לכבוד הרה”ת וכו’ וכו’
מו”ה ברוך אבערלאנדער
גאב”ד ורב דקהילת חברה ש”ס ליובאוויטש
Dear Rabbi Oberlander, שיחי’
This is not the proper forum in which Rabbonim should argue their differences in Halacha. However, you have seen fit to call me out on a number of points. Perhaps I can assist with some clarifications and set the record straight.
My original overview on Eruvin, written in 1988 under the direction of Rabbi Yitzchok Groner, Head Shliach and Rav of the Melbourne Yeshiva community, was a direct response to a non Halachically sound Eruv that had been established in Melbourne. This journal was then re-edited and reissued some 18 years later as a more generic overview of the Halachos of citywide Eruvin and the direct references to Melbourne were omitted.
In your letter, you allege I deliberately concealed critical details regarding the Eruv that provided the Rebbe’s basis for the rejection of the Eruv in Melbourne. It is beyond me to understand how something so matter of fact as repurposing a publication for a different audience becomes imbued with conspiratorial overtones.
What your response did make me realize is that the collective Rabbonim are laboring under a misapprehension. It is clear the Rabbonim have based the psak and the understanding of the Rebbe’s intent on the assumption that the Rebbe’s answer to Melbourne was in response to the problematic Eruv.
In fact, the Rebbe’s answer to all the Rabbonim of Melbourne (not just Rabbi Groner) predates the establishment of the initial Melbourne Eruv by a number of years. The Rebbe’s advice and counsel was sought by Rabbi Groner on behalf of all Rabbonim of Melbourne when a Melbourne Eruv existed in concept only. The Rebbe’s forthright response to even the idea of an Eruv in Melbourne deterred the Rabbonim at the time and the proposal was only revived some years later.
It is misleading to interpret the Rebbe’s reservations regarding an Eruv in Melbourne as having issues with Eruv boundaries, government permission, continual oversight, or the like. At the time of receipt of the Rebbe’s answer, no thought had yet been given to the Eruv’s construction and what the boundaries might be. The Rebbe’s answer – מפורסמת דעתי is a general response regarding citywide Eruvin, and not a response to concerns regarding Melbourne in particular.
Furthermore, following the construction of the legitimate Halachically kosher Eruv in Melbourne under the auspices of Rabbi Shimon Eider a”h, Rabbi Mottel Gutnick, who was then Rav of a community in Doncaster, a Melbourne suburb not contiguous to the newly established kosher Eruv, was inspired to establish a similar Kosher Eruv in his neighborhood.
Rabbi Gutnick wrote to the Rebbe that an Eruv would mitigate the Chillul Shabbos that was prevalent in his community. Rabbi Gutnick also emphasized to the Rebbe that the existence of an Eruv would be a catalyst to promote Shmiras Shabbos in Doncaster.
The Rebbe, in his response, circled the words לבנות ערוב, and added “ומה מכריחו להכנס לזה?! ידוע השקו”ט המסובכת בזה.” The Rebbe did not advise Rabbi Gutnick to consult experts and build an Eruv, despite Rabbi Gutnick’s best intentions. The Rebbe’s response speaks for itself.
In addition to the printed and vetted sources that I provided in my earlier letter, I refer you to the sefer Junior Code of Law, page 206, written by R’ Nissan Mindel and edited by the Rebbe. The Rebbe initiates discussion regarding an Eruv by stating it is a Mitzva to build an Eruv, and according to Shulchan Aruch where an Eruv can be built it should be built.
The Rebbe continues, “Secondly, special consideration has to be given to the state of affairs and attitudes in respect of the observance of the Mitzvas in the present day and age which has a particular bearing to the problem under discussion. I have in mind the precaution where such an Eruv calls for under the best of circumstance and certainly here and now against the possibility of the Eruv becoming Possul… In view of the above, it is an absolute necessity in my opinion that the Eruv, if one is feasible at all according to Din, should be carried out in the utmost secrecy.”
I will conclude with the following and will no longer be entering into any further public discussion.
Certainly, it is the right (and even a Mitzvah based on Shulchan Aruch and multiple sources) for every Rav and Rabbinical Council to establish an Eruv in their city, town or suburb. And it is the right of every person to carry within the boundaries of an halachically approved Eruv. But for a Rav and a Rabbinical Council to imply that a contemporary city Eruv has the Haskama and Bracha of the Rebbe is false and misleading. The Rebbe’s stance on city Eruvin is well known, and for a Chosid, that is the only measure that matters.
I ask again, for the benefit of all Chasidim, if anyone has further answers from the Rebbe regarding city Eruvin, to please publicize them now.
א גוטען מועד
הרב מאטל קראסניאנסקי