Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Flatbush Eruv War

Recently a new pamphlet was put under the door of many Jewish homes in Flatbush. This was a pamphlet by a Rabbi Shia Director (who nicely left a comment on my earlier post on this subject.

This pamphlet follows the first two widely distributed pamphlets. The first was a rather professional solid halachic discussion of the matter in favor of the eruv, the second was a collection of pictures of rabbis with no halachic content. (I discuss that here.)

This latest blow in the eruv war looks like it will turn in to a friendly-fire incident. It is (and again I am doing this from memory) a 10 page collection of letters to a certain "Avi . . ." entitled "Letters from Woodburne". It is filled with rants and raves and vehemence against the anti-eruv group.

It was written by someone who clearly has never really written in English in his life, and has very little in terms of halachic content. There were a bunch of "many rabbis I spoke with agreed", "Brooklyn clearly has walls on all three sides and highways on the other" (which it does not), and vehemence. There are sentences of the form: This is the fault of Bic and other moral degenerates . . . (the reference is to Rav Bic OBM, no halachic or moral slouch.)

It was a rather sad piece of writing. I realize that there is well meaning attempt to support the eruv. I of course could care less whether it succeeds or not, though I guess I am rooting for the success, but pamphlets like this will not help matters. Pamphlets like this make people think that the biggest proponents of the eruv are people who cannot think or express themselves clearly.

However, this all shows that there is a lot of people who feel that there is a lot at stake here. I look forward to the next volley.

(This controversey is being covered a lot by bloggers on the web. kaspit is a good place to start, if you are interested.)


Anonymous said...

An eruv is important for women in the community. Jews are supposed to be out enjoying shabbos but people get pretty housebound when they can't carry their 3 month old or push their 18 month old in a stroller. It sounds like it may be "cheating" to have an eruv in Flatbush (although I don't know enough about it to say for sure). But we cheat all the time with things like timers for lights and such. And people who don't want to hold by it don't have to. Who knows, maybe it's an interesting debate. I'll check it out.

Anonymous said...

the worst is having your lights on THE CLAPPER. especially when you get really roaring drunk on too many l'chaims and start pounding the table while singing zmiros...what a bad time to remember that you forgot to turn off THE CLAPPER and set the timers.

Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for recommending my post. I would be interested in hearing more about both the halakhic debate and its ramifications for the community.

Shanah tovah,


Anonymous said...

Sorry you don't approve of my English. However, I never went to high school, was busy learning Torah in my youth, and did the best I could.
Your comment: there is no halacic content in my booklet is wrong. I clearly explained an important concept, not known by the general public: oceans surrounding Brooklyn are walls around it. Also, explained clearly is: Reb Moshe Feinstein was never against eruvin in Brooklyn. Fact not known by many.
Seems you don't like my comment about Rav Bick. However, he was first Rov in Jewish history who ruled one can tear an eruv and destroy public property.
Other Rabbonim ruling against eruvin understood one cannot destroy public property.

Karl said...

Rabbi Director: while I can applaud the torah study of your youth, I find it hard to believe that someone thought it was a good idea that you forego high school. There is something abhorent there - something sinister about the idea that we will let people go out to the world with no skills, as school is how we tend to get the rudiments of mathematical and literacy skills.

You certainly know better than I of the parents' obligation to make sure their children have job skills, and you also know better than I of the Torah's lichatchila opposition to making torah a job.

Certainly anyone who is planning a career in chinuch or public leadership as a rabbi of any sort needs the kind of communication skills that we get in high school. The German of S. R. Hirsch is beautiful. The Rambam's Arabic is not only fluent, but elegant (I am told).

Everything the Rambam wrote, with the exception of his main halachic work was in the language of the people he expected to read it. Halacha was in Hebrew, as it should be. Philosophy, commentary of Mishna, logic, medicine, and especially the public letters - all in Arabic. The Rambam would be a laughing stock today if his Arabic was at the level of an 8th grade Egyptian - regardless of the quality of his thought.

Also, you should notice that I was careful. I did say "little halachic content" not "none". However, and this is from memory, as I do not have the booklet in front of me, your mention of the walls was unclear. I was unsure whether you meant that the water had walls around it, or that the water was a wall itself.

You know of course that Brooklyn is surrounded by three sides by water, and on one side by the Cross Island Parkway (more or less). But then again, Florida is also surrounded by water on three sides. And there is no one whould would say that Florida needs no eruv. There are many other considerations that go in to effect here that are not discussed in your pamphlet.

Also, reagrdless of the ruling of Rav Bik that one may tear an eruv (a ruling I do not know of, but would like to see in print) - that is a far cry from "moral degenerate".

Finally, I would like to make known that if someone plans on sending something out to the Jewish community, or part therorf, or plans on sending something out in the name of some part of the Jewish community, I offer the following public service - pro bono: I will, free of charge, look over your writing (if it is of reasonable length) and tell you if there are many major grammatical errors that make your work fairly unreadable. I will correct the work and send it back to you as soon as I am able. I will do this for you regardless of your political or religious affiliation, or which side of an issue you take.

I do not live in Flatbush, but rather a different part of Brooklyn, so for me the outcome of this debate will have little impact. We have our own eruv here and it is fine for my shabbos-keeping friends. So I wish you well in this debate as I watch on.

Anonymous said...

It seems you are unaware of the fact: non of the chasidese yeshivos have a high school. Satmar, Klausenbeg, Belz, Lubavitch in Crown Hights, and others, don't have high schools. Their students all make a living. Now one is starving from hunger.
Concerning your question about Florida. It's a very good question. Tosfos in Eruvin asks it. (Not about Florida Tosfos didn't know it exists. He asks: the whole world is surrounded by water.)
Answer is: you have to see the ocean or river to be enclosed by it. If one can stand on a tall building and see the ocean he is in this micitza. Also, if one can walk there Shabbos he is in it. He can't walk to the Pacific Ocean:but, he can walk to Coney Island on Shabbos.
You must understand my booklet is the best booklet ever written in English (even if you don't like my English) about eruvin in Brooklyn. Because, I come to the point: and clearly explain Brooklyn is surrounded by walls.
First eruv booklet you mentioned, is much too wordy with long foot notes. His discussion is not for an English booklet. Most of what he says does not relate to the problem at hand.
My booklet discusses one main point. Brooklyn, enclosed by walls, has the same status as one sitting in his house. This is unknowen to the public. Neverthless it's an important comment on laws of eruvin.
Chayei Adom, acepted as a formost authority on Jewish Law, and was reprinted hundreds of times over the past 200 years, says: there is no posek that rules one cannot carry in a walled city (Nishmas Adam Clall49 no.2).
Concerning Rav Bick. His grandchild Naftali Spiegel (his daughter's son), and his friends,tore the eruv many times according to ruling of his grandfather. He caused damage to public property of $40,000. When eruv was made in Kensigton he came with a goy on Shabbos to tear the eruv.
Rav Bick's knowledge of eruvin in 100% zero. In a letter to this writer (written in 5741) he explaind why he is against eruvin. He disagrees with ruling of Shulchan Aurach. Also, he disagrees with ruling of seven world famous sages who approved of eruv in Manhatten in 1908. When I sent him Sefer Eruv Vhotzah, containing a detailrd discussion by them about this eruv. He returnd it without even looking at it. He his not wiser then they were. Fact is: he does not have the mental capabilaty to understand what they wrote.
My comments about Bick are justified. I should have said more. But, my booklet was not written only about Bick. I wrote about him in another booklet.

Anonymous said...

Very strange, you comment on a booklet, without reading it carefully. You did't have it in front of you when you wrote.
When comment on what someone wrote, I read it carefully 20 times, sometimes more, and always have the book in front of me when writing.
Concept of oceans and rivers being walls was explained clearly in mt booklet. Look at last page, when you get this booklet, you will see 20, holy Torah scholars from past generations (and more)
ruled oceans and rivers around a city are walls around it.
Small 11 page booklet was not the place to discuss this matter in detail. However, I cited sources for this ruling.
If you are interested in doing research on this subject please send $25.00 to POB 786 WOODBOURNE,NY 12788 and I will send you 3 books from holy sages who lived 100 years ago who discuss this and other laws of eruvin.
You state: there is not much halachic content in my booklet. However, you and many others, were unaware of the absolute fact: oceans and rivers are walls.
This is explained clearly in my booklet and brings to the public an important unknown fact about eruvin in large cities.
It brings to the public an important fact overlooked by all those fighting against eruvin in Brooklyn (including Bick). Clearly explained in works of our holy sages.
This explained clearly in my booklet. Even if you don't like the way I write, and criticize my English.
See page 8 in my booklet. When you get it. I published 4 articles in the Jewish Press about eruvin. Articles that shook the world.

Karl said...

Um . . . . I have more than ten chassiddish cousins in Boro Park, all of whom got at least a high school education in chassidish yeshivas.

Anonymous said...

While Rabbi Director obviously means well he doesn’t realize that his booklets are extremely in your face and don’t help the cause. Apparently, since English isn’t Rabbi Director’s mother tongue, he doesn’t realize that there are many halachic books published today in the English language and that “The Community Eruv” pamphlet, besides being well written, helped get the halachic message out. Check out this blog http://eruvonline.blogspot.com

lineman said...

See this blog for a fascinating discussion regarding eruvin. http://eruvonline.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

If you want to know more about eruvin see "Flatbush eruv Shiah Director" also at end of many posts on HIRHURIM, you will see posts from Shiah Director also see posts from me on Just Passing Through.
You can edit these posts if you wish. Put them in booklet form ready for publication. Send it to me with check for $2,000: and it will be distributed door to door in Flatbush.
You will have the mitzva of teaching Torah to thousands of people who read this booklet. You will make them aware of facts about eruvin they do not know.
Send information, and check, to P.O.B. 786, Woodbourne, N Y 12788

Anonymous said...

eruvonline.blogspot.com omits important facts about eruvin. It is in no way a fsanating discussion of eruvin (see previous posts about "eruvonline")
1. Any discussion about eruvin in Brooklyn must start with discussing ruling of seven prominent Torah sages, who lived more than a hundred years ago,and published ruling about eruv in Manhattan in 1908. Their ruling applies to Brooklyn as well.
2. One cannot discuss eruvin in Brooklyn by discussing views of Reb Moshe Finstein, of blessed memory, who writes openly (a) his ruling is against the Shulchan Aurach (Igros Moshe 4:88)(b)it is not accepted by the achronim (great Torah sages in past 400 yeas). Obviously, his ruling is not clear-cut and cannot be followed by anyone.
3."ERUVONLINE" goes into an unecessary detailed discussion of his views not accepted by anyone in past generations. When discussing eruvin, in view of aformentioned clear facts, his opinion, for all practical purposes, is completely worthless. He had an obligation to state his views. Just like Bais Shami's views are stated in the Talmud, eventhough, we do not rule like them. Through out Jewish Literature minority opinions are stated even though we do not rule like them. However, when discussing practical halaca, they are ignored.

Anonymous said...

This week eruvonline.blogspot.com/ discussed the eruv in Manhattan in 1908. Good work! It's about time.
For a detailed discussion on this subject, and related works, see website: "Manhattan Eruv Returns": and comments by Shiah Director.