Where is the matza?

The word "eruv" actually refers to the food (usually matza) which is shared by all members of the community.  Matza is acquired on behalf of the community annually, and is kept in Mount Sinai.

Who did you rent permission from?

Chazal state that in addition to enclosing the area of the eruv, you also must rent the right to carry in the area from someone who has authority over the area.  This procedure is called sechirat reshut.  We rented the right to carry in the area of Washington Heights from the Manhattan Borough President, Scott Stringer.

Who is the Rav Hamachshir?

At the request of Rabbi Schnaidman and the Mount Sinai Eruv Committee, Rabbi Benzion Wosner, head of the Beit Din Shevet Halevi in Monsey, and an internationally recognized expert on eruvin, inspected the eruv prior to its use, and his letter attesting to the kashrut of the eruv can be found on this web site.  Rav Wosner felt that, in deference to the rabbis of the community, that the official title of Rav Hamachshir be reserved for a local Rav, and when the eruv went up, Rabbi Schnaidman accepted that title.  Since Rabbi Schwartz joined the shul, he has taken over this role, and maintains the eruv according to the psak of R' Wosner.

Watch R' Wosner's shiur on the Washington Heights eruv, with an introduction from R' Schnaidman.

How can I help with the eruv?

Thanks for asking.  It costs money to keep the eruv up, including maintenance, emergency repairs, future expansions, and further on-site inspections by Rabbi Wosner.  You can make a donation by writing a check to the Mount Sinai Jewish Center, and writing ERUV in the memo.  You can also sponsor the eruv for one week in honor or in memory of someone for $100.  The eruv also needs to be checked every week.  To volunteer as a checker, please contact a member of the eruv committee.

When is the eruv checked?

The eruv will be checked every Thursday night or Friday morning.  If a Yom Tov precedes Shabbat, it will be checked before Yom Tov.  The eruv is not considered operational until it has been checked.  If you are interested in learning how to check the eruv, please contact a member of the committee.

How do I know if the eruv is operational?

You should check this web site on Friday afternoon.  A green flag will also be placed outside the front of the shul after noon on Friday if the eruv is up.  You can also call 646-450-ERUV or send a text message to 412-213-8991.

Why doesn't the eruv include Fort Tryon Park?

The area of Ft Tryon Park is very large, and there are many physical a complexities involved in including it.  Perhaps some day it will be expanded to include the park.  The eruv does include two other nice parks: Bennett Park on Fort Washington between 183rd and 185th (which includes the highest point in Manhattan), and the Jacob Javitz playground, just south of the main entrance to Fort Tryon Park.

Why is the wire yellow?

This was suggested by our contractor as a way to make it easier to see and check.  In places where we were more concerned about appearances, a clear fishing line was used.  Yellow ribbons were placed on some of the wires to make checking them easier.

Do I still need an eruv chatzeirot in my building?  Do I still need my key lockbox?

You should maintain the eruv chatzeirot in your building and keep the lockbox in case the eruv goes down for a Shabbat.  You should renew your building eruv chatzeirot annually without a bracha.  For help setting up an eruv chatzeirot in your building, please speak to the Rabbi.  The lockbox is also useful for guests visiting your building.

What are some halachic features of the eruv?

The neighborhood of Washington Heights, and all streets included in the eruv, are surround by walls on three sides.  In addition, the eruv boundaries themselves consist of a majority of natural and man-made walls.  This qualifies the area as a reshut hayachid deoraita, requiring tzurot hapetach to make the area a reshut hayachid derabbanan.  The boundary of the eruv does not have any gaps - any opening or fence which is sometimes open is closed with a tzurat hapetach.

If someone living in the eruv does not want to be part of the eruv, does this invalidate the eruv?

No.  The eruv food was acquired on behalf of everyone, which can be done without each person's knowledge.  In addition, we rented the right to carry in the entire eruv from the police, who have the right of access to the entire area, including individual buildings and apartments.

What is Rav Hershel Schachter's position on the eruv?

R' Schachter is the posek for the YU eruv, and thus certainly supports the concept of eruvin in Manhattan.  He declined to be the Rav Hamachshir for this eruv.  However, members of the eruv committee have been in touch with him regarding the eruv.  There are some minor differences of opinion between him and Rav Wosner, and the eruv follows the psak of Rav Wosner.  However, to the best of our knowledge, the current eruv complies with R' Schachter's opinions on eruvin as well.

Why don't we take down the eruv once a year, so that people don't forget about the laws of carrying on Shabbat?

Some communities have a practice of declaring the eruv to be down for one Shabbat a year, to help educate people about the laws of carrying, or to avoid people taking the eruv for granted.  We are not inclined to follow this practice for the following reasons: 1) The eruv has been up every week only through great effort on the part of the committee; at some point, it will likely be down for a week anyway.  2) The eruv greatly enhances people's Shabbat; detracting from people's comfort and oneg Shabbat even for one week seems wrong.  We would not suggest removing any other conveniences of Jewish life, such as the mikvah or kosher butcher, for even a day to remind people of what it's like to be without those.  3) If you want to teach your children (or yourselves) about the laws of carrying on Shabbat, you can take them to Fort Tryon Park.

Where can I go to learn more about eruvin?

Rabbi Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer's book, The Contemporary Eruv, is an excellent guide to practical applications of hilchot eruvin.  Some of the book can be found online.  For in-depth discussion of halacha, modern eruvin, and eruv history, see the blog Eruv Online.  For a discussion of this eruv, you can watch this shiur.



CartShopping Cart