthly Hapardeis (issue 5 year 36):

"His honor the Rav, editor, šlyt"a,

I read a long article in the last Hapardeis from Rav ... on the matter of enacting ‘eiruvin in Manhattan, and, begging the pardon of the honorable great rabbis šlyt"a who are involved in this matter, I cannot pass it by silently, and see an obligation on me to express my opinion in public for the following reasons and points.

Behold, it's certain that I am not worthy to analyze the Halakhic decisions of the ge’onim of the previous generation zç"l which were brought in the article, and anyway, who am I that I'd be able to insert my head between the great mountains of stringent and lenient decisors; and I do not involve myself in deciding halakhot to express this way or that; and also — God forbid — I have not come to prosecute; and if only I were able to silence the beatings of my heart and the serious doubts piercing my brain when it comes to this question, I would have remained silent, and would not have dared to publish in public words of criticism and opposition.

But once I had read at the end of the article mentioned above that the committee for enacting ‘eiruvin will soon call a large gathering of the rabbis of Manhattan, in which they will finally decide whether to arrange the enactment of ‘eiruvin or not — then I said to myself that I cannot be silent on this matter, which will God forbid cause desecration of the holy Sabbath and desecration of God's Name, and in worry I decided that notwithstanding my desire, I would object in a loud voice because the hour deems it necessary, and the honorable great rabbis, members of the committee, have the [right of] forgiveness, and Vaheiv in a storm.

A) Behold, all admit that it is a great mitzva to enact ‘eiruvin to prevent the people from desecration of the holy Sabbath, and it is a great honor to be appointed for such an important mitzva — and on the contrary, anyone who wants to prevent it, the collar of responsibility [for proving otherwise] hangs from his neck, and on this no one disagrees.

But at this time and season and especially in this state which is mixed up by vulgarity and ignorance, at a time when those of weak knowledge have ascended and youths stand in the place of elders and are not ashamed to express Torah that is against Halakha, making farfetched interpretations in all corners and camps, and the war (host arrayed against host) is heavy against those who destroy God's vineyard, in a time of spiritual emergency like today — it is definite that one must take into account the sorry state of affairs, for I truly fear the sin and great malfunction and aweful destruction that is destined to come about from this enactment. Things will come out reversed, that instead of improvement there will be damage, and instead of minimizing descration of the Sabbath, it will God forbid increase, due to the circumstances of life in a time like this. And if any person were to pass four amot in a forbidden public zone [=reshut harabim] because of this new enactment, God forbid, what will we answer on the Day of Judgement? And all the more so, all the more so if there is reason to suspect that many people would become flippant about all Sabbath matters and observance of mitzvot because of this renewal, all the more so that then there would be no place we could bring our shame.

B) Behold we must analyze the words of the ga’on R' A. Henkin šlyt"a which were brought in the above-mentioned article, where he writes explicitly that 'we must announce in public that this enactment ... avails only for the matter of renting the place, but ‘eiruvey hhatzeirot are needed in every house in which there are two Jews ... and also we must publicize the laws of set-aside objects [=muqtzeh] which are not suspended by the making of an eruv ... and that only the island of Manhattan is being made a permissible [zone] by the eruv, and not the rest of the parts of the city ... and by this manner there is hope that the eruv will be only an improvement and no malfunction will come out of it.'

If so, we have permission to cast doubt, and to suspect that maybe God forbid a malfunction will come out of this, that many will not read the announcements or will not pay attention to what the committee publicizes in whatever fashion, or maybe they will not obey the rabbis' words of warning. And now an understanding person may ask, 'Obey? How could we know beforehand that they will not listen to the words of the warners and reprovers?' [But] have we not seen with our own eyes that even rabbis and leaders have not inclined their ears to the halakhic ruling of eleven famous roshey yeshiva [the 18 Adar, 5716 pesaq of R' Moshe Feinstein and others against participation in the New York Board of Rabbis and the Synagogue Council of America]? What would the simple people do, the poor ones who didn't wait for the enactment of the eruv and 'took out' [from private zone to public zone] on the holy Sabbath from ignorance or even from disregard — will they now [take care to] remove all of the set-aside objects from their pockets and the pocketbooks in their wives' hands? And if they take walks on the bridges, for example from Manhattan to The Bronx, on Shabbos, will they really obey [the directive] to empty their pockets on the way? Will they know and understand the issue of a door-form [=tzurat hapetahh], and until what place it is permissible to carry and from what place it is prohibited?

C) Since the main point of the allowance of an eruv is dependent on the reality, meaning Manhattan being an island surrounded by seas and rivers on every side, we need to explain to the community that due to this there is no need to make walls, and there is almost no need for any [physical] enactment, but only to rent the city from the city officials and to buy a box of matza and that's it.

But then everyone will ask: 'If it's really that easy, why haven't the rabbis done this until now, and why did they burden us with extraneous stringencies until today?' Since they don't see with their eyes the signals of the eruv, like stretched cords, doorway marks, recognition markings, etc., they will be astounded by it, for they will not take thought or understand the laws of Shabbos and the opinions of the Torah, and for sure there will be many of the common people who will think negative thoughts about the rabbis, that they are stringent or lenient according to their own desires, and that if they had not been lazy, weak and contrary to each other all these years we would never have had to be careful of the prohibition of 'taking out' — and the proof is that the rabbis didn't make anything new and didn't make walls and didn't work hard or labor, but just discussed together at a meeting and decided by majority that what was prohibited in all the cities of America until now, and what was prohibited in all parts of New York City, and what was prohibited in Manhattan, through last Shabbos, will now be permitted from this Shabbos and on because the rabbis so decided! And there will be those of weak will who will think that if only the rabbis would deal similarly with the other prohibitions and stringencies, like electricity, elevators, etc., laws of personal status, etc., they would also for sure find simple and easy permissions like this one; and if the prohibition of 'taking out' is so lightweight, why be stringent when it comes to set-aside objects, etc.?

Do we truly not need to worry about all this in a poor generation like ours? And do we not need to be wary of the ridicule of the various Conservatives and Reforms — who will publicize in the newspapers that the rabbis bought Manhattan Island from City Hall for one agora like the Gentiles did in old times from the Indians — and there will arise enough contempt and wrath! And there will be others who say, 'On the contrary, we greet with blessings the "strength of spirit" of the rabbis who take into account the new reality, and for sure will make other new enactments soon according to the spirit of the time, and it is a good sign that the [Ultra-?]Orthodox [the word used is hhareidim] have finally awoken from their deep sleep' and similar. And so, don't we need to fear and worry maybe there is something to these suspicions? Maybe, God forbid, the benefit of this new "enactment/improvement" will be nullified by the aweful and terrible loss that will sprout from it?

And what will those innocents who are not beney Torah do to respond to those who question and mock them? Do we not need to fear that maybe those of innocent thoughts who are unable to respond would become shocked and confused, and will lose the straight path in belief and observance of mitzvot, like the words of the sage, 'a single joke nullifies a hundred reproofs'.

This, and something more. The sanctity of the Sabbath is goseis [=in the process of dying], and it is forbidden to touch even the smallest finger because of our situation here now. The prohibition of 'taking out' is the touchstone that distinguishes between a truly Sabbath-observant Jew and one who lightens the yoke of Heavenly Authority from upon himself. In general, it is possible to agree that we can assume that every man and woman among us who is wary of the prohibition of 'taking out' on the holy Sabbath today is a God-fearing person when it comes to kashrut, testimony, shiddukhs, education, association etc., and on this experience teaches; and due to our own situation, diligence when it comes to [obeying the prohibition of] 'taking out' has become the touchstone and recognition-sign. And so do we have authority at this point now, while the generation has not become proper, to actively nullify these explicit signals, and cause by means of this 'improvement' to increase confusion and blur the differences that shame us?

The thing is, all those many who already 'took out' by accident or intent, on the holy Sabbath will continue to do so, and will not listen to the words of the warners from now on just as they haven't listened earlier; but those who fear God, who stand through hardship in the tests of life until today, from now on will receive a nice present 'in honor of the Omnipresent, in honor of the Torah and in honor of the Sabbath' and will be able to bring pocketbooks to shul like the desecrators of the Sabbath have already been doing since yesteryear.

And so according to all the above, there remains only one reason to praise and obligate the enactment, which is, to save from punishment those who accidentally [violate the prohibition of] 'taking out' (God forbid), and the weak-willed from suspicion of apostasy; and for sure this reason is important without doubt, but for this sickness it is very easy to find a cure, which is:

Those rabbis who justify being lenient [and making the eruv] should go and rent Manhattan Island from the mayor according to all the laws of ‘eiruvin without publicizing it at all, and then they have saved their own souls as well as saved from a heavy punishment those who accidentally violate the prohibition of 'taking out' derabanan (according to their opinion), and God will forgive all those who stray; and all this is possible without publicizing it, secretly — and on this all agree with their heart's desire. But the entirety of the community must not 'take out' from their house on Shabbos, especially since the ga’on R' Moshe Feinstein šlyt"a wrote explicitly that ba‘aley nefesh should be stringent with themselves and not 'take out' as before.

And for us, we should hope for the strengthening of the Torah in the younger generation and all our children should be learnèd of God, and the great ones of Torah [=gedoley hatorah] should have real power, and then everyone will be happy to participate in giving merit to the masses and assisting in enacting eruvs in every city according to both Halakha and logic, and peace upon Israel."

[R' Schwab then goes on to quote the pesaq of R' Moshe Feinstein and others against enacting eruvs in Manhattan, without comment]

Blogger's Notes:
1. I'm not sure what הו"כ stands for, so I'm guessing it's something like הוד כבודם and translating it as 'honorable'
2. I'm not sure what the significance of the reference to Vaheiv is
3. Hhareidi here could mean Orthodox in general, or Ultra-Orthodox; the OU uses the term hhareidi to translate 'orthodox' in some versions of its name
4. Improvement = Enactment = תיקון

Notice posted in K'hal Adath Jeshurun, 5766:
פסק דין

This is to clearly reaffirm the position of the Rabbinate of K'hal Adath Jeshurun past and present, that any Eruv erected in the streets of Manhattan is ineffective and may not be used.

Wherever I am (even in The Land), my blog turns to NYC time.


Anonymous Manna Eater said...

I'm not sure what the significance of the reference to Vaheiv is

I think it refers to Kiddushin 30b:
אשרי הגבר אשר מלא את אשפתו מהם לא יבושו כי ידברו את אויבים בשער (תהילים קכז)
מאי את אויבים בשער אמר רבי חייא בר אבא אפי' האב ובנו הרב ותלמידו שעוסקין בתורה בשער אחד נעשים אויבים זה את זה ואינם זזים משם עד שנעשים אוהבים זה את זה שנאמר (במדבר כא) את והב בסופה אל תקרי בסופה אלא בְּסוֹפָהּ

7/07/2006 6:00 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Thanks a lot, Manna Eater!

7/07/2006 6:02 AM  
Blogger lineman said...

The last paragraph says it all, “And for us, we should hope for the strengthening of the Torah in the younger generation and all our children should be learned of G-d, and the great ones of Torah should have real power, and then everyone will be happy to participate in giving merit to the masses and assisting in enacting eruvin in every city according to both Halakha and logic.” When was there ever a time like this, if not today. I stressed this in my post regarding the Washington Heights eruv, and it is about time that the Breuer rabbanim took note of this. In contrast to Rav Schwab’s letter, the issue of an eruv in Manhattan is at a standstill for them. Don’t they realize that an eruv is mostly needed today for the observant Jew as opposed to the 1962 Manhattan eruv which was established mostly for the non-observant Jew, and that is the main reason Rav Schwab resisted the eruv.

It is interesting to note that the Shotzer Rebbe responded to Rav Schwab’s letter in HaPardes, 1962 vol.6. For contrast, I think that it would be of interest to translate this rebuttal. I would add that Rav Schwab’s arguments against an eruv were clearly against the prevailing view of all poskim regarding the need for an eruv. I hope to analyze this when I post regarding the underpinnings of the Frankfort and Manhattan eruv controversies.

7/07/2006 11:17 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Btw, Lineman, thanks so much for your postings on this and other eruv issues. I wouldn't have known where to go look for the letter otherwise.

What I don't understand is how R' Schwab spent so much time talking about how it should work, but we don't want it for various other reasons... and then he goes and quotes a pesaq from people who said that it halakhically doesn't work, without commenting on the difference.

Where can i find HaPardes?
(i'm in Israel now, i got a copy of Ma‘ayan Beit Hasho’eiva at the YU library and made copies of the relevant pages there to bring with me)

7/07/2006 11:26 AM  
Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

steg for hapardes goto

7/07/2006 11:34 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


7/07/2006 11:49 AM  
Blogger lineman said...

Oh my there is so much to say about this issue. The PC way to put it is because the halachic aspect was not the primary issue in Frankfort either.

For the HaPardes see,

7/07/2006 11:53 AM  
Anonymous Jacob Farkas said...


Thanks for the great work you have done on your blog in presenting many of the complicated issues pertinent to Eruvin in urban settings.

One of the very interesting points raised by R' Schwab zt"l in this article is that people could take issue with Rabbis for enacting a lenient position in Eruvin (whether justified by k'lalei p'saq or otherwise, I don't wish to make to this point right now) while being stringent, or enforcing stringent opinions in other matters.

In general, I am not too thrilled when questions of Hashqafah or are introduced in matters that are to be decided in the sphere of Halakhah, but when it comes to Eruvin, the two always seem to come together, on both sides of the proverbial fence. Those who choose against an Eiruv for Hashqafic reasons will find a way to prohibit within Halakhah, and those who seek to enable Eiruvin will find no shortage of sources to support their position.

The irony is that (some of) those who are in support of urban Eiruvin will find leniencies in Hilkhos Eiruvin, leniencies of the level they would never consider for other matters, be they Shabbos or other matters. (Whether this is justified because WRT Eiruvin Halakhah K'divrei haMeikel and its offshoots is again outside the scope of my point..)

While R' Schwab zt"l raises the point that qulos (or reliance on more lenient sources) for Eiruvin may have people asking the questions why aren't the Rabbanim more pro-active or seeking similar solutions to other problems in Halakhah, the question does very much remain, why don't they? Is there a need to go l'Humra becuase the generation may not understand the nuances of hetteir? Is there a need to go l'Humra because the generation needs a greater buffer zone? Or is there a need to go l'Humra because other factions have gone l'Qula and thus the need to highlight the differences of approach so to have clear cut seperation between the camps? AIUI, R' Schwab zt"l is consistent with his approach and goes l'Humra for those reasons, and as a result will lean to those posqim who side l'Issur in enacting Eiruvin.

The direction of many leaders in this generation for most issues is that of Humra, consistent with the reasons mentioned above. I doubt that those who encourage Humra in other aspects would concede l'Qula WRT Eruvin, R' Schwab zt"l didn't. And to those who do, I mentioned earlier, that I do find it ironic.

In short, your (Lineman's) assesment of today as being the proper time according to R' Schwab z"tl when "...the strengthening of the Torah in the younger generation and all our children should be learned of G-d, and the great ones of Torah should have real power...", is fine in theory, but it appears in most other aspects of our lives that many G'dolim and Posqim have declared this generation to be weaker, by virtue of the Humros that are always identified and suggested and willingly accepted by the masses at large.

7/09/2006 5:52 PM  
Blogger lineman said...

First of all, Rav Schwab zt”l’s issue was not regarding kulos in eruvin per se, only that the common people would allege that the rabbanim could find the necessary leniencies in any matter of halachah when it suited them.

There are no hashkafic issues in opposition to eruvin at all. Nowhere in history will you find that hashkafa was inveighed against eruvin. Only after the 1900’s was hashkafa brought to bear against the establishment of an eruv. This correlates with the fact that at the time there were cites with many rabbanim, and therefore to negate another rav’s eruv, all excuses were used to resist it. If one used hashkafa against the establishment of an eruv, I guarantee that there are ulterior motives involved. There is no doubt that Rav Schwab was influenced by the Frankfort eruv controversy in 1914.

On the other hand, those promoting an eruv have many precedents to utilize hashkafa as a reason to be lenient in establishing an eruv. The Chasm Sofer and many other poskim claimed that it was impossible to ensure that people would not carry without an eruv, and therefore there was a great need for one. People are under the impression that it was only an American phenomenon to carry on Shabbos without an eruv. In light of this Chasam Sofer we see that this was an issue in Europe as well. No one ever claimed that there is a need to demarcate the carriers from the non-carriers or that there was a need to create a buffer zone. On the contrary, they sought ways to be mizakeh harabbim and establish an eruv. Additionally, it is a myth that many kulos are employed to establish an eruv today. I am sure that few eruvin of yesteryear match the quality of the eruvin established today, and few if any kulos are used at all. This is being promoted by the anti-eruv camp and is fallacious.

I summation, since, even in the past, all these claims could have been employed against the establishment of eruvin, and we see that on the contrary the rabbanim pulled out all the stops to erect them, these claims must be political. It is important to note that Rav Henkin zt”l disagreed with Rav Schwab’s assessment and maintained that the Manhattan eruv was only viable because it was utilizing mechitzos that were established and that it is incorrect to enact gezeiros. In light of this, I believe that all of Rav Schwab’s issues can be argued otherwise.

I disagree that the fact that people accept chumros willingly suggests a weaker generation. On the contrary only a stronger one. The fact is that Rav Schwab pinned his opposition to an eruv particularly on the weakness of his generation’s observance of halachah. This would change accordingly with the generation’s willingness to accept the obligation of halachah. There is no better time than now.

7/10/2006 11:35 PM  
Blogger Lipman said...


I've long thought that Rav Schwab's zetza"l arguments against an eirev might not apply today (which isn't the same as assuming he'd allow it today).

But what do you think about the "clandestine eirev" idea? And do you think there's been one?

I think if news about such a clandestine eirev spreads, the effect of negative feelings towards Orthodox rabbonem would be immense, which is what Rav Schwab was most concerned about.

7/11/2006 5:51 AM  
Anonymous Jacob Farkas said...


Qula is defined as applying a lenient position. This does not equate with less holy or less frum. Finding leniencies for allowing Hotza'ah on Shabbos is l'qula, even if 100% appropriate l'halakhah.

R' Schwab didn't want Eiruv to be a rallying point for those claiming Rabbanim could find leniencies for everything. We both agree on this point.

People on both sides of the Eiruv controversy invoke Hashqafah as part of their agenda. In truth, there is no shortage of printed matter to justify enactment of an Eiruv l'halakhah, as well as there being enough material to challenge the halakhic validity. Your Hashqafah on the matter influences which posqim and p'saqim you choose to cite and follow. Eilu v'Eilu.

Humra is used as a safeguard. Should everyone by Yerayim Ushleimim, Humra would not be neccesary, strict Halakha would be sufficient. Whenever Hazal or future Rabinnic leaders saw a neccesity to enact a Gezeirah it was because they felt that without the Gezeirah people would negligent in the more serious Issurim.

7/11/2006 12:11 PM  
Blogger lineman said...

Lipman – What’s between your parentheses is on target and just proves my point.

The Lubavitcher rebbe zt”l supported a clandestine eruv for Melbourne as well. I think that it is unfair since the Perishah advocates an eruv because of oneg Shabbos. All are included. If it is halacihically, feasible why deny it to all?

7/11/2006 5:27 PM  
Blogger lineman said...

Jacob Farkas – I disagree. Any issue that is halachah pesuka is not a kula. Almost all the issues that have been employed lately to negate eruvin are clearly going against the accepted halachah. (A case in point regarding accepted halachah, Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l was stringent regarding the criterion of mefulash. However, he admitted at the outset of his teshuvah that it was accepted to rely on mefulash. Why should one be considered a meikil because he does not follow Rav Aharon’s p’sak? He is only following the conventional halachah - I am not referring to Rav Aharon’s talmidim.)

My point is that Rav Schwab was in uncharted territory when he invoked hashkafa against an eruv. I am sure there is no evidence to the contrary (prior to the 1900’s). As there was politics involved in the Frankfort eruv controversy it is not farfetched to say that Rav Schwab brought into play similar issues that were suggested then. Actually, there are only a few teshuvos against eruvin at all (prior to the 1900’s) and all of them only concerned halachaic issues. There is no question that there is precedence for hashkafa to be cited for leniency to erect eruvin. However, there is no hashkafic precedent to impede an eruv. Sure, hashkafa was employed to push thorough the need for an eruv lately, but it did not figure in the halachic debate at all. This is being suggested only by the anti-eruv camp and is untrue.

I reiterate, Rav Schwab created these chumros and if they do not concern us today (as he specified) there is no reason to follow them. Why should we add to his gezeiros? Chumros are used as a safeguard but not carrying in a kosher eruv is not a chumra. Those in the past who did not carry did not want to rely on the kulos that were employed in the construction of the town’s eruv. There are no leniencies being utilized in the present Brooklyn and Manhattan eruvin at all. In any case, Rav Schwab was against the use of an eruv by all not just by those who are stringent and some of his objections could have been invoked against all eruvin. Therefore, his chiddushim cannot be used against eruvin forever since we would never be able to establish an eruv anywhere.

You stated that, “Should everyone be Yerayim Ushleimim, Humra would not be neccesary.” Since rabbanim enacted many chumros to safeguard against serious issurim, how come they never thought of Rav Schwab’s issues? Please do not rejoin that these issues were exclusive to Rav Schwab’s generation as I have previously shown from the Chasam Sofer that it predates him.

Many poskim do not subscribe to the idea that today they can enact new gezeiros. Even takanos can only be enacted for their local and only for a short period of time. That time has expired.

7/11/2006 5:36 PM  
Anonymous Jacob Farkas said...


You are not following my point on my use of Qula/Humra WRT to Eiruvin. Think about the term Halakhah k'divrei haMeiqil and you may understand what I am referring to when I say Qula. I hope that you see the difference between a lenient position and one who always leans towards leniences.

Any discusssion of precedent invoking Hashqafah pro/anti enactment of Eiruvin is unconvincing because mega cities like NYC are new. Cities in the past were significantly smaller, and Jews often lived in ghettos. This is not to suggest that Halakhos regarding Metro areas are significantly different per se, but the Metzius is new, and all discussions outside the realm of Halakhah are new as well.

Don't dismiss R' Schwab zt"l. You could choose to say that others didn't share his concern and you are in their camp, but to suggest that R' Schwab was out of line is not appropriate.

I never said that there are leniences in the construction of current Eiruvin. I walked the Borough Park Eiruv perimeter when it was first built and was totally impressed by the attention to detail and the quality of work, making sure that multiple Shitos were taken into consideration.

Rabbanim who were Hashqafically pro-eiruv considered the issur of hillul Shabbos to take precedent over other mikhsholim, and thus they were Makhmir on Hotza'ah, in their view. R' Schwab felt otherwise, and was makhmir for his concerns.

It is not a Gezeirah to refuse building an eiruv. Nor is it a Mitzvas Asseh to build one. It may be a good thing to build one (should your Hashqafah lead you to that conclusion), but if a rabbi refuses, he is not issuing a Gezeirah.

I don't wish to continue this discussion in the comments section of Steg's blog. Feel free to email me: jfarkas #at# compufar $dot$ com.

7/12/2006 12:23 AM  
Blogger lineman said...

There are no leniencies being relied on whatsoever. Nowhere has halachah k’divrei hameikil been utilized for these eruvin. These issues are halachah pesuka.

No, the metzius is not a new one. There were large cities such as Warsaw and Lodz that maintained eruvin, and no one invoked these issues there. Additionally, Rav Schwab‘s concerns had nothing to do with the size of the city, only with the state of the observance of its people. The size of the city does not matter regarding these issues.

I am not suggesting that Rav Schwab is not entitled to his opinion, but the world should not have to follow shitos that go against the accepted minhag. In any case, we most definitely should not add to his shitos, and if according to his words we presently can erect an eruv, there is no reason to resist one. It has become fashionable to invoke shitos yachidos against eruvin, and I believe that they have to be labeled as such.

I agree that the Boro Park eruv is mehudar. I agree with your next paragraph as well.

If all poskim maintained that there is a great need for an eruv, and then one states otherwise, I believe he is enacting a gezeirah or a takanah. You are incorrect; it is a mitzvah to erect an eruv (see Shulchan Aruch, O.C. 395:1 regarding shitufei mevo’os and I am purposely omitting the mitzvah of eruvei chatzeiros). Eruvin is mostly a matter of halachah and not hashkafa. These two topics should not be mixed together since many times hashkafa would negate all city eruvin.

7/12/2006 11:16 PM  
Anonymous Jacob Farkas said...


Halakhah K'divrei Hameiqil is also Pesuqah, I don't understand how you fail to get my point about lenient position, even within Halakhah Pesuqah.

Warsaw 200 years ago was a "Dorf" compared to NYC today, so please don't go there. Furthermore, R' Schwab had no issue with smaller non-municipal Eiruvin.

No one resists Eiruvin because of singular Shittos. They resist Eiruvin for their own reasons and use anything they can to support their bias, even a Da'as Yahid. [Same can be said for many who support Eiruvin, and of many other issues...]

Refusal is not a Gezeirah. It is an illogical conclusion. Note that I said that Tiqun Eiruvin is not an Aseih, rather than not a Mitzvah, pre-empting your bringing a source that labells its construction Mitzvah...

I too agree that Hashqafa should not be a factor in this discussion. I devoted a paragraph in my first comment about it.

Please, if you wish to continue, e-mail me. I have no choice but to respond on this comments thread because you insist on using this forum, exclusively, with which to communicate. Thanks, Jacob.

7/13/2006 12:06 PM  
Blogger lineman said...

You are incorrect. Halachah k’divrei hameikil is halachah pesuka only regarding eruvei chatzeiros. There is no lenient position in halachah pesuka; that is the way we pasken.

I fail to see your point regarding Warsaw being a dorf 200 years ago. New York City was not much larger then Warsaw 200 years ago. Prior to WWII Warsaw’s population was approximately 1.2 million. In any case, you missed my point. You sated that the metzius is a new one based on the fact that cities were significantly smaller, and therefore there is no precedent. That is not true and is also irrelevant to this debate.

My point was that they collect singular shitos even if they are contradictory. I agree to this paragraph overall.

Refusal can be a gezeirah or a takanah. They are basing it either on their understanding of the halachah or their issues with hashkafa.

I realize that you stated that it was not an asei. However, I was under the impression that you were referring to the issue of eruvei chatzeiros being a mitzvah and not the tzuras hapesach. Hence I cited shitufei mevo’os. In any case, you stated, “It may be a good thing to build one,” with this I take issue. It is not just a good thing, it is a mitzvah, just not an asei.

I fail to see why the issue would benefit from a private exchange.

7/13/2006 1:43 PM  
Anonymous Jacob Farkas said...


Example: Tzeis is 40-50 minutes after Sh'qiah in NYC. That is Halakhah. Those who wait for Rabbeinu Tam, and add 22 to 32 minutes are being Mahmir. Those who aren't waiting for RT are not being Meiqil in Hilkhos Shabbos, they just accept a position, valid l'Halakhah that is more lenient than the position of RT. My definition of Qula in our discussion is in that same context, a Halakhically accepted leniency is very much included. (Even though mei'iqar hadin you don't have any obligation to wait for RT...)

Urban Eiruvin are different from non-urban Eiruvin for those in the anti-Eiruv camp. Obviously, if you are pro-Eiruv, there can't be a difference. The Nafqa Minah between Big City vs. small town can be hashqafic as well, as I feel R' Schwab would not have an issue with an Eiruv in a bungalow colony, but did have an issue for one in NYC.

Non-participation alone is never a Gezeirah. It is passive. Gezeiros need to be actively expressed, even for declarations of inaction (i.e. "Don't eat cheese of akum")

To be as clear as possible, it is not a Mitzvah (from taryag or 7 rabbinic) to build doors or tzuros hapesah to extend a private domain for a community. How then would a "Mitzvah" of building Eruvin be different from a "good thing" to build Eruvin?

Perhaps this issue would be best served in its proper forum, but I don't think this is that forum. Your blog may be a better place to discuss this, or you can e-mail me. I don't know whether most of Steg's readership cares about what I or you have to say or think about p'ratim in Eiruvin or semantics in our posts. Furthermore, by receiving an e-mail I'll get to see the name behind your posts. I don't seriously want to spend time debating "lineman," even though you have shown much expertise in these matters. Anonymity has its value, but is not at all appreciated when you debate publicly while your opponent hides behind a curtain.

7/13/2006 4:08 PM  
Blogger lineman said...

Jacob Farkas – There is no analogy between the machlokas regarding zemanim and hilchos eruvin. Different groups have always practiced different zemanim so the issue is not one of a halchah pesuka. However, eruvin is halachah pesuka since almost every city and town established an eruv, and these issues would have negated many of them.

In theory Rav Schwab zt”l’s issues with the Manhattan eruv could be utilized against any eruv large or small.

Rav Schwab was not passive at all in his objection. So this is a gezeirah.

I think that most people would understand the difference between, “it may be a good thing,” and a mitzvah.

In summation, Rav Schwab zt”l fashioned a new precedent to inveigh hashkafic issues against eruvin. More so, these issues are counter to those suggested by the Gedolei HaPoskim of yesteryear. Therefore, to require the world to conform to his shitos is irrational.

I don’t think there is much to debate anymore.

7/13/2006 7:37 PM  
Anonymous Jacob Farkas said...


Analogy? It's just a point blank example of Halakhically justified leniency, a concept you continually fail to understand.

R' Schwab would have no issue with an Eiruv in a bungalow colony or a campus, it was urban Eiruvin that he didn't approve.

R' Schwab was not passive? What do you call someone who doesn't lend support to a project?

Enlighten me. What do you call a Mitzvah that is not a d'oraysa or a d'rabanan?

R' Schwab was aware of the Gedolim of yesteryear who enacted Eiruvin. Nevertheless he objected. Noone said you need to follow his position, but don't dismiss him as if he were out of line.

I suppose you never addressed the anonymity issue. This is my last post responding to your points. Any further challenges to my above responses will go completely ignored, unless they have a real name attached to them.

7/13/2006 11:50 PM  
Blogger Lipman said...

I don't understand the dispute about mitzve deraise/derabbonen/chumre and so forth. These issues are discussed in matters of eiruven - whom am I telling this? - but it seems to me R' Schwab's zetza"l objection was motivated by other things, even though, as everything, it ultimately leads to matters of haloche, in this people taking Shabbes lightly and ultimately being mechallel Shabbes.

It's an opinion or at most a takkone, issued under certain circumstances and if a takkone, binding for member's of KAJ until further notice or re-evaluation by the current rahf.

Your example of tzeis: According to the din as in shittas hage-ônem and hagGro, nacht is closer to 20 than to 50 minutes after the shkie. But what's more important: Rabbeine Tam's erroneous shitte isn't a chumre as such, it's a chumre concerning môtze Shabbes. In other situations, it's a kulle, and insisting on an earlier beginning of the day is the chumre.

Also, it's difficult for me to call a halachic practice a chumre if it used to be the only one (and makes halachic sense to me). All of a sudden, another opinion is voiced, and what people all over have been doing for centuries is relabelled a kulle.

7/14/2006 5:21 AM  
Anonymous Jacob Farkas said...


Mitzvas Eiruv is a D'rabbanan. Building Tzuros Hepessah around a community so to enable a process of conversion from Karmelis to Reshus Hayahid, via Mitzvas Eiruvin is a good practice, but not a Mitzvah. The point I was trying to make was that one can't fault a Rabbi for refusal to participate in a construction project. My nameless opponent took issue with a Rabbi not agreeing with such a project, as he feels it is a "Mitzvah" somehow, and therefore imperative.

I agree with your point. It is an opinion of R' Schwab's. I don't feel he introduced new legislature.

Humros can often have a Qula undertone, your point with Zmanim is well taken.

7/14/2006 1:00 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

שבוע טוב מירושלים

Btw, i don't mind if you use the comments on this post to argue about ‘eiruvs. It ups the number of comments, and is somewhat on topic for the post, after all. ;-)

have fun!

7/15/2006 2:06 PM  
Blogger lineman said...

Jacob Farkas - No, it is you who can’t delineate between what is accepted as halachah and what is considered paskening leniently.

I see that you admit Rav Schwab’s issues with eruvin would negate most city eruvin. That’s going against the accepted minhag, and that is my point.

Do you call publishing in the heat of the machlokas an article against the eruv passive?

You are missing the point. My stress is on your use of the word, “may.” Additionally, it is a mitzvah d’rabbanan.

As I mentioned prior, Rav Schwab has a right to his opinion, but the world should know that he was going against the accepted minhag of establishing eruvin. More so, his reasons were contrary to all the major poskim of yesteryear.

Excuse me, but I never asked you to debate me. Frankly, I don’t know if your screen name is not some pseudonym either. My anonymity has absolutely nothing to do with the debate at hand. I believe that you are extremely naïve asking me to expose my identity to you. If you do not understand my need for anonymity, you must have been living under a rock.

7/15/2006 11:31 PM  
Blogger lineman said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/15/2006 11:32 PM  
Blogger lineman said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/15/2006 11:59 PM  
Blogger lineman said...

It is a mitzvah to enact shitufei mevo’os for a city, and therefore the establishment of a tzuras hapesach would be a hechsher mitzvah. It is disingenuous to single out the tzuras hapesach when the obstruction of a city eruv would also include the mitzvah of shitufei mevo’os. R’ Jacob Farkas (?) would like us to believe that all the poskim of yesteryear who declared that it is imperative to establish an eruv for a city were just advocating a construction project!! Never mind that Rav Schwab himself declared (as translated by Steg), “Behold, all admit that it is a great mitzva to enact eruvin to prevent the people from desecration of the holy Sabbath, and it is a great honor to be appointed for such an important mitzva — and on the contrary, anyone who wants to prevent it, the collar of responsibility [for proving otherwise] hangs from his neck, and on this no one disagrees.”

However, Rav Schwab did suggest an eruv in the end, albeit only secretly, and this makes most of the above debate (which you introduced) regarding an eruv being a mitzvah irrelevant. We have strayed from the main point, which was not that Rav Schwab negated the observance of mitzvah only that he was going against the accepted argument for an eruv. If a rav goes against the minhag for ancillary reasons, no one should be required to follow him (besides for his talmidim).

7/16/2006 10:52 AM  
Blogger Lipman said...

Yelodem, I don't see the need for getting tough here. (BTW, Jacob Farkas can be googled, even image-googled, and Lineman may have his reasons for staying anonymous. Anyway, it's his right.) It's about arguments, isn't it?

Ad rem:
- R' Schwab acknowledged it is a mitzve.
- He was not passive, as he didn't simply refrain from participation, he clearly argued against an eirev.
- It's not, or not mainly, about the eirev's kashres, but about the consequences of a (kosher) eirev.
- His takkone (? I'm not sure about the status) was by definition for his kille.
- It's legitimite to discuss both if it is still valid at all, including KAJ, and on the other hand if his reasoning makes sense for those outside KAJ.

Is that so?

7/17/2006 4:34 AM  
Blogger lineman said...

Lipman – Thanks for being a voice of reason.

I would add that Rav Schwab zt”l’s reasonings are not pertinent today, and even KAJ has no grounds to object to the eruv anymore.

7/17/2006 12:20 PM  

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