Volume 15 Number 41
                       Produced: Sun Oct  2 23:41:33 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [David Steinberg]
Eruvin & Chumrah
         [Binyomin Segal]
Women and the `Eruv
         [Shaul Wallach]
Zeno's Paradoxes, Liar's Paradox of Epimenides
         [Robert Klapper]


From: David Steinberg <dave@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Sep 1994 18:04:32 +0100
Subject: Eruvim

Janice Gelb in her analysis of the reasons to use/not to use an Eiruv 
posits three conditions.  I'd like to add a fourth:

  You live within the bounds of a kosher Eruv + You believe in the 
efficacy of eruvin.  Therefore you can rely on your eruv.  Nevertheless 
you choose to rely on the Eruv only for important matters.

One might choose to adopt that position as part of   
Chinuch -- Children who grow up in a community with an eruv lose the 
survival skills of checking pockets before shabbos. 

I do rely on my local eruv.  I find that I no longer have a pachad 
(terror) of carrying that I had pre-eruv.  I have also routinized myself 
to wearing a watch on shabbos.  And I've forgotten to take off the watch 
when visiting a non-eruv community.

One should also remember that spirit in which the heter of eruv was 
accepted. I don't think that it was approved to enable people to play ball.
I remember hearing in the name of Rav Yaakov Ztz'l that in Europe the 
Eruv was necessary for survival.  In small communities everyone kept 
their chulent pot in one location and shuls did not have siddurim and 
chumashim for everyone.  

As to Yechiel Pisem's concern for matir neder, if one only uses an eruv 
when it is urgent, you can use the eruv when its urgent without being 
matir nedar.  If you subsequently want to use the eruv frivolously then 
find a valid bes din to be matir that nedar.

Dave Steinberg


From: <bsegal@...> (Binyomin Segal)
Date: Sun, 25 Sep 1994 12:11:10 -0600
Subject: Eruvin & Chumrah

A number of issues in regard to eruvin & chumrah have been raised recently.
I'll try to respond to them. (And as is my standard practice - cuz Id never
have time to read mj otherwise, this is from memory.) First:

Yechiel Pisem writes:
> There is a problem with Nosson's practice of using an Eruv only
> "B'dochek" (in extreme circumstances).  If one decides not to use the
> Eruv and then doesn't for 3 Shabbosos, he is no longer allowed to use it
> without a "Hatoras Nedorim".  Good thing it isn't yet 3 Shabbosos since
> Erev Rosh HaShanah.

There are a few mistakes here (as I recall). First, I think poskim
generally agree (see the Chaye Adam in Pesach somewhere, and Im pretty
sure the Mishna Brurah there too) that a "good" practice (ie one done in
worship of Hashem) becomes a neder after only one occurrence. There is
however one big caveat - the person must intend it to be a continual
practice.  Certainly if the persons intension never was, "I will not
carry in this eruv" but rather "I will only use it b'dochek", there is
no problem of neder. Also, there is the ability to accept a stringency
b'li neder - that is a person can state that though he will attempt to
fulfill practice "a" it should not be construed as a neder. This
statement certainly prevents any neder problems.

Janice Gelb writes:
>I wish I had Nosson's original post, because I don't really understand
>this logic. Seems to me there are only three possibilities if there's
>an eruv in your neighborhood:
>1) You don't believe eruvim should be used at all
>2) You believe eruvim can be used but your particular eruv isn't 
>   legally acceptable
>3) You believe eruvim can be used and your particular eruv *is* 
>   legally acceptable
>Under situation 1, you can't use the eruv even b'dochek. Under
>situation 2, same thing: having a non-kosher eruv is the same as not
>having one at all. Under situation 3, you could use it all the time.
>I suppose the situation Nosson is in is one in which he doesn't believe
>eruvim should be used but if they *could* be used the one in his
>neighborhood is acceptable. I still don't understand how that covers
>using one b'dochek though: if you don't think eruvim are acceptable,
>carrying b'dochek is the same as deciding to be m'chalel Shabbat
>b'dochek, imho.

To understand the answer to this question, we need a background in hilchos
eruv as well as background in psak (deciding of halacha).

In the good old days (ie a sanhedrin) deciding the halacha from two
seperate opinions was easy - the sanhedrin took a vote and the majority
won. Since then however its been a bit more complicated. There are a number
of factors. There is a "voting" - ie the majority of recorded, accepted,
rabbinic authorities rules. That's a bit complicated - who do you count,
etc... More or less though this was done by the Bais Yosef when he wrote
the Shulchan Aruch. The Rama points out where Ashkenazik custom differs -
the Rama's psak has validity (even though it goes against the "majority" of
the Shulchan Orach) mostly based on the fact that he brings a valid opinion
that is supported by custom. That means to say that the majority opinion
can be superseded by a minority opinion that the religious Jewish
population accept as authoritative.

(BTW this characterization of the Shulchan Aruch & Rama is simplified to
the point of being wrong, however the principles in psak are true)

Hilchos eruvin is a particularly intresting case. From Torah law one can
not carry in a "public" domain. The Rabbis extended this law to a
"carmalis" - a semi public area. The Torah permits (under certain
conditions) making a public area a private area by building a wall (a real
one) around the area. This would permit carrying there. When the rabbis
extended the prohibition to a carmelis they permitted carrying in a
carmelis if there was an eruv (a fake wall - really a series of open
doorways) surrounding it. Therefore, everyone agrees that in a public
property (ie from Torah law) one can not carry even with an eruv - you need
a wall. A carmelis only requires an eruv.

The sticky part is defining a public area from Torah law vs a carmelis.
What's "really" public, what's semi-public. The common sense definition
might distinguish between main streets and side streets, or between streets
and alleys. And indeed that is the definition of many rishonim (the gemara
is unclear). If this definition is accepted, then an eruv around a city
would be ineffective (unless real walls were built). The second definition
draws the line somewhere between main streets and highways. Specifically,
an area is considered semi-public unless there are 600,000 people traveling
there (according to some DAILY). This makes eruvin around cities (and
certainly around neighborhoods) effective.

As to the halacha, well... it is certainly clear that the custom of the
Jewish people has been to accept this second opinion. Eruvin have been a
part of jewish communities for many years. And so clearly one is permitted
to carry in an eruv. However, consider that if the first (majority) opinion
is right you violate a Torah prohibition every time you carry in a city
eruv. Also, consider that in the old days (ie Europe) eruvin were often
permitted from basic need ie you had to get your food for shabbos from the
bakery oven shabbos morn.

The mishna brura (and many others) therefore suggest that a "baal nefesh"
(lit. master of his soul) should be stringent not to carry in a city eruv.
Therefore (to get back to the original question) you can agree that eruvin
are acceptable, and that yours is a great one (3) and still not carry in
it. In this position you might decide to not carry at all - or you might
choose to not carry unless there is a strong need (similar to the chulent
pot at the bakers)

Janice Gelb continues:
>As for Yechiel's point, what if you decide not to use the eruv for
>three consecutive Shabattot because you don't think it's being checked
>properly but then you discover a responsible person has taken over
>checking it? Would you still need a "Hatoras Nedorim" to start using 
>it again?

you could use it again without hataras nedarim (but ask your lor)

hows all that?



From: Shaul Wallach <F66204@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Sep 94 20:10:29 IST
Subject: Women and the `Eruv

     Dr. Chana Stillinger voices the following criticism of communities
that decide not to hold by an `eruv:

>Personal chumrot can eventually become community ones.  A personal
>chumra at least makes it appear that the person who takes it on would
>prefer others to do so too.
>In this case, if a community decides not to hold by eruvim, then mothers
>(who are usually the prime caretakers for children, since their husbands
>have an obligation to daven with the community) and small children are
>unnecessarily confined to home.  It seems to me that imposing
>unnecessary hardships on mothers and small children does nothing for the
>sanctity of Shabbat.

     Dr. Stillinger appears to assume that mothers with small children
who stay at home on Shabbat because their husbands are required to pray
with the community are being "unnessarily confined to home", and that
this is an "unnecessary hardship."

     With all due respect, I would very much like to know what the
source for this feeling is - is it the Torah, or is it America? As for
the Torah, the Rambam rules (Ishut 13:11) that although a husband must
allow his wife to go out to visit her family and to perform acts of
kindness by frequenting houses of mourning and going to weddings as
needs be, he should still keep her from going outside the house all the
time, "as there is no beauty for a woman but to sit in the corner of her
house, for thus is it written (Psalm 45:14): 'All the honor of the
king's daughter is inside'."

     The Rambam's ruling, based on the plain sense of the Mishna and the
Talmud, expresses the virtue of the Jewish mother who stays home to
raise her family. No halachic opinion based on the Talmud requires her
husband to let her leave the home in order to attend services at the
synagogue. I would kindly advise any Jewish woman who feels that staying
home is an "unnecessary hardship" to discover from the Jewish sources
just what her ideal role in life is. Parts 2 and 3 of the series on
marriage (the latter has not yet appeared, as of the moment of this
writing) deal with this at greater length.

     In any case, the question of whether to hold by an `eruv must be
settled on its own merits; namely, whether the eruv itself is valid or
not. It would be a most unworthy motive for the community to decide the
matter on the basis of the irrelevant desire of women to compromise
their position of sanctity in their homes.

     Let me not be misunderstood - I neither oppose letting women attend
the synagogue nor advise men to keep their wives locked up at home. And
I know many men in Benei Beraq today - myself included - who have stayed
home many times with their small children in order to let their wives go
out to work or to the synagogue in order to listen to the Reading of the
Megilla or of Parashat Zachor.

     Moreover, on the issue of the `eruv itself, a man can be strict for
himself without forcing his wife to be strict as well, even though the
letter of halacha specifies that she should follow his customs. This is
one of many cases in which we are advised to be lenient on others for
the sake of peace. Thus, for example, many years ago my wife needed hot
water once on Shabbat after we had run out (perhaps for one of the
infants, I don't remember). There is an `eruv in Benei Beraq but many
people, including myself, do not rely on it. I asked the Sephardic rabbi
at the synagogue where I was going at the time what to do, and he simply
replied, "Does she carry?" In other words, he allowed her to rely on the
`eruv to bring hot water from the neighbors even though I don't myself.

     What I am saying, though, is the following. We must recognize that
our standards and customs today are in cases deviate from the Talmudic
ideal. Thus, for example, the only time that women at large attended the
Temple was for the Simhat Beit Ha-Shoava (rejoicing over the drawing of
water) during Sukkot. Today, however, it is an almost universally
accepted custom that women attend services on Shabbat and holidays. But
this does not mean that we can grant these altered customs any power in
halacha to mandate further changes or leniencies that our Rabbis did not
have in mind. Thus, the permission that we give women to attend the
synagogue on Shabbat does not have any weight against the men's
obligation to attend, nor can it figure into our decision as to whether
the `eruv itself is valid or not.


Shaul Wallach


From: <rklapper@...> (Robert Klapper)
Date: Fri, 30 Sep 1994 07:27:52 -0400
Subject: Zeno's Paradoxes, Liar's Paradox of Epimenides

 Dr. Sam Juni's posting re Zeno's Paradoxes and Halakhah confused me -
Zeno's paradoxes don't relate to recursive loops or retroactiva
causality, but rather to problems of infinity.  Dr. juni's situations
seem to me far more analogous to the Liar's Paradox of Epimenides,
which, stated most briefly, asks whether the sentence "This sentence is
false" is true or false.
 BTW, for those interested in this kind of thing, my article in the
current issue of YU's Beit Yitzchak deals with a possible application
of the Liar's Paradox in halakhah, and it's possible (or at least i
thought so in high school, and my rebbeim were to amused to dismiss it)
that Zeno's Paradox (the one which says motion is impossible since at
any point in time an object is at a point in space, so when does it
move?) explains the position of R. Akiva in the eleventh chapter of
Shabbat that "a flying objebject is as if it is at rest".  Also Ben
Azzai's position in the Yerushalmi that "a walker is as if he is
stationary".  As I say, at most a possibility.  (However, the
Yerushalmi's solution to the obvious problem with Ben Azzai, i.e. how
one can ever violate the prohibition of transposrting on Shabbat is
"bkofetz", by leaping, and Rabbi Bleich in a footnote in With Perfect
Faith explains that the Arap philosophic solution to this paradox of
Zeno's is "tawfiq", or "the leap".  I haven't had the chance to ask
Rabbi Bleich about this, so if anyone out there knows something about
tawfiq, please contact me. Thanks.)


End of Volume 15 Issue 41